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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Romania’s highest court rules same-sex couples should have same rights as straight partners

The high court’s decision was handed down ahead of a national referendum on October 6-7 which could ban same-sex marriage by changing the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

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Image detail by Dan Novac from Unsplash.com

Change happening.

The highest court of Romania ruled that same-sex couples should have the same rights as straight partners.

The Constitutional Court in Bucharest stated that queer couples deserved a private and family life just as straight people do, adding that “they should enjoy legal and juridical recognition of their rights and obligations.”

The high court’s decision was handed down ahead of a national referendum on October 6-7 which could ban same-sex marriage by changing the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Even with this ruling, however, calling the place an equality haven is premature, with the country’s anti-LGBTQI culture in need to be highlighted since the local LGBTQI community in Romania still facing a largely hostile culture. This is perhaps highlighted by the three million people who signed a petition asking for the referendum on preemptively banning same-sex marriage.

Travel

Top 5 places to visit in Los Angeles

While the city offers so much more, these places are destinations that you simply cannot miss.

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If you plan to spend some time in Los Angeles you might wonder where you should go first. There are a lot of amazing places in LA so it can be hard to choose. Make sure you have your accommodation booked click here for some ideas and then think about what you want to do.

Below you will find five of the best places to visit in Los Angeles. While the city offers so much more, these places are destinations that you simply cannot miss.

The Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most-visited observatories on the planet. This incredible destination is visited by more than one million people every single year. When you arrive at the Observatory you will understand why.

One of the very first places in the country that was dedicated to science for the public, entrance is free. This is all thanks to the former owner who in his will gave the land to the city of Los Angeles.

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most-visited observatories on the planet.

When you’re at the Observatory enjoy the shows that take place at the Samuel Oshchin Planetarium. You don’t have to pay to watch the shows but it is encouraged. The good news is you don’t have to pay very much. You can also enjoy a few presentations and talks at the Planetarium. There are also events held throughout the year so you might be lucky to catch one or two of them.

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Finally, you might want to take a look at the incredible view that the Observatory allows you. Just make sure you climb to the very top of the Observatory so you can take it all in.

The Beautiful Beaches

Los Angeles is home to some beautiful beaches. In fact, some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are found here. Head down to Venice Beach to spot all of the beautiful people. Alternatively, you might want to head to Santa Monica as it’s the ideal location if you want to relax and unwind. Santa Monica has been used as the destination for many different movies so it’s likely you’ll recognize it if you’re a movie fan. 

Head down to Venice Beach to spot all of the beautiful people.

You might also want to indulge in a spot of celebrity-spotting while you’re in the area. The beaches and the nearby sidewalks are the ideal locations to spot many celebrities who call this part of Los Angeles their home. Don’t forget to make your way to the Santa Monica Pier where you’ll find a wonderful carousel that you just have to jump on.

The Walk of Fame

You simply cannot spend any time in Los Angeles without visiting the Walk of Fame. This internationally-celebrated destination is one of the most popular places to visit. Spanning an incredible 1.3 miles from the East of Hollywood to the West, you will find more than 2,500 stars on the sidewalk.

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When the Walk of Fame came to fruition in the 1960s it was originally meant to help redevelop the area and it appears that it has. The Walk of Fame sees up to 10 million people from all over the world visit this iconic location.

This part of Los Angeles can get very busy at times but if you head there in the early morning you should beat much of the rush.

Many celebrities have been nominated for a star and many of them have had their names and their palm prints embedded in the sidewalk for eternity. Why not take the opportunity to have your photograph taken with the star that represents your favorite actor or singer?

Please note, this part of Los Angeles can get very busy at times but if you head there in the early morning you should beat much of the rush.

The Getty Museum

Designed by Richard Meier and opened back in 1997, this incredible museum is home to some amazing and internationally-renowned art. Found in Brentwood and look over the city of Los Angeles, the Museum offers you an experience of a lifetime.

