Monday, February 21, 2011

Everywhere I Was Going I Was Running

I'm feeling a little bit like Forrest Gump lately.  Running.  A lot.  Literally, and figuratively.

I've talked about turning thirty and trying accomplish some stuff and checking things off my bucket list, and one of the biggest is finishing my Master's Degree.  I was supposed to have completed it back in December, but what with having a baby and living in South Carolina and all, it was sort of tricky to accomplish.  I worked with my adviser down at Wayne State and successfully received an extension and what I thought was a good idea of what my final project would entail.  I even convinced them to let me do it as an independent study so I wouldn't have to trek to downtown Detroit once a week.  I met with my professor in October and we discussed my ideas and she sent me on my way with a few samples of other students' projects.

Now, I won't bore you with all the exact details, but basically I am creating lesson plans for a tenth-grade class for an entire year based on five different novels.  The sample projects I was given were both around 275 pages, but I've taken classes with this professor before and kind of know what she's looking for, so I wasn't too freaked out.  Besides, according to my adviser and my new extension, I had until May of 2012 to get it all completed.  Easy peasy.

My professor and I have been corresponding by mail.  She's big on the letter writing and not so big on the emailing, so every couple of weeks I get a letter from her on yellow legal pad paper written in cursive, just like you learned to do in elementary school.  I'm not even sure she has an email address, which is actually kind of ironic, considering I'm doing my project on the impact of the Internet and social networking on the young adult novel.  Anyways, I sent her a rough draft of the first section of my project last week, a research paper that, when completed, will total about twenty pages.  When I say rough, I mean rough.  Eight pages is what I think I sent, and I'm all patting myself on the back, because, after all, I still have over a year to finish.

Three days later, a large manila envelope is waiting for me in my mailbox.  Wow, I think, that was fast. And as I read her eight-page letter, I come to a horrifying realization.  Somewhere in this little pen pal situation we have going on there has been what we call a failure to communicate.  Because she's somewhat concerned about my progress.  Because I'm a little behind the other students working on their projects.  Because I'm supposed to have the whole entire project finished by the end April.  As in, this April.  As in, oh shit.

After a minor meltdown involving half a bag of Dove dark chocolates and quite a few tears, I managed to pull myself together.  I spoke to my professor and she was totally confident that I could catch up and get it all done.  I'm not sure she knows that I haven't even read four of the five novels I'm creating lesson plans for, but that's besides the point.  My mom's going to come up one day this week, and my in laws will be taking Anna another day, and I'm gonna rock those twenty pages out and be finished with the first part before we head to Florida. 

Like a lot of things in life, I think finishing this project is going to be much less horrible that I think it will.  It's been kind of looming in front of me ever since I started the program, and I've been dreading it  And I was having a mini crisis thinking I was going to have to finish it all in two months.  But now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm kind of excited to get it done.  Yeah, the next couple of months I might not be able to spend quite so much time knitting or surfing the internet or laying around eating bon-bons, but at the end of it all I will have a Master's Degree.  This might sound super dorky, but I've found myself kind of enjoying it, because I'm actually thinking about something besides how many servings of vegetables Anna's eaten or how many times she's pooped. 

I know this post is getting long, and I promise I'm going to wrap it up soon.  Along with all the figurative running around I've been doing trying to get this project going, I've also been doing a lot of actual running.  I looked at my training calendar yesterday and realized I'm five weeks into it - about a third of the way.  And I have to admit, that much like my project, even though I was totally dreading all this running and training, I'm finding that I'm liking it.  I look forward to those long runs, because it means that I get out of my house and suck fresh air into my lungs and have some time to just be.  A half marathon doesn't seem nearly as scary as it did a few months ago, and I think it's kind of appropriate that right around the time I will be finishing my Master's Degree I will also be heading to Cincinnati to complete the race - The Flying Pig Half Marathon. 

Take that, bucket list!

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