Well folks, this is it. The end of an era. The closing of a chapter. The valiant conclusion of our hero’s epic tale of love and loss as she battles the dragons of English literature (or at least book two of such).
As of yesterday, I have had officially conferred upon me the degree of Master of Arts and I have a pretty certificate to prove it.
“How do you feel?” seems to be the question on the minds of the people and, honestly, no different than I felt the other day. The feeling of accomplishment was achieved when I submitted my last paper. The elation of being finished really hit me when I saw that all of my grades were in. The discovery of this rumored thing called “free time” occurred late last week. I no longer wake up in the morning and run through a mental checklist of everything that I have to do to keep my head above water. I can feel the stress begin to roll off my shoulders in waves of calm (well, you know, as much as can do so when I still have a move to plan and a veritable wall of things which I had put off doing until all of my coursework was in). I have returned all of my library books. I have sold back my unwanted textbooks. I have purchased the requisite school hoodie to keep me warm in Boston.
As I tie up loose ends here, I keep having to fight the urge to mourn what I’m leaving behind. As I addressed in a previous post, it’s not so much that I’m leaving anything, but rather that a golden time has passed. My friends are moving on too, with no coursework to do here and no library access it’s not like my research would flourish, I think at the end of it I just have a tough time saying goodbye (and I’ve had the muppet song stuck in my head all morning.. trust me, it’s not helping misty-eyed matters).
The convocation was nice (though our graduation speaker was atrocious… note to the world at large: if you need someone to speak at a graduation, get someone from the humanities not the hard sciences… we want a touching and inspirational message not a lab report). Post-convocation family dinner plus friends and their families was perfect. I am still trying to figure out what to do with this egregiously expensive polyester cap and gown, but I’m a creative person and I’m sure I’ll think of something.
At dinner after graduation, my dad looked at me and said “Congratulations, Doctoral Candidate Rosvally!”. It really hit me at that moment that it was time to don the new hat (over my MA cap, of course… you can’t really leave something so mind-altering as a theory-intensive program in your sock drawer). I guess it was such a shock because I had been so relying upon the summer as a time during which I wouldn’t have to be in the process of becoming something. This summer, I am something. And that’s enough. The Doctoral hat can wait on my bookshelf; I’m not quite ready for it.
In the meantime, I think I’m going to take a much-needed (and well-deserved) break. I keep threatening to pretend that I’m illiterate. We’ll see how long that lasts.