One week ago today, I completed my master degree.
It was a true race to the finish line (which was slightly self-imposed, but also came with a tuition rebate for the month of August), and even though my advisor and I worked back and forth for many hours over the last few days before the submission deadline, all the hard work is worth it to get to the finish line.
But really, I’m at the beginning of another start line: in September I become a 2nd year PhD student, as this past year counts as both my master degree and year 1 of the PhD program. Exciting times ahead!
Here are a few summary thoughts on the process I’ve gone through in the last 11 months:
1. My writing has changed significantly. I’m not implementing all of those changes here, (*ahem* passive vs. active voice), but how I construct my thoughts and get words on the page is significantly different, eleven months later. I recognize that my writing is stronger, more developed and my overall voice is closer to the academic style that is required.
2. Criticism 101. Learning how to handle criticism is something every young working (or studying!) individual has to learn, and it’s hard. It’s often a harsh experience to receive criticism, and also difficult to avoid taking things personally. I know this, because I’ve been there in many of my previous roles. However, all that wonderful practice has opened up my ability to see criticism for what it really should be: constructive help to make your ideas better. I love getting feedback and I thrive on making my work better and better, and I don’t mind receiving other relevant opinions on my work; in fact, I welcome it.
3. Idle time. I’ve always been a very busy person. I like having places to go, people to see, and things to do. But, this past summer really opened my eyes to the idle time syndrome that is part of graduate level education and work. Once classes are over (for the summer, or for good), you have to buckle down and do the work, among a very flexible and wide open amount of time. At first, I didn’t know how to cope with the lack of activities etc, but after three months of learning to adapt and thrive, I look forward to moving through my final year of coursework to a more open and free-form schedule. Idle time doesn’t mean wasting time, but it does mean learning how to be efficient and effective with the gift of time that is flexible.
So for the next few weeks I’m moving apartments (more to come on this!), moving offices (hello, PhD!), and preparing for the fall semester. I’ll take some time off to enjoy a few novels and check out the Wolfe Island Music Festival this weekend, too.
Stay tuned for more details, as well as the return of five things on Monday!