It really is remarkable how much we can change over the course of a short period of time. Whether it’s a new environment that stirs something we’ve not felt before, a new group of people we surround ourselves with who prompt a new course of thought or expose us to further points of view, or a new challenge we dedicate ourselves to and that in turn changes us in the process (or, the wild ride that is the combination of any of these). The past two years have been just that for me, a new set of challenges, in a new space, surrounded by thought-provoking and thought-full people.
The last time I wrote about my Project I discussed how my initial anxieties were not only needless but were completely quashed by the incredible input I elicited from my participants, who I really cannot thank enough for their generous and heartfelt participation. I also reflected on the writing process which demanded I put into words, and just a few words at that, the experience and outcomes of such an involved project. This was no easy task. However, after many fitful writing sessions amidst several successful ones, I completed my Project Paper, the largest work to date I have written, of which I am quite proud. My methods, reflections, and outcomes are all discussed within my frame of putting my participants’ experiences first. For me the most difficult task was not generating my discussion but focusing it, for I could easily have written more than twice what I finally produced given the amount of material I wanted to cover. However, practicing a “quality not quantity” method, I therefore focused on communicating my ideas with intent and direction. For me, a “first draft” doesn’t really exist, because as I write even just one sentence, I am reworking, reflecting, and rewriting constantly; the “first draft” is really the fifth or sixth or more. So when I submitted my “draft” for revision, my supervisors came back to me with ideas to clarify, helpful comments, and copy-edits that I turned around rather quickly. And so, my Paper and Project was ready for Defence.
I successfully Defended my MA Project at the beginning of April, which now seems a lifetime ago. The time I spent preparing for my defence is a blur, and I cannot now properly express the strange combination of excitement, anxiety, fear, and confidence I experienced in the time leading up to, during, and after my Defence. What I can say is that I was met with incredibly supportive, enthusiastic, and generous feedback and questions on my Project’s methods and outcomes, for which I am overwhelmingly grateful. I left grinning ear to ear and a wave of relief and pride washed over me. All of a sudden I was no longer an MA Candidate but a full on Master of Arts Graduate (well, Convocation is in June, but hey, that’s just technically). It feels pretty surreal to say the least!
I want to say another big thank you to everyone involved in my project, first and foremost my participants. In addition, my academic support, and friends and family. A shout out to Jack Jamieson, a WordPress wiz who helped me with some technical/website structure aspects; shout out to Loren Aytona who crafted me an incredible poster and really boosted my confidence thanks to her interest in my project.
Here’s looking forward to new challenges and adventures coming my way. I am sincerely grateful for the wild ride that was my MA and I probably wouldn’t have had it any other way.