Probably more than a year ago, I barged into my adviser's office at the University of South Florida, where I am working on my master's in rehab and mental health counseling. I dropped my book bag on the floor, stood in front of his desk, and said the following:
"I need you to help me."
"With what?" he asked.
"I need you to help me drag this out."
"Drag what out?"
He cracked up.
"IT ISN'T FUNNY," I said (albeit while I laughed, too). "I'M SERIOUS."
We laughed because grad students do not traditionally ask how they can spend as much time in school as possible. Grad students traditionally ask how they can spend as little time as possible.
But grad students aren't traditionally afraid to graduate. Probably more than a year ago, I was.
I worried then that I might have to quit my job at the paper in order to graduate (and eventually, I did).
That I'd run out of time to study for comps, the exam that covers all the required courses I have taken in my 60 credit program (and I kind of am).
But I am happy to report the following:
Despite that I had to quit my job at the Times, and despite that I am running out of time to study for comps, I am now super stoked to graduate.
This is because I am tired. And I miss being able to watch some TV without regretting it. And socializing. And not setting my alarm on weekends. And responding to emails in a timely manner. And eating dinner at dinner time instead of before class (too early) or after class (too late).
It's because I'm excited for what comes next. And for being able to sign my name with an "MA" after it.
Which is why it was very exciting this week, when I a) applied for graduation, b) registered for the commencement ceremony, and c) registered for comps.
These are three big deals.
These are points in my program I once didn't want to reach, points I eventually couldn't wait to reach. Finally, I have reached them.
And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pumped.