I can’t believe that I am already writing this type of post. Time really flies. Soon, I will cross the stage, hooded by my faculty members, and receive an (empty) graduation folder. Well, most people who are following my blog posts regularly know that by “graduating” I do not mean “being done with school.”
In my program, graduating basically means being done with 98% of course work (except the one summer course we have at the end of July) and clinical internship. My fellow classmates and I still have to finish our master thesis project. However, the thought of graduating still makes me nervous, excited, anxious, and freaked out, all at the same time!
The reason for those feelings is pretty simple. While I will still be a “third year dance/movement therapy student,” basically everything else changes. Except for that one summer class, I won’t have classes anymore. That means that I also won’t be able to see my classmates and, therefore, some of my closest friends, on a weekly basis. Now you might say that it is not a big deal, because we can meet each other outside of class. Sadly, that is not the case. The program gives us the freedom to freely decide on a thesis topic of our interest. As a result, most of our projects are not bound to Columbia or even Chicago. In contrast, some thesis projects require people to move abroad as part of their international research projects. Others decide that they wanted to move back to their home cities/states/countries.
The freedom of being able to choose our own topic also means that we finish our thesis project at different times. One of my classmates just finished her thesis. Others plan to finish theirs by August or December. And then there are people like me who won’t finish until May 2017. Overall, this means that people are free to move away, and several of my friends do. One of those people is my current roommate. Therefore, I will also have to move, even if I stay in Chicago. And whoever has done it before knows that finding a new apartment and moving can be extremely stressful. So while I am trying to get excited about graduation, it also means that I will have to say “goodbye” to the way my relationships with my classmates are right now, and in general to the way my life has been the past two years.
In addition, before I will even be able to cross the stage, there are many other things I’ll have to consider and to do. One of the bigger projects is our annual research poster celebration, at which current second year DMT&C students are presenting a poster on their master thesis research project. The research poster celebration is being held the Thursday before Commencement, and the department is inviting families, friends, alumni, and professionals to attend.As a second year
As a second-year student I will have to stand next to my poster during the three-hour event, enabling guests to ask questions and to engage in conversation about the topic. The event is supposed to not just celebrate the end of the program, but to also promote research in the field of dance/movement therapy, and for students to connect with professionals. It sounds exciting, but there is a lot of work that has to come before that. So right now I am creating my research poster, trying different designs and ways to present it, and aligning my business cards.
On the other hand, I am excited about not having class or internship, and more time for myself. I am also excited to be able to completely indulge in my own research process. I love my topic, and just reading the literature that I currently have access to makes me thrilled to learn more. In the end, it is never black or white, so I will make the best out of this pre- and soon-to-be-post-graduation madness.