Tuesday, April 15, 2008

the end of an era

i'm currently sitting in staples (actually in their office chair section), taking advantage of their free wifi while i do one of the hardest things i've done in a long time. i'm letting go of my thesis, after more than a year of nurturing, and trusting it to the hands of complete strangers.

in short, i'm waiting, as i have been for the past three hours, for ten copies of my thesis to be printed on archival paper so i can hand it to the dean's office and never touch it again.

pepperdine is weird and makes you print all that yourself at a copy center, then they'll do the binding in their ugly-as-sin green cloth cover with gold embossing. so, as anyone who has every printed anything ever likely knows, something is very likely to go wrong with the margins/footnotes/page breaks. this has required me to go behind the counter at staples and check these things (and make changes on the spot), which always makes me nervous, but.

after a minor footnote emergency (where i actually had to call the school saying "I HAVE A MINOR FOOTNOTE EMERGENCY!"), changing all my table of content page numbers, and adding a "dr." to one of my advisor's names in the acknowledgments (even if she doesn't often use the title, she still has it, so i'd better hedge my bets, right?), i'm...trying really hard to just let it go.

seriously, i have an unbelievable problem with perfectionism. even though i've proofed this thesis multiple times, at every stage of the process, i don't trust myself. my advisor has proofed it, i've hired a professional proofreader to proof it, my mom's proofed it, my dad and ian have both read it critically, the dean's reader has proofed it, and now the dean himself has proofed it...even so, i still really, really, really wanted to proof it one last time. of course, at this point, proofing it again would actually be a waste of my time and, most importantly, more likely to introduce error, as i was kindly reminded by a fellow crazy person who understands the way my mind works. finally, it would be unethical to change anything now, since the dean signed off on what he was given. so, i made the choice to NOT proof it one last time...which is, for me, a really, really big step.

of course, i'm still neurotically waiting here while they do the printing to make sure they don't mess anything up. but...i'm trying to let go of my demons, in a sort of last effort before i'm done. this is seriously hard for me, so...any support is appreciated. ;)

i feel pretty odd right now. this is the conclusion of my ninth consecutive year of college, with never anything below an A, anywhere, and (i'm pretty sure) classes every single summer as well. i've...never really stopped, and this perfectionism has dogged me through all of it. yesterday was hard, because i turned in a 30-page paper (posted here, as some of you saw), which was the last thing i may ever write for a class, ever. i feel pretty bad about that, since i wrote it from start to finish in under 48 hours, but. eh. it was okay, and i'm just being overly critical because i'm used to the thesis, which was super clean. i have to remind myself that before the thesis i never ever did any rewrites of anything, and i still got good grades.

i guess i just feel like a mess. i have NOTHING left to do. i turn this in at the dean's office tomorrow, and then leisurely read for a week to remind myself all the things i already know for an oral exam (which is worth about a third of what that paper was worth; i'm not too worried). so i'm restless, and trying to pick up the slack by starting to pack things up, do all my laundry, and catch up on all the things i want to do. in the midst of all of this, though...i felt the need to vent, and make a public note of the fact that, as of right now, i'm really letting go of a side of my life that has dictated almost everything i've done for nearly 10 years.

i currently have no plans for doctoral work, although there are one or two options that, if things fall into place, might tempt me back into academia. i'll keep mum on those for now, but pester me if you're so inclined. :) instead, i'll likely start working within a month or two of graduation, learning what it's like to have an actual income, and finally doing all those things i told myself i'd do.

i want to get really good at west coast swing, start dancing hip hop, learn violin, study french and refresh my italian and spanish (maybe german too), get better at singing, practice piano again, maybe try pole dancing (i will defend that it is a legit dance form, not some weird exhibitionist thing...it's an amazing workout that's a combination of dance and rock climbing, which i love, so don't judge). i want to get a digital slr camera and take photography more seriously. i need to look into continuing teaching ballroom. i have...a million options available to me. i should be excited, and i am...but it's also weird.

the weirdest thing is that i'll always say "i got my master's from pepperdine" with a bit of sadness in my voice, and a rushed follow-up: "but i did my undergrad at stanford!" i know, maybe it's elitist and horrible from me, but i LOVED stanford and everything it stands for. i was proud of what i did there and who i met. i've done good things at pepperdine, but i don't believe in a lot of what it represents, and i don't think the division was particularly wonderful. it isn't as intellectually stimulating, psychologically rewarding, or objectively prestigious as stanford...it just isn't ME. so, that's always going to be a bit hard to swallow. but i'm very grateful that pepperdine gave me the opportunity to get an MA at no cost to me, they let me figure out my life in terms of coaching, and they were responsible for informing me about the british tour. so, i'll be thankful for that.

i know this whole thing is rambling, and won't be insightful to many people other than me. i just needed to get it out there. better post later, i promise.

for now, think of this amusing image.

i am wearing this backpack:

with this iphone case:

sitting in this chair:

(hard to see, but it's also black with the same bright red vinyl, black mesh, and silver highlights)
with a matching wallet, too.

if i were only wearing these pants:

i would officially be a superhero.

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