Final Goodbye & Research Thesis!

Hi and welcome back to another week! I hope everyone is staying warm and feeling excited about the holiday season. As I come to the end of my thesis journey I write my final goodbyes to all my readers! I hope you experienced the joys and obstacles of this writing process as I did! Writing during a pandemic was challenging not only with my academic life but my personal life as well. Thankfully if you are reading this we survived a pandemic, political warfare, and other craziness happening in our world right now. I thank you for coming back every week!

I present to you my graduate research thesis. Please click the image below to read!

Reflections

I cannot believe that the end of the semester is coming down to a close.  It feels as though I blinked and now poof!  Here we are wrapping up with just over a week to go.  As I look back and reflect on my MA journey to this point, the ending of this semester is going to be bittersweet due to the natural progression of life.  For all of those who are finishing and will be finishing their work in this program this semester, I am so happy for each of you and am proud to call each of you a colleague and friend.  Selfishly, I wish you all had one more semester so that it lined up with the end of my journey in this program, but at the same time, I look forward to checking in with all of you to see how the next step in your lives is developing.  For those who will be crossing the finish line with me next semester, we got this!  Just need to grind out one more semester and we will be exactly where we envisioned ourselves when we applied to this program in the first place.  

As far as my own personal reflection, balancing work and school has been killing me and I cannot wait to have a slight break in the action.  I have been working on applications to 5 PhD programs in writing, rhetoric, and composition, so adding that to the mix makes me even more on edge and stressed (don’t worry Dr. Zamora, the information you asked for is coming shortly!)  That has always been my goal from the time I entered this program, so for that process to be in full swing has certainly been intimidating, but it is one I am also cautiously excited to see how it all pans out.  

Finally, let me talk a little bit about my project.  Wow.  Just wow.  How far this work has come for me since last semester is really wild to me.  What was initially an idea for short outline of an episode of “Black Mirror” has morphed into a potential, real screenplay.  It is certainly intimidating and I am sure I will need plenty of guidance and assurance down the final stretch, but I am ready and excited to enter that phase.  Not I finish up with the work I am doing this semester, of course!

One week left guys, one week left.  We got this.  See you tonight! 

In Darkness, There is Light…

Google images. Dec. 9, 2020

Last week’s class was magical, starting with Mary-Kate’s radiant smile while she was holding her baby Kelli/Kelly Rose with beautiful Christmas bow sleeping soundly in her mom’s arms. Then Darline with her radiant smile announcing her engagement to her finance in the laundromat! Cheers to Medea, Meagan, and Patricia for graduating this year! I will miss you three ladies in my classes next year, and I want to thank you being so supportive, so positive, and so encouraging. I love Dr. Zamora’s pearl: “They will not be your classmates anymore, but they will always be your friend.”

Today in class, my students and I were discussing whether we should have snow days. Then, it started snowing around 11 AM. We were in awe, especially since last year, we did not get any snow. We bonded at that moment. Yes, human bonding and human connections are so important during remote learning! It is not using JamBoard, Screencastify, Padlet, Flipgrid, so forth; it is about the special moments that connect individuals.

In my graduate cohort, I am grateful to have such a supportive teacher in Dr. Zamora and to have such genuine peers from different walks of life, whom I may not have ever met. In hindsight, I made the right decision by pursuing my Master’s degree at Kean University. I cannot wait to finish this semester and start my final semester. It has been a long journey, and I am delighted that I now have time to focus on my interests. My children always came first in my life. Their schedules and interests came before my own career. I made decisions in their best interest and delayed pursuing an advanced degree since it would have distracted me from raising my three children. I have seen my mother sacrificing her three children for her career, and I vowed to myself that I would not follow in her footsteps. Now, it is time for me to pursue my dreams.

When Dr. Zamora informed us in the beginning of the year that the Master’s Thesis is more or a Passion Project, I was pleasantly surprised. I was giving the gift of intellectual freedom. As the semester progressed, I was moved by my peers’ passion projects and by how this Master’s Thesis is transformative in the intellectual as well as the emotional sense. It was more than a dead document sitting on a dusty shelf; it was a soul’s repressed memories, tears, fears, and hopes. That is why Dr. Zamora’s class is such a special place that touches the mind as well as the heart.

