As i struggle through the last few assignments to complete my Masters degree, i reflect over the last 18 months of effort: 36 assignments, hundred of pages and 120,000 words written. Phew.
The largest difference i found in studying for my Masters as compared to an undergratuate degree is the expectation that is placed upon me by the examiners, the people who will look at my work and decide whether i should pass or not. During undergrad, i could get away by leeching off the thoughts and work of others, the faceless people of my textbooks. It was often little more than a synthesis of reading and reproducing an understanding of what had been read. For a Masters, that's part of what needs to be done, but in order to pass with merit, it has been expected of me to produce original thoughts and that's tough.
Its almost as though Masters students are expected to write a book that they can call their own, full of original ideas, not found elsewhere. If similarities exist with previously written texts, then i've still been expected to add my own unique twist to matters. Its not about reading, understanding and reproducing. Its about reading, understanding and ADDING to available human knowledge.
If its like this for my Masters, i wonder what it'll be like for my doctorate? I can't wait to find out. Just one more hurdle left to complete my formal education.