Shout it from the rooftops! Hurrah! I have officially finished my Masters degree! I, April Mitchell-Nading, now have a masters in Liberal Studies! It took me almost six years, but Idid it! Granted, I wasn’t taking classes the entire six years (I even took off all of last year simply because I needed a break from research papers and textbooks and an occasional wacko professor), and I only took one class at a time (hey, I work full time and have children and teach/practice yoga), but just about every single class required a ridiculous amount of time reading and writing and more reading and more writing than I thought possible, and there was no way I could double up on classes.
Some classes had a list of requirements that I thought I would never be able to finish. I mean, really, we’re going to read eight books, have two tests, write a book report (that’s not one of the eight books mentioned above), present the book report to the class, and write a paper “approaching 30 pages?” That was in the first class I took (I remember it well) and it almost scared me away from signing up for other classes. My fellow students (who were farther along on the program) assured me the other classes weren’t as bad and they were right. Let me say, though, that the infamous first class which covered Darwin and evolution was actually quite fabulous. I learned a lot and it changed the way I think about evolution. The bad part was in the workload. Prior to that class, I’m pretty sure I’d never written more than 10 pages, and now I was expected to “approach 30 pages?”
But I did it. And after that, I wrote 20 page papers and 25 page papers and I read and read and read and read. I read during my lunch and after work. I read on weekends and holidays. And I even figured out that if I lie down in the very back of the van where I can’t see out the windows, I can read while riding in a vehicle. (Normally reading in a car makes me extremely nauseous.) I also know now that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Even when it seems overwhelming and too difficult to complete, if I decide I’m going to do it, I will. I may get nervous and stressed out before and during a test, and start doubting that I can write enough pages to meet my deadline, but I’ll make it. It won’t kill me. But doing it sure has made me stronger and more confident in my abilities.
This was probably the biggest, most difficult and most meaningful item on my list. Even if I don’t finish anything else on my list (which I will — though it might stretch into my 51st year), I can now check off the big one: I have my masters!!!! Now who’s going to buy me a drink?