Take a trip on a hover-train from the parking lot to the very top of the mountain. Enjoy the garden that spans an incredible 134,000 square foot and take your time walking around the area.

Designed by Richard Meier and opened back in 1997, this incredible museum is home to some amazing and internationally-renowned art.

Don’t forget to spend at least an hour walking around the Getty Museum. Some of the exhibits there are truly phenomenal and will take your breath away.

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The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic structures. Located up in the mountains, the sign was part of an advertising campaign that told the locals about a housing development that would provide many homes. However, it seemed that the 43 foot tall and 30 foot wide letters became iconic in their own right.

Unfortunately, the development of the homes fell victim to the Great Depression but the sign remains there to this day. Did you know that the Hollywood Sign originally said “Hollywoodland”? The city removed the “Land” from the sign and created what we can now see from many miles away.

If you do plan to visit the Hollywood Sign please make sure you respect the locals. Refrain from parking in their driveways or opposite their homes. They will be grateful that you made the effort.

Did you know that the Hollywood Sign originally said “Hollywoodland”?

As you can see, Los Angeles is quite a remarkable place to be. It is full to the brim of incredible places to visit and stunning sites to see. It’s so easy to fall in love with this truly vibrant city that has something for everyone. Visit the Griffith Observatory, spend some time on the beaches and visit the Walk of Fame. Lastly, take a trip to the Getty Museum followed by a visit to the Hollywood Sign. Trust me, by the time you get to the sign you would have already fallen in love with Los Angeles.

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Health & Wellness

OTC medications commonly used in cases of attempted suicide by self-poisoning in youth

It is vital that parents, teachers and other trusted adults start conversations about mental health early, and pay even closer attention during the school year, as rates of anxiety and depression are shown to increase during that time. Warning signs can often be detected and support is available for young people in crisis.

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A study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center found rates of suicide attempts by self-poisoning among youth and adolescents are higher in rural communities, higher during the academic school year and involve common medications found in many households.

The study, published online in Clinical Toxicology, expands on previous research that evaluated the incidence and outcomes from intentional suspected-suicide self-poisoning in children and young adults ages 10 to 24 years old from 2000-2018. In that 19-year time frame, there were more than 1.6 million intentional suspected-suicide self-poisoning cases in youth and young adults reported to US poison centers. The majority of cases were female (71%), and involved a pharmaceutical (92%).

“While most of these cases involved medications, with adolescents, any available medication can be a potential hazard,” said Henry Spiller, MS, D.ABAT, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s, and co-author of the study. “It’s not so much a matter of substance type, but rather a matter of access to the substance. Any type of medication can be misused and abused in ways that can unfortunately lead to very severe outcomes, including death.”

The two most common substance groups in all age groups were over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics – such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin – followed by antidepressants. In youth and adolescents 10-12 and 13-15 years old, ADHD medications were common, and had the highest risk of serious medical outcomes. Opiates only accounted for 7% of cases with serious medical outcomes.

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“Because medications are so readily available in homes, many families do not take precautions to store them safely. Our findings suggest this is a big problem,” said John Ackerman, PhD, clinical psychologist and suicide prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s, and co-author of the study. “Medications can be part of effective treatment, but they require an extra layer of care. The answer is not to stop prescribing medications to those who stand to benefit, but rather to emphasize the practice of safe storage and vigilance when administering any kind of medicine, especially when children and teens live in the home.”

The study also found that places with a lower population per square mile (rural areas) had a greater number of reported cases with all outcomes and serious medical outcomes. Results also revealed there was a significant decrease in the number of cases in school-aged individuals during non-school months of June through August (27.5% decrease in 10-12-year-olds; 27.3% decrease in 13-15-year-olds; and 18.3% decrease in 16-18-year-olds), compared with school months September through May.

