Starting Monday, I would like you all to refer to me as "Master."
I kid. You can start calling me Master now.
That's right—I've turned in the last of my assignments and I ain't lookin' back no more. Well, except to reflect on my grad school experience, of course. I do have a blog for a reason, you know.
A master's degree. That's a pretty big deal. I keep waiting for the "I'm so awesome!" feeling to descend upon me, but it hasn't yet. And I don't think it will.
Because grad school was never about the destination for me; it was always about the journey. Graduating from BYU was a much more momentous occasion because it was, really, the end of life as I knew it. For as long as I could remember, my life was built around school. I didn't know who I would be without it. Even things like measuring time change when you no longer have school as a frame of reference.
I'm about to graduate for the third time, but there is no terrifying black blob this time. Part of the reason for this is that I'm 26, not 22 (or 18). It's only a four-year difference, but during that time I became completely independent. I already know how to handle car problems and health insurance. I already know what life is like without school to drive you. There are many adult experiences I have yet to experience, but many of the unknowns I had at age 22 are now regular parts of my life. I don't have as much to be afraid of.
The other part of the reason is as I stated above: I didn't decide to go to grad school because I wanted a master's degree—I decided to go to grad school because I needed something fulfilling in my life. Yes, I've complained a lot about school during the last six months. Senioritis can't be avoided, no matter how big of a nerd you are.
But grad school was everything I needed it to be. It gave me something to work toward, filled my empty hours, stretched my brain muscles, and helped me hone skills that I'll actually use. It set me up for a lifetime of continual learning and work, which is why I think I'm done with formal education for reals this time. (Check back in two years to see if things have changed.)
Unlike after my first two graduations, I'm not just looking forward to practicing my pathetic social skills or becoming a part-time couch potato with my free time. I'm not just looking forward to spending more time on the piano and developing other skills like cooking. I don't just want to go back to the familiar; I want to experience something new. I have no idea what that new thing will be, but there are plenty of things I haven't experienced yet. I have a wide selection to pick from. Maybe I'll pick two or three or seven new things to throw into my life.
That's the great thing about graduating from school—you start to feel like you can do anything. I guess the "I'm so awesome!" feeling is settling in after all.