It's the end of an era. Literally.
Shortly after noon today, I submitted my very last final project for graduate school.
It's such a weird feeling. I'm done. With a Master's degree. But it hasn't fully sunk in yet. It will. Probably this weekend when I walk across that stage and receive my fake diploma, shake some important people's hands, and get my picture taken multiple times.
I run in two polar opposite circles these days. On the one hand, it's very much expected that grad school is normal.... like it's very natural that I went on to graduate school right out of undergrad... and in a way, I feel like a quitter for not going on to get my Ph.D, or another master's degree, or... something.
On the other hand, it's a huge deal that I'm receiving my Master's, much less right after college. Being in the academic bubble for so long, I'd honestly forgotten what an accomplishment this is, because well..... it's what I've always expected from myself. I mean, I've been talking about getting a Master's degree since before college started.
And this past week, as I've completed 20 years of formal, fairly rigorous education, I've been so incredibly thankful for those who reminded me that yes, this is a Master's degree, and yes, this is really impressive.
It's been a long road these past two and a half years. Full of tears, anxiety, confusion, exhilaration, purpose, and questioning. Add in all those personal life changes, and it's been quite a ride.
Landing my first post-college, rock-your-socks-off-awesome, career-related job.
Quitting that fantastic job (and the heartbreak to go along with it).
Moving to a different city.
Meeting new people. Finding my place in the adult world.
Adjusting to my husband's somewhat public-eye career.
Community volunteering. Fieldwork. Comprehensive Exams.
And all those little things in-between.
But you know what? Now that I'm through, and stepping out of academia into the working world, it's been worth it. The memories and experiences, good and bad, have all helped shape me into the librarian I am today.
The librarian that will continue to encourage people to research, study, be the best scholars they can be.
The librarian who will still not-so-secretly nerd out about cataloging and metadata.
The librarian who will continue to connect people with the vast world of information and help them navigate it.
But really, I'll still be in academia. Because home is home, no matter where I am or what I'm doing.