This issue is worth highlighting for the LGBTQIA community because 50.8% of transmasculine adolescents between the ages of 11 and 19 have attempted suicide at least once, while 41.8% of nonbinary adolescents – those who don’t identify as exclusively male or exclusively female – have attempted suicide.

Nationwide Children’s Big Lots Behavioral Health experts recommend that parents check in with their children regularly, and ask them directly how they are doing and if they have ever had thoughts about ending their life. These direct questions are even more critical if warning signs of suicide are observed. Medications should be stored up, away and out of sight, preferably in a locked cabinet. Administration of medicine should always be supervised.

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“It should concern us that youth in rural areas are about twice as likely as those living in urban areas to die by suicide. Although we are in dire need of more research to help us understand what places some people at more risk than others, available evidence indicates that include increased social isolation, stigma, access to lethal means and lack of appropriate mental health resources may play a role in this disparity,” said Ackerman. “It is vital that parents, teachers and other trusted adults start conversations about mental health early, and pay even closer attention during the school year, as rates of anxiety and depression are shown to increase during that time. Warning signs can often be detected and support is available for young people in crisis.”

Dr. Ackerman recommends parents start now to increase the dialogue and have important conversations as a family.

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Health & Wellness

Study provides insights on treatment and prognosis of male breast cancer

Factors associated with worse overall survival were older age, black race, multiple comorbidities, high tumor grade and stage, and undergoing total mastectomy. Residing in higher income areas; having tumors that express the progesterone receptor; and receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and anti-estrogen therapy were associated with better overall survival.

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Photo by Christopher Campbell from Unsplash.com

Male breast cancer (MBC) comprises one percent of all breast cancer cases, yet no prospective randomized clinical trials specifically focused on MBC have been successfully completed. Some studies suggest that the incidence of MBC may be rising, however, and there is an increasing appreciation that the tumor biology of MBC differs from that of female breast cancer.

To examine how MBC has been treated in recent years, and to identify factors associated with patient prognosis, a team led by Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH, and Siddhartha Yadav, MBBS, at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, analyzed information from the National Cancer Database on men diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer between 2004 and 2014.

A recent analysis reveals that treatment of male breast cancer has evolved over the years. In addition, certain patient-, tumor-, and treatment-related factors are linked with better survival. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

For this study, a total of 10,873 patients with MBC were included, with a median age at diagnosis of 64 years. Breast-conserving surgery was performed in 24% of patients, and 70% of patients undergoing breast conservation received radiation. Forty-four percent of patients received chemotherapy, and 62% of patients whose tumors expressed the estrogen receptor received anti-estrogen therapy. During the study period, there was a significant increase in the rates of total mastectomy, contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, and post-breast conservation radiation, as well as an increase in the rate of genomic testing on tumors and the use of anti-estrogen therapy. Tamoxifen is the standard anti-estrogen medication recommended for treatment of hormonally sensitive MBC, but this study was not able to assess specific medications used.

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Factors associated with worse overall survival were older age, black race, multiple comorbidities, high tumor grade and stage, and undergoing total mastectomy. Residing in higher income areas; having tumors that express the progesterone receptor; and receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and anti-estrogen therapy were associated with better overall survival.

The study “highlights unique practice patterns and factors associated with prognosis in MBC, furthering our understanding of the treatment and prognosis of MBC,” said Dr. Ruddy. “The racial, economic, and age-related health disparities we found could inform future efforts to target interventions to optimize outcomes in men with breast cancer.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Does CBD live up to its hype?

Many people are wondering if CBD has really made that big of an impact on people’s lives—does it actually deserve the global hype it has created?

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CBD has changed the medical world to a great extent; some people even think it is the future of modern medicine. But the majority of people are wondering if it has really made that big of an impact on people’s lives—does it actually deserve the global hype it has created?

We will try to answer these questions by taking a closer look at the truth behind this product.

What’s All the Hype About?

