Working hard for my second Masters’ degree (my first was in Journalism) I recently had a chance to stop and reflect on the feelings of accomplishment that first time around.
I recall the day I was done, and it wasn’t after my successful thesis defense where they didn’t ask for any corrections. Nope. It was the day I handed in my last check to the formatting office to pay for the internal publication. I had asked at the time what might happen if I refused to pay the $35.00, and was politely told that my diploma would be withheld.
Like I wasn’t going to pay after all the hours and work…
So I did.
Right after that moment, after leaving the office, I just stood outside, stunned that it was all over. Nothing more to do, no papers, no presentations, no undergrads to help. Done.
I was elated.
It’s a feeling that hopefully I’ll have again this coming spring, but there are others who may have that sooner; the feelings of accomplishment, joy, happiness relief with maybe a little bit of shock at first. They have been working on their theses, called “Capstones” here at Columbia. And instead of a formal defense there are public presentations.
This weekend are those presentations, where my fellow grad students will share their work and let it shine. For Saturday and Sunday, grouped by themes, each will give a talk about what studies they have done in the field of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.
Am I going? You bet.
It’s not only to see classmates and friends, but to learn and understand the cutting edge of the field. The past is pretty interesting, but there is a gradually growing demand for conflict resolution and negotiation professionals, so the future looks pretty good.
But before I can be a part of that trend, that future; I get to go listen, learn, and if I am lucky, see their faces when they realize they are done.
When they understand and experience the incredible feelings about their accomplishment that words cannot truly convey. It promises to be a very special moment.
Don’t you think?