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Posts tagged ‘Thesis’

Master’s Degree, Earned!

Wow, it’s been a really long time since I’ve written a post (or even read posts from my favorite bloggers, but I’m starting to catch up)! I’m sorry for the long absence!

What did I do in that time? Well, I wrote, revised (4 times), and defended my Master’s Thesis! Whoa!

In reality, my Master’s Thesis was a project with a reflection paper. In the fall, I wrote a play with a community theater group (I led a bunch of creative sessions, took all of the work they created, and blended it into a cohesive script). It was a great time and I would do it again in a heartbeat. So the thesis project was actually directing (and further editing) that script (the play also went up this weekend, talk about exhausting). I wanted to do a project because I felt like that’s the type of thing at which I excel. I can do research and formulate a creative paper, but that’s not my strong suit. Meeting with people and creating something theatrical is what makes me happier. Ironically, I want to teach dramatic literature.

My cast, taking a bow

Also ironic: my final reflection paper (including two appendices – the first draft of the script and the production draft of the script) ended up being 104 pages… what was I saying about not wanting to write a paper?

This past month was ROUGH! To relate it to running terms, I feel like the first year and a half of the program was similar to a few 5ks at a 12 minute pace. This last month was like a marathon at a full-out, sub 6 minute, sprint. It’s not entirely true though, that’s just a symptom of a faulty memory. If I really think about, last semester was brutal and I was stressed all the time. The first half of this semester was no cake-walk either and I was always nervous about falling behind on work.

In early March, my wonderful boyfriend was asking about planning a graduation party. At the time, I really felt as though I didn’t deserve a party. I felt like I really hadn’t done anything special that was worth celebrating. Yes, I was about to finish my Master’s program, but I had really enjoyed the time I spent in most of the classes. Most of it (especially to a faulty memory) was fun! I’ve changed my opinion on that in the last few weeks though. I have worked my butt off! I really do feel as though I have earned something. Although, now I really just want to take a nap! 

Typically in this blog I try to talk about motivation. So what motivated me through this sprint? If I didn’t get my thesis in on time, I would have had to pay $900 for a continuing ed credit over the summer. I’ve already paid over $40,000 for this program and I certainly wasn’t going to finance nearly 1k additional on my own. I was going to finish on time come hell or high water! Luckily for me, my thesis committee is AWESOME and they would edit and return my drafts so quickly and they would even send them back on weekends. They were so good to me! If you haven’t read about my love for one of my professors, you can check that out here.

Going for the thesis defense was so intimidating! The only person I’ve ever talked to about a thesis defense was my best friend who got her PhD in Math. She had to do a whole Powerpoint presentation and everything! I was so nervous!

Luckily for me, though, I had the most amazing thesis committee in world. As soon as I sat down, my committee chair basically said: “We’re not going to be mean to you. It was our job to prepare you to this point, so if we pick you apart, all we’re doing is pointing out how poorly we did our job.” She rocks! They asked me a few follow-up questions to my paper, we talked about ideas and advice if I were to do this again, we talked about my stumbling blocks and how they would have dealt with them, and when it was all over, they gave me a cupcake! I think that’s a good sign. Plus, it’s a sign that I had a really awesome committee!

Not the actual cupcake, but similar...

I’m so thrilled to be done!

But then there is the question: now what? I like to stay busy… so I guess there is a lot of running in my future!

I Fell Down…

I’m sorry for having been away for so long! Before my long absence, I had been talking about how busy, busy, busy I was. Essentially, I was to spend about 21 days in a row out of my house for about 15 hours per day. I made it for almost all of them. I called out sick on the final one. By the end, I was feeling stressed and tired and sick and malnourished.

Another giant downside to being out of my house for so long is that other things don’t get taken care of: laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills (unless they are online), prepping for all of these nights out of the house (homework, etc). So I returned to a giant “to do” list – which didn’t help with the stress level.

I have to admit that I failed. I had mentioned that I signed on for another task (directing a musical) and I really thought I would be able to do it. However, I found the musical director to be difficult to work with. I thought he was being bossy and mean; but it was later explained to me that he needed his hand held, like crazy. I found him distracting in my rehearsals and we needed a translator even though we were both speaking English, our communication styles just didn’t seem to mesh. I also didn’t appreciate him yelling at me for things that he forgot to do (I originally volunteered for it, he said he would rather do it, and then I got blamed when it wasn’t done). It wasn’t a pleasant working situation. However, before it sounds like I’m bashing him too much, I feel I should mention that he was great with the kids and the music… it was the details that were a problem.

I feel terrible. I let down the kids. I let down the parents group organizing the show. I hope I didn’t burn too many bridges (as bad news and gossip always travel like wildfire). I have been sleeping better and getting my homework done though…

The straw that broke this camel’s back though was mainly school and my calendar. I was supposed to pick up a form signed by my thesis committee members and drop it off to the registrar. But I forgot, and I missed the deadline. I ended up having to beg the registrar to please, please, please let me register for my thesis so I could graduate on time. My boyfriend had to run around the campus (luckily he works down the street) on his lunch break, pick up the form and drop it off. However, at every step of the way he had to call me and ask me to send an e-mail giving him permission: “yes, student secretary, please give my boyfriend the form on my behalf.” “yes, student secretary, please accept the form from my boyfriend (and not me).” It was absurd. Plus, my loan money had already been turned into a refund check, so my boyfriend is holding the money for my class (as a check), but we couldn’t use any of it (because I had to sign it… and I was 45 minutes outside the city), so I’m charging various parts to different debit accounts and credit cards trying to make it all work (because I had to pay before registering and classes aren’t cheap).

It was STRESSFUL! And I can’t let things like my thesis fall to the wayside because I was focusing on directing a musical “for fun.”

I still feel terrible about it though.

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