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Heaps. I read lots for a start. I learnt how to tackle complex academic theory; engage with politics; devise ways of putting theory into practice; review and record my practice and process; facilitate workshops with focus group discussions; choreograph more interesting, complex and 'mature' work; write for a broad and an academic audience; as well as push through sleep deprivation.
As yet not a huge amount has changed in terms of job opportunities. My teaching methods and project ideas have been enriched. I am more aware of what is out there and with whom/where I would like to continue my study/professional development. I am about to travel so hopefully that opens up opportunities/possibilities.
Doing a thesis (comprising of exegesis and performance) was tough going, challenging, stressful, enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding. I embarked on a massive, ambitious project. Even gaining ethics approval, although worthwhile, was an involved and time-consuming project all by itself.
Workshops and performances (although somewhat intense) were also lots of fun. Breaking the written component (the exegesis) down into chapters/chunks made the process easier and achievable.
My supervisor helped with the development and structure of my chapters and gave good critiques. I also developed an amazing network support persons including lecturers, librarians, family, friends, students, and the project participants. They all helped, advised, questioned, explained, and encouraged. The most important thing they did was remind me I was doing was 'important research' when my confidence was lacking.
Doing honours is a commitment. Mine took two years, including five months off work. Honours is also totally amazing - a huge, unbelievable learning curve and an opportunity to get serious and develop your work to a professional level. Definitely recommended.
'Honours is also totally amazing - a huge, unbelievable learning curve and an opportunity to get serious and develop your work to a professional level. Definitely recommended.'
I undertook the Honours year because my appetite for knowledge was whetted during my time as an undergraduate, and I craved more. I wanted to delve more specifically into a research area I was personally interested in.
I now look at everything in a more analytical manner. I can think of abstract answers to problems, which I may not previously have considered. Doing Honours has given me the research skills needed to achieve higher positions of respect and veneration in society.
Without a doubt, yes, as it offers one the opportunity to design one's own curriculum. As long as you follow the course rules, and submit your thesis, you are free to pursue your own research, along your own parameters, using whichever research methodology suits you best.
Honours is excellent as a pathway into further tertiary study. I am now applying for my Masters degree in teaching. Once you have an Honours degree, you have proved yourself to be a member of the academic community, and can re-train in any other field of study. I recommend the Honours program heartily to anyone who is wishing to undertake a PhD or Masters qualification.
Although the process of writing a thesis is not without its trials, there are tribulations to be had as well. The satisfaction one gains from completing a piece of academic writing based on one's own research; and adding their own contribution to the field, is very high indeed!
'Honours is excellent as a pathway into further tertiary study. I am now applying for my Masters degree in teaching. Once you have an Honours degree, you have proved yourself to be a member of the academic community, and can re-train in any other field of study.'
When i finished my undergraduate course i was bewildered by the looming task of finding a job. I spent a year in an unhappy uncertainty about where i was heading with my career. I even enrolled in a social work degree in an effort to find a more stable career, but it only made me more unhappy and more confused. One night about a week after the honours applications were due i had this spontaneous thought of doing honours.
During honours I learnt, probably for the first time, how to pace my work and how to be self motivated. I grew confident in my ability to create art and to research a theme or concept. My project was very cathartic and self focused, but it also grew into something worthy and original.
Having an honours degree means nothing in my career in terms of prospective funding bodies or employees, but it has improved the depth of my research and therefore the depth in my artwork.
I am making a documentary in France at the moment. Honours enriched my confidence to write a funding application, and to fill it with worthwhile, original research.
'I am making a documentary in France at the moment. Honours enriched my confidence to write a funding application, and to fill it with worthwhile, original research.'
Honours provided a framework where I was able to extend the field I was exploring during my undergraduate studies. I had the freedom to pursue my intellectual and aesthetic concerns.
Honours connected me to the field in a much stronger way. The painting process triggered an ongoing process of reflective examination and allowed me to look safely at issues that surfaced during that process. I was able to express a range of complex cultural, psychological and personal issues and consequently I have continued to articulate ideas and personal narratives in concrete visual form.
Honours led me to an interest in Art Therapy and exploring the notion of intuition and creativity in painting, and the blocks to creative expression. Honours year inspired me to develop a business assisting others to express themselves, develop their creativity and discover hidden talents (www.genamariankelly.com.au).
This is achieved using various therapeutic tools: - Counselling, Meditation, Jungian Depth Psychology, Dream Analysis, Active Imagination, Writing, Painting and Drama Techniques. During my honours year, I had the opportunity to explore and utilise these techniques to assist with my own creative process which proved to be extremely beneficial. It led me to the work I am doing know which is very rewarding, challenging and constantly changing.
Definitely. Honours year allows your abilities to flourish in a way not possible with the more prescriptive parameters of undergraduate studies. You are able to make a deeper personal commitment to art making, research, experimentation and creative practice.
In relation to exhibiting artwork, an honours qualification certainly gives you more credibility and a level of confidence when approaching the various art galleries and relating to the gallery owners. The art/therapy aspect of my work, inspired by my honours year, has led me to assisting health professionals in particular. I have approached several hospitals with the vision of running workshops and seminars (related to stress relief and creating work/life balance) as part of an education program. With a medical/art background, I have gained entry into the health system, where I feel my work is slowly gaining a level of acceptance. Currently I am writing an article for the Australian Nurses Journal about work/life balance and the significance of meditation and creative practice.
