Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The End of an Era

Well, I turned in my Master's Project the day before yesterday (*pause for applause*). And--get this crap--Professor Gung Ho didn't even stay for our formal presentations. He was too sick, and scuttled off after the first two Master's candidates had their turn.

So, why did I/we even bother worrying, practicing, creating Powerpoints that amazed and astounded? The answer: I dunno, right now.

But one thing I did realize, as I sat in the Tufts conference room with my fellow matriculators, was that this was the proverbial "it". It was the last time we would be gathered, save for the graduation ceremony itself. And of course, that'll just be Emersonians, not my Tufts peeps.

I sat there, watching and actually fully enjoying everyone's presentations; and realized how far I had come. Yeah, I'm down on my program, but there wasn't a thing anyone spoke about that I didn't understand. There wasn't a theory mentioned that I couldn't explain to you (and probably correctly site it's author, as well...). Whether I'm completely satisfied or not, I HAVE learned a lot. And as I sat surrounded by people who had taken the journey with me, I remembered how consumed with passion for it I had been at the beginning. What happened between then and now to make me so unbearably jaded? I'm not sure. I guess I need to explore that.

But mostly, it began to hit me that this was "it"--this was the end of my formal education, for now. I will no longer be a "student" (at least, not till I find some company foolish enough to fund my PhD...). I will just be me again. I won't have the craziness of the hectic scheduling, or the annoyance of having to buy new texts each semester, or the fun of making countless contacts. I won't be saying: "I'm a graduate student, but I do 'X' to pay the bills..." Hell, now I'm just a cubicle monkey.
Gone is the sense of belonging to something much, much bigger--the realm of studentdom. I'm leaving it, now.

And somehow, this realization brought with it more than a small twinge of sadness. So I sucked down the shiraz in the plastic cup in front of me, swallowed hard, and spoke on the theoretical principles that guided my campaign. The people in the audience smiled back at me. They are my friends, and now; my colleagues. I will miss them all terribly.

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