I’m Proud

My Proudest Moment Blog Challenge- Day 5

I think in life we’ve all got a few moments that shine bright above others. When I have to think about one of my proudest moments I think of my final semester in graduate school where I was working on my thesis. My entire graduate program was intensive and had accelerated work  load, my semesters were only 8 weeks long. Upon entering grad school I knew it would end with me having to write a thesis paper, which seemed so daunting. I always had that thought in the back of my mind that I had to write one, what would I write about and how in God’s name would I do it? Semesters came and went drawing closer to me having to meet with an advisor, selecting a topic and having to submit an abstract. I could barely deal! When anyone asked me what I was thinking about doing, the most i could come up with is ‘something dealing with social media’. Yea, I know that’s seriously broad but it’s all I could think about and come up with.

My proudest moment

As the semesters passed I watched other friends go thru the thesis writing process. It went something like this.

Stage 1– Happy to not have to go to class every single day, freedom to express your thoughts

Stage 2– Research begins

Stage 3– Mini breakdown while researching and gathering data.

Stage 4– Sleepless nights begin as you write your abstract

Stage 5– Bags under eyes, you submit your abstract to your advisor. Who then rips it apart, interrogates you and tells you no this can’t work. So you have to start over

Stage 6– Go home and quietly cry over your laptop and ask God why he’s punishing you? Call friends and relatives complaining about your thesis project between dry heaves and wailing sobs. You do this while simultaneously posting on Facebook just how much stress thesis writing is causing you.

Stage 7– Touch bases with your friends who survived the thesis process and ask for their advice because clearly your advisor doesn’t know shit and is out to strip you of your sanity.

Stage 8– Your friends take you in and listen to you whine, cry and be overly emotional, they let you get it all out. Then they look you dead in the eye, and say ever so calmly, “You need to buckle down and get your shit together and get it done!” You look at them like ‘huh, what, who, what’s going on!?!’. They offer their insight and tips. They show you alternate research methods. They tell you to check out their theses and see if it sparks something for you. And then they set a deadline for you to come up with ideas.

Stage 9– After some serious deep thinking, you regroup and come back to them with a few ideas explaining to them your plan on fleshing it out. They pat you on the back and say GREAT, now turn your abstract in again! So you do.

Stage 10– You turn in your new abstract to your advisor and defend it with your life, but you’re kind of nonchalant about it because you feel like they’ll send you back to the drawing board again. They ask you tons of questions, you cooly provide them with tons of answers and then saunter out the room or log out of the e-learning portal.

Stage 11– Your abstract is approved and the real work begins! You tell your friends who are now basically your thesis support team. They say the real work begins now and tell you you’ve got to put your life on hold. You comply swiftly.

Stage 12– You disappear from social media and your social life takes a nosedive. You begin living in a world of research and data. Your bed and desk are piled high with books. You take turns in between reading, writing notes, jotting down outlines, typing said notes and sleeping. If you’ve really got a rhythm you carve in time to get some fresh air and clear your head. This becomes your life for the next few months. You’ve done the academic ghost. Everyone wonders what happened to you? They haven’t seen you. You haven’t tweeted in ages and don’t pop up in their newsfeed anymore. Your Thesis Support Team tells them, oh she’s writing her thesis. They all let out a big ‘Ohhhhhhhh’ and go on with their lives.

Stage 13– You’ve caught a groove to your writing, you check in periodically with your advisor, you take their feedback to heart and incorporate it into your writing. You start feeling good, like ‘I think I can actually do this.’ You begin to realize how smart you are. You re-read your edits and think ‘damn…I’m such an eloquent writer!’ You pat yourself on the back. Your Thesis Support Team checks in to make sure you’re keeping to schedule and haven’t cut your wrists (you’ve got to love them for that!) They remind you the end is near, the finish line is off in the distance but slowly, steadily approaching. You batten down the hatches and go beast mode for the last few weeks.

Stage 14– First draft is finished. You send it to a Thesis Support Team member for proofreading and suggestions. They say this is AWESOME! This is academic gold! They make minor changes, suggest a few other tweaks and then send it back to you.

Stage 15– You finish tweaking your ode to your graduate school career and re-read it at least 20 times. You get paranoid about spell checking and grammar, everything starts running together to you. You finallly write your acknowledgements and make sure to praise your Thesis Support Team. Then you print and bound that bad boy and submit it to your advisor or in my case I submitted online, while holding my breath and clutching pearls you’ve yet to own. There’s a sense of terror, delight, relief and fear permeating thru your entire being. And then you pass out from exhaustion.

Stage 16. You slowly step back out into real world, while waiting to hear back on your thesis. You reconnect with friends, you catch up on the latest gossip and social media fuckery and try to get back into the swing of a normal life. In the back of your mind you are a nervous wreck because you haven’t heard back from your advisor and begin to doubt yourself, did I misread the guidelines? Did I make mistakes? Did I not cite sources properly? OMG is my entire thesis garbage?!? You battle these thoughts in your head until you finally hear back from your advisor. And you await their final review and response with bated breath. You know for sure you’ve fucked this shit up and you are on the verge of another meltdown and the tears are trying to fight their way out, when your advisor says, ‘This was an amazing and well-thought out work and add more insight into your field of discussion! You should have it published! Congratulations on your A+ and best of luck in all you decide to pursue!’ You can’t believe it! The tears are gone and all you can do is scream in sheer excitement and relief. You call your Thesis warriors and they say ‘Girl’ I knew you could do i!’ You thank them again and you think to yourself WOW I Actually did it and for the first time in a very long time you’re super proud of yourself and think….”I can do anything!”

Now compound all those steps into an accelerated program whilst dealing with deep personal & emotional turmoil and you can see why without a doubt to date, completing my graduate thesis, New Media: Giving Voice to Minorities…all 110+ pages in 6 weeks has been my proudest accomplishment to date.

What about you? What is your proudest moment? You KNOW I want to know! Drop it in the comments and let’s celebrate our victories past and present together!

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