Dr. Zamora, your class has given confidence in my abilities and courage to pursue my passion. I am excited to embark on the next chapter in my life story where the children are grown, and now I can focus on myself. It is quite liberating, then I think of Fatima and her children. I empathize with Fatima since I see myself in her. A devoted mother trying to raise her brood while trying to write poetry. Writing is such a luxury, especially for a working mother. As I furiously type away, I feel selfish. I should be cleaning the house, washing the clothes, and preparing dinner instead of typing my heart away, poring my feelings onto this blank sheet. This sense of guilt as pervades my thought as I continue to write and to muse on the future.

Recently, I signed up for a LSAT course starting this Friday, and I started studying for my exam. I am planning to take the April exam. I very excited for tomorrow Friday as I await to meet my new teacher and my new classmates, but I know that I will never experience the bonding that I have experienced in this very special graduate school cohort with Patricia, Meagan, Medea, Nives, Dillion, Kevin, and Ryan led by such an inspirational instructor, Dr. Zamora.

Wrapping Up, Not a Present

As we begin to get wrapped up in the holidays, it is hard to believe that we are here, wrapping up the semester. For some of you, this is it. You have reached the end of the program and it has been an honor learning along the side of you and getting to know you. As I always have said, it is not goodbye! We have all made connections and crossed paths for a reason. Each of our networks have grown. I will always be a phone call, text or email away. For those that are done, I hope to see you this spring as we celebrate our achievement at graduation.

Last week I had the opportunity to share my in-progress thesis work with my peers. I truly appreciate everyone’s feedback and taking the time to listen to me. There are great things to come with this work and I’m excited to see how next semester unfolds in continuing this journey.

In my final thought for the semester, I leave you with this. “I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace.” Helen Keller

I DID IT!

It feels surreal to be writing this last blog post.

As I sit down to write this, drinking out of my Mom coffee mug, with the baby monitor next to me, watching my daughter sleep, I cannot help but feel all the feels.

I started this journey about five years ago. Five years ago I was a pretty new teacher, freaking out about the fact that I didn’t have a summer job. I was living with two of my girlfriends at the time, one of whom was also a teacher, with a steady and pretty sweet tutoring gig in the summers. I felt like I HAD to get a job. But I also felt stuck. I was finishing up my first full year of teaching (I had started mid year the year before) and felt mentally exhausted. I had spent so much of my energy on lesson plans and worrying about my students, on top of the pressure to find a summer job, that I wasn’t focused on me. I was so focused on things I HAD to do, instead of things I WANTED to do.

I have always been a writer. I would write spells (I was obsessed with “Charmed” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”). I would write poems. I would write apology letters to my dad whenever we got into a fight. And I would journal. A lot. Every vacation we went on started out with my mom taking me and my best friend, who came on every trip with us, to the dollar store to buy new notebooks. The entire car ride, and every night before bed, Caitlyn, the friend, and I would write about our day. Sometimes I would write stories.

So five years ago when I felt mentally exhausted from teaching and adulting, I thought about what I wanted to do for myself and started looking into writing programs. While I hoped that I would learn useful things to implement in my classroom, going back to school was more for me. I love being a student and wanted someone to teach me for a change.

I will never forget bringing my boyfriend (who’s now my husband) to Kean’s open house. We met with Dr. Zamora and both left feeling so excited. Me, excited for this new opportunity, and Rob, excited for me! He took a picture of me in front of the Kean sign that day, and I remember him saying that when I graduate, we’ll probably be married! And now here we are, married two and half years, and parents to the most beautiful baby girl.

I cannot believe how much has changed since that day at orientation, and how much I have grown. Looking back, I was basically just starting my adult life. Looking back, I realize how damn proud I am that I choose to do something for myself. I think that it’s so important to always do the things that make you happy, because in order to be happy in other areas of my life, I first have to be happy with myself. This journey makes me happy.

I came in to this program in the throws of my OCD. I remember how anxious I would get walking to and from class. I remember the rituals, and the tapping, and the pacing I would do and how I tried to hide them. But I also came into this program knowing it would help me. I knew that I wanted to write a novel about OCD, and while the plot and structure of the novel has evolved, the main intent is still the same: to help people, while helping myself.

