Today was a turning point for me. I received notification from my graduate school that my degree will be rewarded. After coming to the end of a journey, I am feeling a little euphoric. Achieving my Master’s degree is a huge step for me because of the journey that I had to go through to earn it.
In the end of March of 2009, my mom passed away during my second semester at school. A little over a month later I was at Nankai University studying Chinese again, having had little time for mourning. Then I went to Sichuan for a year to research my thesis. I have to say that my heart was not totally into it. Two months before I was to return home, I found a dissertation by Zheng Xiaowei that totally blew what I had out of the water. It was, unfortunately for me at the time, excellent. I returned home and tried to produce something. Anything. In September, my hard drive irreparably crashed, taking my translated research with it. In December, I had about 30 pages completed. I was completely depressed and drained. I just walked away from graduate school and returned home in defeat.
I literally spent about 3 months or so laying in bed doing nothing. I lived off my credit card until it was maxed out. Dad and Darlene pretty much evicted me from the house in an effort to jump start me. It didn’t really work. I went back to work at the library and remained completely depressed. My friend Nathan recommended treatment for depression after we talked about it. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I started taking low dosage prescriptions for it. Interestingly enough, I was able to work through my problems. I started a second job doing hotshot deliveries. It had taken me almost two years, but I decided to finish my degree.
I talked to my adviser and she let me back into school. I finished one paper that was two years overdue. I put off a second one that was finally done two weeks ago. I worked hard on my thesis, using Zheng Xiaowei’s work as a launching point. My defense in December was not pretty, though the criticism was justified and fair. It helped me create a better product. I returned home to the library and went to work on my thesis. Last week, my paper was accepted for the completion of my degree. Today is the end of my journey. It was supposed to have taken two and a half years, but ended up being five years. But as my cousin says, it is not how long it takes, but that you finish.
Recently, there were other endings as well. On May 24th, I stopped working with Mr. S. Our time together was interesting, to say the least. From May 27th to Aug. 5, I went on vacation to help my cousin move from Oklahoma to Myrtle Beach, SC for a new job. He is himself starting a new adventure. In less than three weeks, I am leaving my job at the library (for the 3rd time) and am returning to China. I am once again teaching English in a place I enjoy. Once again moving forward.
To thank all the people who helped me would be laborious. Let me just quote half the saying “Success has many fathers” and leave it at that. The second half of the saying does not apply.
This post is dedicated, as all are, to my Maman. I love you more than mere words can express. Thank you for encouraging me to go to graduate school.