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29. Earn my MA in English October 6, 2010

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Life List.
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Earning a Master’s degree is much less momentous than getting your bachelor’s in anything.

This is a funny thing to say, I know.  I’m not saying that it’s less important–that’s obviously not the case.  I’m also not saying that it’s less rewarding, less work, or somehow easy.  That’s not true either.  It just…comes and goes with little fanfare.  With your undergraduate, you and your friends are lamenting the end of your college days together, and the closer the end of the semester comes, the more nostalgic you are.  Finally, you graduate, hug, and go your separate ways.  A new chapter opens.

For me, this was certainly true.  I went from having two weeks of graduation festivities to getting married, and within the course of a month my whole life had metamorphosed into something new.  My MA wasn’t like that.  I finished, defended, and then went straight back to work.

This sounds like I’m really down on my degree.  I’m actually incredibly proud of myself.  I’ve never worked so hard for anything in my whole life, and I can’t wait until I get my piece of paper that proves I’ve accomplished something great.  I loved writing my thesis on Doris Betts and the American West.  Though it was incredibly stressful, and the most I’ve ever written in my whole life, I think I could easily revisit that subject and write *more.*  It was…fun, in its own way.  I pretty much wrote nonstop from May until the beginning of August, and I logged 50+ hours a week on that thing.  It’s my baby, and without trying to sound pompous, it’s good.  Not great, but good.

When I finished my BA, I thought I was pretty smart, that I’d stretched my skills about as far as they could go.  Getting my MA has proven to me that my abilities can be pushed to almost limitless standards, and as long as I’m game, I can keep learning. Improving.  Growing.  I was telling John last week that when I was a junior, a 7 page term paper scared the bejeezus out of me.  Now I look at 25 to 30 page papers like they’re normal, and often find myself having to *cut* ideas and information.  I’m a much better writer, critic, and thinker, that’s for sure.

The biggest blessing of this journey, though, has been my teaching experience.  I love it.  It’s something I could picture myself doing for the rest of my life, and if I stick through my Ph.D, I just might be.  That thought is scary and exciting.  It’s sublime, even.  On top of that, the support from my family and loved ones has been tremendous.  I really know who I can count on now.

My MA is something I knew I wanted since high school.  Having it feels good–really, really good.

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