After three years, turning in the final assignment of graduate school turned out to be an anticlimax. I think I expected enormous relief, maybe manifesting itself in spontaneous tears of joy or uncontrollable giggling, but in some ways it felt better to be almost done than to be actually done.
There have been a few moments since then where it seemed to really sink in that I am done with homework, probably forever (I hesitate to promise, given my track record). One was the first Saturday with no homework hanging over my head. Another happened at the grocery store this week, when I purchased two glossy magazines and realized I didn’t need to feel guilty about reading them. (In school, I probably still would have bought and read them, but I would have felt guilty the whole time about the school reading that wasn’t getting done.)
But if there’s one thing I hope I learned in the whole experience of grad school, I hope I learned that it’s important to stop and consider, to take a pause before responding or going headlong into something without figuring out first if it’s right. This may actually have nothing to do with graduate school and everything to do with getting to the end of my 20s, but they’re inextricably linked in my mind. But since I’m feeling confessional (it must be the absence of all that guilt!), I thought I’d put together a highlight reel of my graduate school “true confessions”.
- In some ways, getting my undergraduate degree in accounting was harder than getting my MLIS.
- Every time a phrase to the effect of “If I can’t do [insert school assignment] in [insert delusionally reasonable time frame], then why am I in grad school?” left my mouth, I lived to regret it.
- “…by no means all paragraphs are well written.” Indeed, Mr. Patrick Wilson (author of said quote), and especially so if they appear in an article in a scholarly journal. At one point in time, I was convinced that there was an unwritten rule establishing a minimum number of typos and/or grammatical errors an article had to contain in order for it to qualify as graduate school material.
- The use of Latin phrases like ab initio is highly annoying when done by other people and highly satisfying when done oneself.
- Ontology and deontology aren’t opposites, which made reading for understanding, when you’re trying very hard to stay awake, more challenging than seemed absolutely necessary.
- A professor who uses the words “ontology” and “deontology” extensively still may not be able to choose correctly between “principle” and “principal”.
Inevitably, though, people’s first question to me has been: “What’s next?” Well, I’m taking a pause. I’m going to do some volunteer work with libraries this summer, and I’m going to learn how to cook, for reals and like a grownup, with measuring cups and meats. I’m going to give my blog more attention, and I’m going to spend as much time as possible with my best friend before she moves really far away in September. And after all that, I’ll start looking seriously for a library job.
And, by golly, somewhere in there I’m going to finish Middlemarch.