One down

Well, today marks the end of my first semester as a postgraduate student. It’s been a crazy and hectic journey to get to this point, but I got here and I’m alive to tell the story!

I admit that there was a time I worried that I would never even start on my master’s degree. Paul’s death shook me to the core and even though I know that this is what he would want for me, I just couldn’t find the motivation to apply to schools. And even then, I didn’t know how I would pay for it. But, I applied and I got accepted and I figured out a way to pay for it all. And even though it means I am living on a very tight budget, this is a very positive step.

The school year got off to a good start, but then a few weeks ago the stress of the holidays and a low platelet count, Paul’s would-be birthday, and a couple other personal conflicts distracted me. Yes, I got myself into such an emotional state that I actually began to doubt my abilities and wondered if this whole adventure was a mistake.

In fact, at the height of my turmoil, I had two major essays to write for two different modules. One was 50 percent of my overall mark—the other was 100 percent of my grade for that module. With each paper, I turned them in with regret. I honestly feared that I may have failed—or came near to failure.

I got the grade for the first paper late last week with a very good mark. In fact, I double checked because I didn’t think I read it correctly. And since I also had an exam for that module (which would be the remaining 50 percent of my grade) that mark made me less apprehensive about the exam.

The other paper was marked and ready for collection yesterday, but I opted to pick it up today after my exam (the one mentioned above). In fact, I decided to pick it up after the exam because I was so worried that the mark would completely deflate me and that it would affect my ability to sit the exam.

But at the last moment I decided to pick up the paper before the exam. And I was so, so, so, so pleased to see that I got a mark of distinction. Yes! On a paper that I was certain would be below average or even—dare I say?—a failure mark. A distinction. Really. And let me just say that I beamed. It was such a moment of joy for me that all of my worries and fears about the pending exam went away. All of the sudden, nothing else mattered. I was smart—and I had a marked essay to prove it!

In the end, I think I did pretty well on my exam. I didn’t ace it, but I didn’t fail it. And that’s OK. Because I got great marks on all my papers (a distinction on one, if you didn’t catch that earlier) and I am feeling confident about my abilities once again.

So, my first semester is done. Teaching resumes for spring semester in mid-February then my dissertation is due in August. I’m excited about the winter break, but I’m more excited about next semester and my dissertation. In fact, you can guarantee that I will be doing some reading for next semester over the break. And I’ve already started to give some real thought to that dissertation.

And all of this means that, in about a year’s time, you might get to read about my excitement of completing my first semester as a PhD student.

(Oh, and did I mention that I got a distinction on one of my essays today?)

7 thoughts on “One down

  1. Of course I do realize how easy it is to question yourself on intellect when you consider where we came from and have nothing to really compare to. I’m not saying there are no intelligent people from “home” I’m just saying when you are among real sophistication, it’s hard to judge how worldly the knowledge really is. 🙂

    • Thanks, Ramona! I know it’s crazy that I feel so inadequate at times–because I know I’m smart–but sometimes the world just seems to close in on me. I am truly lucky to have so many people who believe in my abilities though!! x

  2. Again, you’re amazing! And I have to say that I completely understand Ramona’s perspective. When I went to BYU, I felt like an idiot! I was not prepared for how hard it was going to be and for how lacking my high school education had been when faced with the “real” world of college. SO congrats you! I’m so proud of you:)

    • Thanks, Amy! I know when I went for my undergraduate degree I felt so unprepared and out of place. How is it that our high school did such a lousy job at preparing us for the world!?

    • The distinction was on one of the papers I thought I failed. All of my other papers for the semester were very high marks (A level grades), but not distinctions–which are like an A on steroids. My one-and-only exam mark will be in sometime in January, and I picked up my dissertation proposal today. They’re just pass/fail, and I passed. Thankfully, the comments were all very positive and I’m certain that it will make for a great research piece!

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