Getting a master’s degree is more painful than childbirth, with a longer gestation periodPosted: November 19, 2011
I took my first graduate class in spring 2005, started a master’s degree in earnest in 2007, and have been enrolled just about every semester since.
Seven years’ gestation.
Sort of like childbirth, I knew at the beginning that if I focused on the scary stuff at the end, I just might not make it. So I started off with stuff I knew I’d have fun with and tried not to think about how I’d ever make time to write a thesis.
No one moment during the nine classes I took seems all that difficult. But collectively, I spent a lot of hours reading and writing. And then came the thesis. And sort of like childbirth, there’s no way to skirt around that scary stuff at the end. The only way to the other side is straight through the pain. And in this case, no drugs can help.
I successfully defended my thesis on Thursday, so I’m officially on the other side, looking back at the pain. I’m not sure when I’ve felt such relief. Unlike after the birth of my two sons, I don’t have euphoria to distract me from the bad parts. Just relief. And a master’s degree. And a 5-year-old son who says I should be called Headmaster from here on out. I’ll take it.
Here’s what the dedication page of my thesis says:
To my husband and two sons, who have tolerated years upon years of multitasking.
To my grandfather, Donald Mathis, who is no stranger to fancy degrees, for telling me that a master’s degree is no big deal and that I should go for it.
To my colleagues at the Columbia Missourian, who inspire me daily.
To my first bosses in journalism, Sara Quinn and Janet Coats, for mentoring me and exposing me to what creativity, optimism and a sense of purpose looked like in a newsroom, and for setting the bar high.
And to my college newspaper adviser at the University of Oklahoma, Jack Willis, who quietly held me to the highest of standards, and who asked me when I was 21 if I was sure I didn’t want to stick around and get a master’s degree.
So, can anyone recommend a hobby?