CBD is a compound derived from cannabis, but it’s not like marijuana at all, as it doesn’t get people high or drowsy. This drug can take many forms, but it’s most commonly found in liquid form. It is claimed to have a lot of useful benefits and it’s very easy to use. It has no psychoactive properties, unlike the THC compound. And since it’s not addictive, it will not cause any withdrawal symptoms that make you develop any potential dependence potential.

CBD’s popularity considerably grew over the recent years, and a lot of people take it by adding it to their food or drinks. However, due to some issues regarding the regulation process, the quality of the product depends greatly on the brand or vendor. Judging by the ongoing research revolving around this topic, finding a reliable supplier like https://www.genius-labs.com really could be a good idea, as it surely looks like this magical oil will be around for good.

It’s Proven to Be an Effective Stress Reliever 

Almost all of us are prone to anxiety and stress in our daily lives, and sometimes we need a little something that can take away the negative feelings and nervousness that plague us. The use of CBD helps people manage their stress and anxiety levels, to potentially ease the pressure that most of us feel every day—the pressure to succeed and be the best in whatever we’re doing. Sometimes those feelings are so overwhelming that people tend to snap or develop various anxiety-related disorders. This product promises to negate those negative emotions and reduce the amount of discomfort, while improving your cognitive functions—making you a much calmer, relaxed person.

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People with Insomnia Can Sleep Better Now

With so many people having so much on their minds, and in a world where overthinking is an epidemic, getting a good night’s sleep seems to be the exception rather than the rule. CBD oil can help soothe the mind and calm the senses of people who suffer from insomnia. It can enhance the receptors in our brains by interacting with them, which leads to better sleeping patterns. So, those who have a sleeping disorder or a bad case of insomnia can find solace in using this oil to get some rest, which will positively affect their overall well being. When you’re constantly sleep-deprived, your body gradually starts to deteriorate, and you might face serious problems over time. This oil can actually improve your quality of life in many ways.

It’s Effective for Athletes Too

Another reason why CBD is so popular is because thousands of athletes can use it to alleviate the pain and muscle stiffness that result from training too hard. It can be a very handy recovery supplement that reduces inflammation in the body, so any possible soft-tissue injuries can be treated with CBD if an athlete went a little too far during an intense workout. It helps minimize the risk of any potential chronic injuries and gives the body a boost to repair inflamed tissues. This way, the healing period can become much shorter, and the recovery process can be relatively bearable.

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Got Acne? No Problem

Millions of people are affected by annoying pimples that can suddenly pop up anywhere in the body. Some of them can be tender and painful to the touch, not to mention the embarrassment they might cause—especially in young teenagers who are struggling to adapt to their changing bodies and fit in with their peers. This product can help them regain their confidence; the oil is proven to decrease the effects of sebum on blemish-prone or oily skin.

It’s Known to Help Cancer Patients

Cancer is a destructive disease that ruins people’s lives, and that of their loved ones. Most patients do their best to carry on with the fight, but sometimes they need a little push to help them through recovery. Chemotherapy has countless negative side-effects, and CBD can help ease the pain just to make the whole process a little more bearable. There are some reports stating that it might be able to fight the cancer cells and prevent it from spreading further in the body, and if that turns out to be scientifically proven, then all the hype around CBD would be more than justified.

When Things Become Official

If you think about it, part of the reason why this product has attracted a lot of attention, and why it keeps gaining popularity is because the World Health Organization declared it to be non-addictive, and the FDA started regulating and supporting some medications that contain CBD. So, more and more people feel comfortable when they see these institutions supporting the product, which will likely lead to more sales and much more exposure around the world.

