Friday, April 6, 2012

The Ending of a Graduate Student Jorney; Part I

The University of Sheffield's Master of Arts
in World Music Studies, class of 2012 complete
with students faculty and staff. 

I don't know how public I have made this (especially on this blog), but as of the writing of this entry I am a student through the University of Sheffield's Master of Arts in World Music Studies Programme. Actually, to speak literally, as of writing this I have just completed my final residential on the campus here in Sheffield and am preparing to return to Oregon where I will be completing the writing of my dissertation. Currently, I am seated in a train-station lounge waiting to take a trip to London where I will meet with some dear and helpful people at the Raj Academy school of Sikh and Indian music. 

My journey through an advanced degree followed (in some ways) the typical course for so many students. What I mean to say is; that plans were laid out during undergraduate work to study beyond the bachelor level with the hopes of entering higher education as a career. While I have proceeded to accomplish some of this during the course of adulthood - I can't help but feel as though I am a million miles from where I expected. My life, took so many twists while I was in my 20's that when I look back on the whole ordeal, I find it astounding that I should end up here. 

In the UK, this programme which I am on the verge of completing is officially a distance-learning module. In the US, we would refer to it as "low-residency" as the students are required to attend the physical campus twice a year where they engage in workshops, lectures and presentations. The final residental ended for my class just yesterday on Apr 5, 2012 and while I am quite anxious to get home to my family I must admit that I have grown close to my colleagues involved in the WMS course. 

My purpose for writing this is that it might be of some use to people in similar situations as the one in which  I found myself. Namely, being an adult student in a graduate program when so many young academics are going straight through to terminal degrees, without ever entering the workforce before their PhD. When one is in this situation, it becomes very easy to feel as though the world has passed you by. I am not yet in a position to state whether or not this is the case, I can only reflect on my own current and past predicaments. 

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