The theoretical component was a valuable contribution and provided a frame of reference informing the practical component or creation of the work. During the painting phase, the combination of images and compositional elements were selected at an intuitive, unconscious level. Their meaning remained illusive and opaque until the paintings were completed and hung in the gallery space. As I reflecting on these images and referred to the theoretical aspect (thesis), I made the psychological connections in my work and was able to interpret their meaning. These two aspects of the exegesis were necessary to achieve what I set out to do within the honours framework.
'…an honours qualification certainly gives you more credibility and a level of confidence when approaching the various art galleries and relating to the gallery owners.'
After completing a Bachelor of Arts in 2005, it seemed a natural progression to continue through to Honours. The units I had undertaken as part of a major in literature were provocative, and the idea of spending a year focussing on an area of my choice was too enticing to ignore. Speaking with lecturers, tutors and students who had already undergone the program convinced me that Honours was not only going to significantly enhance the knowledge and skills I had gained during the BA, but that it was also an opportunity to embrace new challenges and acquire something entirely new.
Primarily, Honours is a gift of independence, allowing you as a student to mark your own territory in research. Developing targets, identifying problems and gaps in critical discourse and managing a project larger than any assigned in the undergraduate years provide valuable lessons in analytical thinking, self motivation and time management. Your skills in writing and argumentation are honed, while being given the time, resources and support to examine a topic of interest proves to be extremely gratifying. Coupled with the compulsory course units, Honours is an experience akin to doing your entire BA over again, but with the greater sense of empowerment that comes from taking complete control.
Writing the thesis appears to be the most daunting of the Honours' requirements, but it is in fact the most exciting. Electing a topic and developing it according to your own interests and curiosities grants a certain freedom not necessarily available in earlier years. Learning to focus your study, create structure and argument, and solid research habits are invaluable skills that come from the process. And the collegiality developed with other students and your supervisor during the year ensures you're not the academic version of Robinson Crusoe, left alone to hack away at the computer. The relationships you build during Honours are as valuable as the knowledge you will gain.
My thesis explored Angela Carter's postmodern collection of fairytales in 'The Bloody Chamber', examining notions of gender and sexuality, and the possibility of disrupting old meanings through parodic reclamations of 'master' texts. Keeping my research specific - I used only three short stories from the collection - allowed me to analyse the text and its context in detail while choosing something I enjoyed ensured that the thesis-writing process was never an onerous one. Contrasting traditional versions of fairytales with a Carter revision, my thesis explored the social norms and mores that are entrenched through narrative, analysing the ways in which cultural hegemonies are maintained through representation. Using feminist and gender theory as a framework, the thesis examined how Carter's reclamations defy patriarchal notions of sexuality and gendered identity, and posit a concept of femininity that is unconstrained by a male-centred order of power. The Bloody Chamber was a text introduced to me in third-year literary studies and was as provocative at the end of producing the Honours' thesis as it was on first reading.
Honours is a must for any student passionate about learning and keen to take on new challenges. It is a year that adds enormously to what you gained as an undergraduate and pushes you to develop your thinking in a multitude of new directions. It is intense and demanding but incredibly exhilarating; an opportunity that can only benefit the dimensions of your degree.
'Primarily, Honours is a gift of independence, allowing you as a student to mark your own territory in research. Developing targets, identifying problems and gaps in critical discourse and managing a project larger than any assigned in the undergraduate years provide valuable lessons in analytical thinking, self motivation and time management.'
I did honours to beef up my Arts (Professional Writing) degree: to get an extra qualification that would look good on my resume. Also, I wanted to hone my skills in non-fiction writing in an academic environment.
A great qualification and lots of new clever-clogs polysyllabic words. It also honed my critical thinking to Brain Ninja-esque proportions. But most importantly, I realised what I could achieve: I never thought I'd be capable of such comprehension, hard work and self-discipline.
Honours was eleven zillion times more academic than an undergrad course. The adjustment was hard, and what I was covering was often daunting and overwhelming. But I learnt so much, especially thanks to the coursework. And not just about writing and literature: we'd cover philosophy, history, film studies, sociology, politics, hermeneutics… all in a relate-able way that heightened my understanding of my work and beyond.
I found that having honours on my resume opened more doors than just having my undergraduate - I know because I looked for work in the industry both before and after I did my honours year. I think in a way it showed that I could do more than the minimum required, (i.e. 'just' a degree). Perhaps it also showed that I could work incredibly hard at something! (There is absolutely no phoning it in with Honours year, which helps to kill demons like procrastination and laziness).
I'm a full time editor at Crown Content, doing occasional freelance writing.
I'm implementing the skills I learnt into my career life: I often think "if I hadn't done honours I wouldn't know this". Also, research is a big part of my job. Honours teaches you research skills second to none.
An extra edge on others who've also done an Arts undergrad degree. Also, the freedom to decide whether to do Master or a PhD further along the track.
Hard. Awful, at times. But utterly worth it. Nothing tops the feeling of achievement when you have the finished product in your hands. It's a very intense, difficult year (or two) but for what you learn – and what you discover you can achieve – it's wonderful.
Different from what I was used to, but great. I suppose it's like having an academic coach, the one-on-one approach means that you always have someone who can help you out with a question, or when you hit a roadblock. I found my supervisor had a sincere interest in ensuring I did the best I could do.
'I found that having honours on my resume opened more doors than just having my undergraduate - I know because I looked for work in the industry both before and after I did my honours year.'