I cannot thank Dr. Zamora, and the professors I’ve had along the way, enough. Your support and encouragement and understanding made this thesis possible for me. I cannot wait to continue the story and hopefully publish it one day! I am so proud of all that I have accomplished throughout this program, and can’t wait to see what comes next!

Thesis Project 2020-12-10 15:35:39

Another semester is coming to a close. First I would like to offer my congratulations to all of my peers! MaryKate has given birth to a beautiful babygirl and she is finishing her graduate journey! Darline has gotten engaged and she is also finishing her graduate studies! Meagan, Medea, Karel and Patricia are also finishing this semester and I could not be more excited, happy and proud of them! I will miss you all so much! To the rest of my cohort that will be finishing in the Spring with me, congratulations on making it through the first semester of our thesis work and cheers to us making it through next semester! It has been great learning beside all of you and I wish you all the best of luck on whatever comes next in your lives.

As for me, I am wrapping up my thesis proposal and still working on my project. I made a goal to make it halfway through my project by the end of the semester and I am so proud of the work I’ve done so far. I know I still have more to do but I am so ready for break to begin next week, I cannot wait. I hope you all have a great break and get some well deserved rest.

Sneak Peak ( blog post 14)

Hi and welcome back to another week! Thank you so much for stopping by. As a treat, I’ve put together all the parts of my research project and created a view-only copy for you to see. This is only the draft of my report, I plan to complete the final pages and revise the document this weekend. Please take a look at it below and I look forward to your suggestions in class!

Some Final Thoughts

This semester definitely ended up being a challenge. I can’t really put my finger on it but this semester, more than the other two, put me in the hot seat. I think between this class and the Children’s Lit class I just felt constantly at odds with myself because it was two very different, but very difficult assignments the likes of which I found myself at times unable to handle. Of course, these moments proved temporary because with the support of the people in the program I got through it. I’m still working but I always find that the more I have to go on the more confidently I can feel stuck at times but still say “well, I know what I have so far and I know the rest will come to me in time.”

I’ve been trying to reflect, not ruminate, but reflect, since last week. In the breakout room I was talking to Emily about how my biggest fear for my thesis will be that when it all wraps up, I won’t feel content either with the answer that I have for myself or that ultimately I won’t find an answer. The answer I suppose being to the question of where I fit into the world as a writer. I guess any one of us should be prepared to have to continue that search, but this is one of the first times that I’m seriously investigating that bit of business for myself and the fear of not knowing despite the search is very different to the anxiety of not knowing because I never tried to understand it. But as I said in my presentation, the darkness of not knowing needs to be met with the light of truth slowly, with temperance, otherwise no matter what I find I will be blinded by it.

I can’t figure out if I feel like this semester went by very quickly or very slowly. Obviously now, sitting here, I’m looking back on the semester past so relatively it feels like it’s already gone, but there were moments of struggle for me that made things feel like they weren’t moving for me at all. We all need to be challenged, otherwise I don’t think a program like this would do well for us. I’m glad that I have the people in this program to help me through the challenging moments, because without them I’m not sure I could always make it through.

Final Reflection

Hello all! I decided to blog again. I think our unique class warrants one more reflection from me. The talent in our room is astounding. I learned from each and every one of you fantastic people. I was always eager to hear about your projects and many of your presentations led me to make changes in my methodology. I learned to free write more to generate ideas, categorize my thesis themes and color code. These were very important and beneficial aspects of my process.

What cannot be duplicated (ever) is the experience in the classroom every Thursday night. Even though we were remote, I felt everyone’s energy and was so appreciative of the time that we spent together. I will say it again: you are all so talented. And Dr. Zamora, you’re a gem. I just do not want to exit. So I will do the respectable thing and not think about it (Scarlett O’Hara said she’d think of things tomorrow…Good philosophy). I sincerely wish all of you much health, success and prosperity. I have faith that we will meet again in person! Be well! Best, Medea.

Tying Loose Ends

This week’s blog will officially be my last thesis progress blog for my time within the MA in English Writing Studies Program. This week is dedicated to finishing everything on the below checklists, which I am almost done with. My final submission for my thesis project will be submitted in the form of a website, that will host all of the artifacts of my project. I will be publishing and submitting the site by the beginning of next week, so be on the look out for it!