Last Sunday I submitted the last essay for year 1 of my Masters, for my favourite (so far) module The Origin of Modern Medicine and that’s it. All done for year 1.
And I survived.
A couple of weeks ago, on the last teaching day of the year, I found myself drafting this blog post while sitting at the same table in Caffè Nero where just a few months earlier I was crying into my flat white, in a state of anxiety and general OMG. But fast forward 6 months and I found myself quite happily looking forward to spending a few hours in the library before my last lecture of the year. What a difference a few months makes.
In the last couple of days of term I sat outside the students union in the sunshine having just bought a couple of University of Leeds t-shirts, reflecting on how far I’ve come. But I still had the jittery/anxious feeling and I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because I still haven’t shaken off the feeling of being one of the oldest students on campus (probably because I am!) and therefore still sticking out like a sore thumb and still feeling well out of my comfort zone. But I’m learning to manage it and manage it well, which is all I can ask for really. I think one of the main things which concerned me was that I didn’t want to embarrass myself and I don’t think I have. At least I hope I haven’t.
But throughout all the stresses and strains I didn’t once think of giving it up. Never, not even once. I’ve loved it. It’s been stressful and full of anxiety and going back to school about 100 years after I left was such a game changer which studying for approximately 8 years with the Open University didn’t prepare me for at all. Not that I expected it to, it’s completely different. But going to a red brick Uni is SO obviously different to online – not in the studying, that was excellent with the OU. It’s just very very……different. Obviously being surrounded by flesh and blood people is the biggest difference but to be honest I do miss the OU.
But moving on and I’m proud of myself for doing this and fighting through the anxiety and finding ways around the obstacles I put in my way. But there is one person that I just could not have done this without. And that’s Mike. Here he is looking particular happy that I’m at the end of the first year….
His faith in me and his help and guidance got me through my mental stresses over stupid things (but massive to me) like not having anywhere to park, or how to check things out of the library. For that obstacle Mike, Lauren, the pups Sheldon and Missy and I all had to take a trip to Leeds one Saturday back in early October just so I knew what to do.
How ridiculous. By that I mean how ridiculous that a grown woman of a certain amount of years (ahem) was panicking about how to check out a library book. I had been in the world of work, working for various companies for many many years, and had many different experiences, situations and challenges and yet the thought of checking a book out of a library nearly finished me off. But panic I did. And that trip helped me not to panic anymore. So in that way, by helping with the little things he helped me get around the bigger things to make everything easier. Thank you Mike 😘😘😘
I’ve recently come across this quote which describes the Masters process in a nutshell: it’s like a series of assault course obstacles – plan it out, attack the task, survive the assignment/exam and regroup for the next item. That describes it EXACTLY. It’s been like going from one challenge to the next, finishing that one and then moving quickly onto the next without taking a breath.
Next year will be calmer than this one, if only because I have just one module to take plus of course the 15,000 word dissertation but that can be done from home. I’ll only need to be in Leeds once a week, so that’ll be much less mentally stressful. Although I’m sure I’m going to miss the nice breakfasts at Caffè Nero!
So year 2?