Residency Reflection: The End

My professor here summed up graduation well the other night.  He said, “I’m a dude (yeah, he was the type of bad ass professor), and I’ve just given birth.  What now?”

Well, I physically have the parts to give birth so it’s not as powerful of a statement, but I’m left with the same feelings.  This program, the lifestyle of complete immersion in academia, my fellow students are all leaving me.  As much as I’ve grumbled about it all, I didn’t think about life after.  It’s sad, and I will miss many parts of it.

I feel a little dumbfounded that the end snuck up on me and can’t fully wrap my head around the fact that someone will actually give me a degree tomorrow.  Like I’m waiting for the bottom to fall out and to have one more challenge to complete.

The rest of me wants to through the biggest party you’ve ever seen because I’m done!

In the spirit of the ending, I wanted to put some order to my thoughts about the whole process.  Coming back to this campus was hard.  I do not have fond memories of being here as an undergrad.  I cried for the first ten minutes I walked back into the same sparse dorm rooms.  The smell, the building, the furniture all sucked me back.  It felt like I’d never left.  Nothing felt alien at all, and I could easily have just been home for the weekend and not gone several years living my life.  It felt like I could never escape the horriblenss, and it would always pull me back down.  And every square inch of this campus screamed that my husband was not here.  This was his place.  His accomplishment.  His uniforms.  His rules.  I was an unwelcome visitor.  I can ignore that he’s not home when I’m busy with my normal life, but coming back to his place makes his absence unavoidable.  I missed his dearly this whole trip.

Going into residency with these thoughts made me so angry.  I didn’t want to be here with these people, especially if they were excited about it.  I was surprised, though, how much fun I had.  I still hate this place.  I always will for all the damage it did to me.  But the people I met here and the bond we shared over sweat and tears and dusty books was something special.  Residency was good, and I’m glad I came.

I have little respect for my undergrad degree.  I did not feel accomplished after high school.  My Masters is a feat though.  I did something amazing.  This Master’s here is hard.  It doesn’t matter what degree program you choose to do, it is challenging and is a leader in the field of online graduate education.  The professors are all fantastically smart people.  They don’t get just anybody to teach here.  They find the best people out there.  They find the most accomplished and the most innovative to sit down in small groups of students and share what they know.  One of my professors here is a regular expert for the History Channel.  He’s one of just a handful of guys who study his field.  He is brilliant.  I had lunch with him and talked about everything from the weather to history to evolution to the state of academia as a whole.  And he cared what lil ol me had to say.  It was an out-of-body experience.  I don’t like this university.  I have a lot of horrible things to say about it.  But I will whole heartedly recommend it’s School of Graduate Studies.  You will have earned your degree by the time you’re finished.

And tomorrow morning I will cross that stage and back into real life again.  See you on the flip side.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Wiley
    Jun 25, 2010 @ 06:14:24

    Congrats on your (impending) graduation!! So exciting, and what an achievement.

    When you get back to ‘real life’, drop me an email – I’m really interested to hear more about the university. I am studying online for an MA, but I don’t find it very rewarding or challenging. I feel like I’ve only really learned anyhthing worthwhile in one course. So I am thinking of changing up – especially if I have trouble finding work when I move to the US.
    Looking forward to hearing from you!


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