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Governments Are Starting To Recognize It

If you don’t see your country’s government and official institutions acting against CBD, and not enforcing any nationwide bans or laws against its manufacture, that feeds the hype even more as people are no longer afraid to take the steps toward purchasing CBD products. After a certain period of time, there probably won’t be any restrictions on its use at all. It will just take some time for legislators to work on getting it officially approved in certain locations, which is already in process in many states and countries. It’s clear that CBD is here to stay, and it has proved to the world just how beneficial it can be. It looks like the hype will only keep growing, and will soon overcome the few remaining obstacles. Whether you’re already an enthusiast or a first-time buyer, just make sure you find the right supplier who can assure you that the product is safe, giving you clear information about its contents and purity.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Weight stigma affects gay men on dating apps

A study found that Grindr, the most popular dating app for gay, bisexual, two-spirit and queer men, had a negative effect on men’s body image, especially when it came to weight. Three out of four gay men are reported to have used Grindr.

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Weight stigma is an issue for queer men using dating apps, says a new University of Waterloo study, authored by Eric Filice, Amanda Raffoul, Samantha Meyer and Elena Neiterman, all from the University of Waterloo, and which appears in Body Image.

The study found that Grindr, the most popular dating app for gay, bisexual, two-spirit and queer men, had a negative effect on men’s body image, especially when it came to weight. Three out of four gay men are reported to have used Grindr.

“Dating apps have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade or so and have radically transformed the ways individuals connect with one another,” said Eric Filice, a public health doctoral candidate and lead author. “We were surprised to find that weight stigma is perpetuated by individual users and embedded within the app’s information architecture.”

For example, because Grindr facilitates anonymity more than other apps (it doesn’t require a name or link to other social media platforms), and because its pre-set body descriptions don’t acknowledge being overweight (you can be ‘toned,’ ‘average,’ ‘large,’ ‘muscular,’ ‘slim’ or ‘stocky’), most participants in the study perceived being overweight as a stigma.

“Participants recalled their body weight or shape being scrutinized for allegedly being incompatible with their gender expression or preferred position during intercourse,” said Filice. “We think this points to the importance of locating weight stigma within and alongside other intersecting power relations.”

The study also found that apart from weight stigma, body dissatisfaction stemmed from sexual objectification and appearance comparison. “It doesn’t help that because Grindr exists to connect users for dating or sex, physical appearance bears greater cultural salience,” Filice said. “People often compare their candid, in-person appearance to the meticulously curated or digitally altered appearances of others they encounter online.

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“On the other hand, we were especially compelled by the myriad protective factors and coping strategies that participants suggested help mitigate Grindr’s deleterious effects on body image,” said Filice. These included the prioritization of positive self-esteem, strong social support, and avoiding situations that increase insecurities.

Filice said that he doesn’t think trying to curb overall dating-app use is an effective public health approach. “Health promotion strategists should focus on patterns in app use that are most harmful and orient their interventions accordingly. Many of our participants see Grindr as a necessary evil, as internet-mediated communication has served a unique historical role for gay men in circumventing social, cultural and legal barriers to making connections in public spaces.”

He added, “Much remains to be done. We still have little insight into how dating apps influence the bodily perceptions of trans and gender-nonconforming folks.”

Thirteen participants from several cities in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as surrounding municipalities, took part in the study, called “The influence of Grindr, a geosocial networking application, on body image in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: An exploratory study.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Six reasons to enroll on that master’s program you’ve been looking at

We’ve put together some of the best reasons to enroll on a master’s program – if one of your reasons is listed here, then you’re probably a good candidate for furthering your education.

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Are you considering returning to college or staying on for a bit longer after completing your bachelor’s degree? If you’re considering earning an advanced degree such as a master’s degree but are unsure whether or not it is the right move for you, then don’t worry – you’re certainly not alone. Everybody has their own reasons for wanting to return to or continue their education, and there are certainly many different reasons as to why you may be contemplating getting your master’s.

We’ve put together some of the best reasons to enroll on a master’s program – if one of your reasons is listed here, then you’re probably a good candidate for furthering your education.

#1. Improve Your Hiring Prospects:

Gaining a master’s qualification from an accredited university or college can do wonders for your career. It can make your resume stand out, improve your chances of being offered a job interview, and provide you with more leverage for negotiating the terms of your employment, such as your salary and benefits.

