Wednesday, March 28, 2012

D is for Degrees.

Today, I got an email with some pretty happy news. I've been awarded my third (and by far coolest-sounding) degree: my Master of Science.

It was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. 2011, for me, was.. god, I don't even have the words. There were several days where I literally didn't think I would ever smile again. I cried out clumps of my eyelashes, twice. There were days when I genuinely considered dropping out of university because I knew, I knew I just couldn't do it. I lost more than I knew I had. I developed allergies to everything I ate. I lived off $40 a week.

Of course, there was also beauty, and joy, and happiness. There was love: old, and new. I kept up friendships. I created new friendships. I met a boy.

I also wrote a Masters thesis, went to classes, and treated the first four clients in of my career. The thesis was accepted, exams were passed, clients discharged.

I am proud.

I got my first degree in 2008: my Bachelor of Science. 'Proud' is the last word I'd use to describe that particular achievement. The three years leading to that were a mess of self-indulgence. I moved to Wellington to get into clinical, but I was selfish, and lazy, and entitled. I thought that, because I knew I was intelligent, it would just kind of radiate through my pores and into my grades. Example: for one essay, in first year, I not only simply started it the night before, but I fabricated every reference. I made up an American Indian tribe and their traditions around female puberty and I made up books that I'd read about it. I got an A. So I slept, and sexed, and drank. I moved in with a boy who I thought I might marry one day, then moved out again onto my friend's bedroom floor where I camped right through third-year exams (thanks always, Frank). I barely got a B+ average, and yet applied for Clinical, which requires an A- average. Because, you know, I was smart, so I was entitled.

Imagine my shock when I didn't get in.

My next degree came in 2009. Stunned into action by my clinical rejection, I enrolled in Honours (thank god for that barely-scraped B+ average). And, for the first time in my university career, possibly my entire education, I really and truly tried.

My Honours year is best summed up by the fact that I got a B for the 300-level Neuroscience paper, and, after begging entry to the paper despite the lacking prerequisite, an A+ for the 400-level paper.

The amount of caffeine in ingested should have killed me. The amount of alcohol I ingested should certainly have killed me: and almost did, once. The lack of sleep alone should have driven me slowly mad. But I got my first-class Honours degree. Then I got my clinical interview. Then I got my letter.

At the end of this year, all going to plan, I'll get my last degree: my postgraduate diploma in clinical psychology. I don't know yet what I'll see when I look back at that point: so far, this year has been many sorts of wonderful. It very much has the potential to be my favourite degree year of all.

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