Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What an Amazing Day!

Yesterday may have just been one of the greatest days of my life so far.  I had a lot to accomplish when I woke up and I didn't exactly know how things would go because I had a list of people I needed to talk to, with a list of requests for each.  All of what I needed was related to school and getting things sorted out over my thesis and graduation. Because I didn't pass my French test last semester, I couldn't apply for graduation or turn in the proper forms.  Because I worked at the Museum while I was going to school, I took things very slow in my academic career.  I wanted to make sure I did well at both school and work, so I didn't overload myself.  Well, this put me behind and now I'm going to have to petition for an extra semester in order to have the time I need to write and defend my thesis.

I don't know exactly what is going to happen, but I'm proceeding in my work as if I'm going to get the extension so that I don't waste any time.  I want to graduate so badly and I want the experience of writing this thesis.  This is what I've been working toward!

So what went well yesterday?

1. With the help of OU School of Art and Art History faculty, I sorted out all of the steps I need to take and the paperwork I need to fill out.  Sometimes that can be as confusing as figuring out how to approach a topic of a paper. I was so grateful for the guidance!

2. I settled on a thesis topic! This was a big deal because I have been going back and forth all summer, trying to decide what I wanted to do most.  I had said that I wanted to write about the image of women and bicycles in late 19th century art, but I've also had another topic in the running.  I really want to study portrait miniatures of the 18th century, especially those that were given as gifts around the Georgia area.  I've realized that the confidence I gained this summer came in handy for making the decision to go with what I'm really passionate about (the portrait miniatures) vs. going with what I thought would be a sexy topic.

I just feel that in the long run, my love of eighteenth century art, Savannah, GA, gifts that were given between people who loved each other, etc. will carry me through all of the hard work and research it will take to make a great thesis.  Plus I'll get to travel to some wonderful places to do that research! When I told dad about it (I gave my mom and dad reports of my good news throughout the day, haha!) he said, "It sounds like you'll need to do some traveling."  Woooooohooooo for a mom and dad that not only supports you in your education and the chasing of dreams, but one who also understands what it takes to do so.  Again...grateful!

3. I met with my thesis advisor and he was not only excited about me passing my French test, but also my choice of thesis topic.  He gave me some great advice and we made a plan for how to proceed.  I can't wait to get started today on my research and I'm really looking forward to working with Kenneth on everything.  I know I'm going to learn so much!

4. I found my third and last Master's Thesis Committee member! It's formed! Now all I have to do is get the signatures and turn in the paper work and I can't tell you how excited I am about my committee.  They are all people that I admire and respect for their knowledge, but also their teaching style.  They are kind and patient people who want nothing but to see me succeed and that was evident when I was taking their classes.  I know they will all challenge me and I want and need that! But I also know that they will be rooting for me, so I can't wait to work with all of them.

5. I heard from someone who told me he would support me in this whole process of petitioning the grad college for the extra semester and I told him that no matter the outcome, I was grateful for the support. And I am.  This person doesn't have to help, so I'm not only thankful for it, I'm honored. And I was really excited when he congratulated me on the French test.  It's almost like when my dad says, "Candy Corn," to tell me he's proud of me.  (I'll explain that at a later date.)

6.  I went to yoga for the first time in a while and it felt so good to sweat! I also got up and took a long walk early yesterday morning.  It feels good to move! I knew that yesterday could have potentially been stressful, so I tried to do what I could to ensure a good state of mind and exercise really helps with that.  Plus my great friend Preston joined me at yoga and it's always good to see P. :)

7.  After yoga, we met my friend Netha at the Library (the fun one) to eat and have some cocktails.  I'm so glad that Netha is back.  She's been gone all summer, doing research and an internship, so I hadn't seen her until last week.  There is something about the friendships of people who are going through the same thing at the same time (grad school).  We understand each other and our neurosis. Haha! Seriously though, I know that Netha and I will be lifelong friends and it was awesome to celebrate such a great day with her and with Preston.

8. After dinner, I went to Patrick and Phillip's for Top Chef night and to share my good news.  They were nothing but supportive and excited for me and it was, as usual, a lovely time.  My friend Courtney was also there and she's a kindred positive spirit so when we were telling each other about the things we were grateful for, the energy seemed to explode in that room.  She's getting ready to take off on an adventure of her own and I couldn't be happier for her!

I'm finding that your attitude is what can make or break your day.  I don't know exactly what is going to happen with graduation, but I know that if I'm working as hard as I can to reach my goals, I can be proud of myself.  And all I kept finding along the way was encouragement, open doors, people saying either "Yes" or "I'll do what I can to help." So I have a good feeling about the way things are going to go.  I'm "cautiously optimistic," as one advisor told me to be.

How can all of that encouragement and support make for anything but an awesome day? I may just be the luckiest girl on the planet.  Happy day!

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