Last Thursday, at approximately 11:36 a.m. Pacific Time, I received the news that my master’s paper passed. Many of you know that it has been a long, hard road to get to this point. Many revisions of the paper, many sleepless nights. At one point I actually got stress hives.
But now I can relax this summer. You know, as relaxing as one can have while studying for a comprehensive exam (a nasty exam for PhD students). But I will not be teaching or researching over the summer, which means I can fish, study for the exam, and travel to the coast. How cool do I feel after finishing the masters? As cool as Ferris Bueller in Chicago: that’s how cool!!
I am diligently working on my masters paper on a Friday night. I have been transcribing interviews from my research today and making notes about themes that are starting to come up. There is certainly nothing glamorous or sexy about this kind of work.
It is very similar to the kind of mindset one needs to finish a marathon. Sure, people may see you cross the finish line in a marathon… but it is hard to appreciate all the work that went into training before the marathon. Sure, someone may see my final masters paper… but it will be hard for them to appreciate everything that went into its creation. Traveling to the Philippines, doing interviews, transcribing the interviews, analyzing the interviews, reading lots of literature, and writing the paper. Friday nights sacrificed… many nights sacrificed… in the hopes of finding something to improve healthcare.
I have been transcribing for approximately 5 hours, with a bathroom break and a pizza break. And now a blog break. But now, back to transcribing for at least another hour.
If people ask you if they should go to grad school, tell them NOOOOOOOOOOO!!
Today I met with my adviser for a little over an hour. I am always a little intimidated when I need to speak in depth with someone about my research on poverty and healthcare. It is not that I am afraid of my adviser, but I want to be a rock star when it comes to doing really good research.
After talking to my adviser, I felt like I did good research… but I need to focus on what does it mean? I did several interviews and observed a lot of things during my time in the Philippines. But … so what? Why does my research matter? What is my big discovery (or my small detail) that I can add to the piles of research that already exist?
I don’t know. And that is scary. I feel like I asked good questions… but did I ask enough in-depth questions? Did I ask enough any great questions? I am still in the process of transcribing my interviews… but I feel uncomfortable. Did I really spend five weeks in the Philippines during the controversial passage of a health bill and the country switching to Universal Healthcare, but not find something important?
Where is the big “research” question that my research will answer? My adviser did not appear worried (a good sign), but my adviser also did not summon a marching band to celebrate my triumphant success. Hopefully something emerges in my data analysis.This feeling sucks.