Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 46- A Year Later

Receiving an inordinately expensive piece of paper
A year ago today, I convocated at Western with a Bachelor’s degree in English literature. The next day, I submitted my SSHRC application—a 25-page document for a scholarship worth up to $105,000.

Today, I should be crossing the stage with the other members of my cohort to receive my Master of Arts Degree from Western. Instead, I’m sitting in a flat in Scotland, working towards my PhD at the University of St. Andrews, courtesy of a SSHRC scholarship and generous funding from the university.

It’s been a wild ride. I’ve read thousands of pages, written 45,000 words, cried at rejections and jumped with joy at the acceptances that meant everything. The Masters year wasn’t always fun. Nothing about it was easy. But it was so, so worth it.

To be corny and cliché, it was the people that made my Master’s experience enjoyable. I owe so much to everyone I interacted with that year: the family I lived with who were there for me through the string of rejections, the professors who helped me with proposals or wrote references or just listened when I needed to rant about the stresses of grad school, and, most of all, the wonderful MA and PhD students who made classes so enjoyable.

I might not miss the long nights struggling to finish marking, or the mornings waking up at five to read 90 pages of Freud before class, or the 12 hour days writing three papers in a week, but I definitely miss Wednesday evenings at the grad club and Friday mornings grumbling about the uselessness of bibliography class and afternoons in the “bunker” chatting about everything from the definition of “English” literature to the meaning of marriage to Victorian mummy unwrappings.

Final day with the MA cohort
I wish I could be there to convocate with everyone this morning. I’m so proud of everyone who made it through the year, as well as those who had the courage to drop out when they realized that the program wasn’t for them. I’m so thankful for the intellectual discussions and the Doctor Who evenings, for people who love both Shakespeare and David Tennant.

To everyone convocating today, I wish you all the best. Whether you’re heading on to a PhD or running away from academia as fast as you can, know that I’m thinking about you and praying for you.

Enjoy your thirty seconds on the stage this morning—I might be in Scotland, but I’ll definitely be there in spirit… and possibly lurking the video livestream… J

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