In addition, masters’ graduates also tend to enter the job market with a greater sense of confidence and additional understanding and mastery of their chosen field. The experience that you will gain when studying for a master’s program, in addition to the enhanced networking opportunities that are often provided to those studying at this level, can make it much easier for you to land the job that you really want.

Gaining a master’s qualification from an accredited university or college can do wonders for your career.

#2. Facilitate a Career Change:

Have you been feeling like you made the wrong career choices recently? If you’re feeling stuck in a career that you’re no longer interested in or no longer enjoy, then studying for a master’s degree can be a great way to get yourself out of that rut and switch to doing something that you love. Perhaps you are looking for something that’s more challenging than your current role, or something with better growth potential after being stuck with no progression opportunities for some time.

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If you’re looking to jump into a new field, then you’re likely going to need different knowledge, skills and experience. Switching careers is easier than ever with online degree programs, like this masters degree in logistics and supply chain management online from Kettering University, which allows you to gain a new qualification while working full time thanks to its flexible, self-led nature.

#3. Move Up the Career Ladder:

Maybe you are already working in the career of your dreams, but feel that you’ve been stuck in the same position for long enough. Your bachelor’s degree may have landed you in a great entry level position, but you may have found that the opportunities for advancement within your company or your chosen career field are limited if you do not have an advanced degree.

Opting to study for a master’s degree in your chosen career field can become a natural career boost, allowing you to be in with a better chance of qualifying for a raise, gain more status by taking on more responsibilities at work, or apply for a promotion within your company. And thanks to online master’s degree programs, you will not be required to take any time out of work while you study. Your employer may even be willing to fund all or part of your master’s degree if it will be a mutually beneficial move.

#4. Improve Your Job Security:

If you’re working in a career and a position that you enjoy at a company that you love, job security is likely going to be something that’s very important to you. However, a master’s degree qualification can still be extremely beneficial for both yourself and your organization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a master’s or equivalent professional degree can improve job security by substantially improving your standing compared to those with a bachelor’s degree alone.

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And in addition to better standing with your current employer, statistics show that master’s degree holders tend to earn an average of $200 more per week, with an 11% greater chance of employment.

#5. Satisfy Your Learning Cravings:

If you’re itching to learn more and feel that you haven’t been in a position to do this for a while, then taking a master’s degree can be one of the best ways to further and update your knowledge. This is especially true if you gained your bachelor’s degree some years ago and work in a field that is constantly changing and evolving such as business, IT, or technology or a combination of all these.

With the speed at which today’s modern technology is moving, it’s unsurprising that some courses of study can easily become outdated and old-fashioned almost overnight. As a result, earning a master’s degree can not only satisfy your need to continue more, but also help you to keep up the pace in your field and gain new, relevant current knowledge and skills.

If you’re feeling stuck in a career that you’re no longer interested in or no longer enjoy, then studying for a master’s degree can be a great way to get yourself out of that rut and switch to doing something that you love.

#6. Contribute to Research in Your Field:

Bear in mind that studying for a master’s degree doesn’t always need to be about improving your current or future career prospects. In fact, if you are passionate about the field that you are in, enrolling on a master’s program can give you a unique opportunity to contribute to relevant research. Through a master’s degree program, your love and passion for your field can give you a real chance to bring new insights to the area and conduct real and meaningful research that may not only be helpful for yourself, but for current and future students and professionals in the industry.

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The graduate degree world is abundant with opportunities for exploration and discovery, regardless of the field that you choose to study, and it’s in every way possible to be able to contribute to breakthroughs that make a real, positive difference in the world.

These are just some of the best reasons to take the plunge and enroll on a master’s degree program. But even if none of these reasons sound like you, remember that there are plenty of other benefits you can enjoy from gaining an advanced degree.

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