Thursday, March 22, 2007

left behind

At WIM this week our group was chatting about thesis writing and graduating and whatnot. I'll be writing my thesis over the summer, and defending next fall. Brian is impressed. "Is that the usual time frame? Isn't that pretty fast?" He thinks this is my first year in the MA program. I explain that although this is my first year teaching, I'm a year ahead of him in the program. "Oh, so you're actually a slacker." Ouch. Anna L. sticks up for me: "She has two kids." I tell Brian, a little defensively, that my thesis advisor told me not to bother working on my thesis right now because my coursework is pretty labor-intensive this semester. The conversation moves on. Two and a half years is not an unreasonable amount of time to complete an MA program that requires a thesis. Brian's just kidding anyway. No hard feelings.

The meeting breaks up, and the group files out into the hall. I'm left behind to pick up Peach's snacks, and toys, and blanket, and cup, and put her shoes back on. She's great at taking clothes off, but not so good at putting them on again. We turn the corner in the hall just in time to see the elevator doors closing. The rest of my group is in there, on their way up to the Composition Office on the fourth floor. Peach and I wait for the elevator to come back to the basement to pick us up.

Two and a half years is not an unreasonable amount of time to complete an MA program that requires a thesis. But …

I feel like I should have been able to do it in two years. Yes, I have a family. But I also have an extremely supportive spouse, and good childcare. I should have been able to do it. My friends are moving on, applying to PhD programs, getting jobs, and I'm not. Blackwood keeps asking me why I'm in such a hurry. I'm not ready to apply for a PhD anyway. But …

7 comments:

Heidi said...

Oh my dear. You are NOT a slacker!!! You are doing incredibly well. Hey, it took me THREE and 1/2 years to complete that zoo MA. And you know what kind of hell I had at the end. Life happens. Everyone has their own time schedule and pace, and the important thing is: are you learning? Are you enjoying it? Well, then, BEEP him, whoever he is!! Life will happen to him soon enough, and he'll find himself eating those words when someone else turns around and says, "What, you didn't finish your PhD in 1 year? Are you a slacker?"

Octavia said...

Brian really was kidding, and I really have no hard feelings about it. Unfortunately, he happened to articulate - in jest - what I secretly fear: that maybe I'm not working hard enough. That if I had more self discipline, I could have finished sooner. Why is it so important for me to finish sooner? ... OK, I really don't know.

Heidi said...

Because you've been at an institution where it is claimed, on the one hand, that "education is important," but which, on the other hand, doesn't seem to realise that "education" does not mean "shove people through so fast that they don't actually absorb or learn anything." That's why you feel like you should have been done a year ago...

Nicole said...

wow, now you're making ME feel bad--i don't defend until fall and i don't have a single child. unless, of course, you count alex. which i do, sometimes. haha.

Octavia said...

@ nicole: Yes, but your emphasis is Creative Writing, and everyone knows that you can't rush genius. :)

Anna B said...

um, i have not kids, and am considering december graduation. :) we can have a party together! and, if your chair thought you needed to work harder, he'd tell you. and just because we can all work harder until we're totally stressed out and unahppy, doesn't mean we should or have to. you are fantastic!

Heidi said...

I hope dork-face reads all these comments. :-D That's my new name for him whoever he is. You can tell I gained a lot from Elder Holland's conference talk, eh. I make myself giggle. Anyway, I think all post-grads who are really normal should put big signs in their offices or wherever they work that say, "I AM A SUCCESS!!! NO MATTER WHAT DORK-FACES THINK!!!!!!!"