hi all- Meredith here. Or should I say, Meredith Dault, M.A. (which is how a friend just greeted me when I ran into her on the street).
That’s right, people: it’s done. At 10am yesterday morning, my committee offered me a hearty congratulations, and I went on my way. There were odds and ends to complete (I had to add a paragraph to my final paper in order to clarify something) but essentially, I went out into the world knowing my degree was behind me.
What a strange feeling! After two years of persistent work, I can now proclaim that I have my Master’s degree!
As scary as it sounds, my defence wasn’t too terrible. For those of you not aware of the procedure, it goes something like this:
The committee asked me to leave the room while they decided my faith. After five (slightly nerve wracking minutes) minutes (I was lucky that someone had left a copy of Vanity Fair lying out in the room where I was waiting – I was able to distract myself with an article about William and Kate), the committee chair came to get me. “Don’t worry, it’s positive,” she said with a smile.
That definitely made it easier. I knew the rest of the process would be a formality. I would have to field (probably tough) questions, but I very likely wouldn’t fail.
The questions were tough but good — some of them asked pointedly about what I’d learned, or what had surprised me most about my research. Some asked for clarification, or demanded that I think more deeply about a particular issue. I don’t know that my answers were particularly brilliant, but I didn’t cry (I had been joking that I might) and I think I mostly held my own. I even learned some things: the committee made some good observations and recommendations which I think will help me in my future work with my subject matter.
After that discussion, the committee then asked me to leave the room again while they deliberated my fate for the last time. I was called back in to find that I needed to make a couple of minor additions to my paper, but that otherwise, it had all been approved.
People keep asking me how it feels to be done — and I’m finding that it’s a hard question to answer. In some ways, it feels sort of surreal to know that every aspect of getting my degree is behind me how, except for the bit where I show up in a gown and get my diploma. But because I still do a lot of freelance writing, and because I have work in Ottawa to go to, I don’t feel completely in-the-clear.
It’s an absolutely stunning afternoon here in Kingston, though — so I may celebrate my own achievement by taking myself for a walk or a bike ride this afternoon.
Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way as I worked towards this degree! I’m grateful to all of you. Yay!