07 November 2013

{It's Been Real}

As many of you already know, at the beginning of the year I quit my cozy consultancy job to pursue a full-time Masters degree.  It was a difficult decision and Jurgen and I went back and forth on whether it was the right choice up until minutes before I had to offer the university my final commitment.  In addition to the financial implications, due to the fact that this degree is completed within a year, we were worried about the effect that it would have on my work-life balance and on our relationship in general.

{Some of my classmates on an earlier trip to Soweto}

This year has been tough.  Quite possibly the toughest in my 26 years of life thus far.  The transition from being able to comfortably make car payments back into a 'starving' student was quite an adjustment in and of itself.  But more than that, the sheer workload and intensity of the course content was inconceivable.  

Because of the emphasis on psychology in industrial psychology, we were intentionally picked apart this year, forced to examine our deepest beliefs and values down to their core, and then ever so slowly pieced back together again, new and amended versions of ourselves.  Our strengths were highlighted, right alongside our weaknesses and we had no choice but to openly acknowledge those parts of ourselves that had been tucked away in the comfort of denial for so many years.  

Yet somehow, we've all come out the other side for the better and the year has almost come to a close.  The forty-hour weekly class sessions have officially ended, and we've submitted close to sixty papers for thirteen modules, all the while chipping away at our dissertations.  Dozens of sleepless nights, several tearful breakdowns, and countless personal victories later, here we are in November, and it all seems kind of surreal.  

As I handed in my final assignments last week and walked out of my oral exam yesterday, I found it hard to believe that we're really nearing the end.  Just one little dissertation stands between myself and graduation.  As Jurgen and I celebrated over dinner last night, we agreed that this journey has both been more and less difficult than what we expected.  It was unbelievably hard, and yet we still somehow managed to make it work, all the while having some fun in the process.

That being said, I'm excited to transition back into normal working life again and will be starting my internship in January.  This year has definitely also had a huge impact on the attention that I've been able to devote to this blog and I'm looking forward to investing in my little piece of the internet again.

A tremendous thanks to all of you who have offered comments, emails, tweets and messages of support throughout the year and also to those who have continued reading despite frequent periods of radio silence on my side.  You're the best.

Masters... it's been real.