Monday, March 10, 2008

Reflections of a Masters' Candidate

During the past week I have been giving a lot of thought about my life as it currently it and how much will be changing in the next few months. Over the years, I have heard different people say that life is about change. In a way, this is true because there is always something else just around the corner. My tenure as a graduate student is swiftly coming to an end, and I am truly excited about my future as I imagine a life without endless reading, writing, translations, exams, and other academic pursuits. I will hold a full-time job for the first time, bring home a ‘real’ paycheck, and re-learn what it means to actually have a social life.

However, in my retrospection I have come to realize that I will miss certain aspects of my life as a graduate student. Part of me is surprised by this, while the other part of me was fully expecting this realization to hit. Last week I was sitting at my desk at work looking around at the office I have grown to love when these ideas began percolating in my mind. At first glance it is nothing spectacular, but frills are not what make the Center for Oral and Public History the wonderful place it is. Nor does our collection of interviews or the services we provide to students and community alike. Rather, it is the people, and they are who I will miss. We all have our quirks; our good days and bad days, our little office squabbles, yet I’ll miss seeing these individuals almost every day. I will miss the laughs, the crazy re-tellings of the ‘what was that student thinking’ stories, being part of our office family and feeling like I am helping to give back to the community.

The oft quoted lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s song Big Yellow Taxi seem fitting for this moment: Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Yes, as I always suspected, deep down I will miss being part of a larger than life campus, walking the quad when everyone else is in class, smelling the fresh cut grass in the mornings, and enjoying the connection to my fellow students and faculty. But, I do not want these words to become a reality in my life. I want to appreciate where I am and value every moment. One of my favorite quotes originates from Star Trek Generations, and I desire to remember this throughout my life…"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives, but I rather believe that time is a companion that goes with us on a journey…reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again."

As I finish out my grad assistantship and complete my thesis, my goal is to pay extra attention to the little details and value the time I spend with co-workers, fellow colleagues, and academic mentors, all who have contributed to my time at Cal State Fullerton.


Jackie said...

I completely understand how you feel! It's an odd sensation (one I still have not recovered from): that of going to school every day (or almost every day) for 19 years and suddenly NOT going. When I transitioned, I called it "Postpartum Depression" - that's what it felt like. Everything built up to this one moment in my life and then I finished and I was sad (even though I hadn't expected to feel sad at all).

Well congratulations!!! I'm just so excited for you!!!

LittleDreamer said...

Thanks, Jackie! Oddly enough, I'm already feeling a little sad...then I am chained to writing my thesis again and the feeling vanishes. :)

Adam said...

I liked what you said.