Getting that masters degree

I’m possibly six months away from getting that masters degree in applied linguistics. So far, it’s been good – GPA 4.o despite the fact that I procrastinate too damn much for assignments. I always get them in on time, though I’m sure I would do better if I would just start earlier.

This brings me to this post. I have two assignments due in four weeks. I know this. I can see the time ticking by. I can see me not doing anything. I can see this as if I’m floating above myself, watching me as I do nothing about the assignments every day. And the deadline draws near. One month is not that near, but I know that before I know it, it’ll be near enough. This time, however, I’m much more aware at an earlier time of how much I’m not doing things to do with my assignments. It’s like I’m actively trying not to do it. It’s not so much frustrating as it is amusing.

Today, I spent some time in the library, but only because I had to get to school early because, logistics. So I’m there half an hour, and I managed to sit my ass down and do something. Actually, that’s not correct. I managed to sit down and write something. These are all in my head already, you see. In my head, I’ve already worked out my plan on what research I’m going to do, how the assignment will be like, how I will angle the assignment, what I will say in which section of each assignment. I know these things. They are in my head.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? As long as the plans are not anywhere proof-worthy, it will be as if they do not exist. As long as I do not concretise them in some solid, tangible form, they do not exist-exist.

But I’m not concerned. I deliver. That’s the main thing. But I could deliver better. That’s the other thing. I’m always, mostly telling myself I could have done better, and yet I don’t actually actively seek to do it. Is this the smart kid syndrome? No, not the one to do with praise. The one to do with knowing you’re ok enough so you don’t have to put in much effort and still make the grade. I don’t know if I’m doing this. I think I am. I take responsibility for me not achieving what else I could have achieved.

It’s mostly a personal thing for me, I suppose. First, getting the masters isn’t going to help me in my job. Second, I don’t care about what people around me think. I signed up for this because I thought applied linguistics would be fun. That’s it. I would be in fact happy to just sit in for classes. In fact, I wanted to take more modules but they only let us take ten, even if I offered to pay for the extras. I feel my access to information restricted and am not happy. Why can’t they just let us go for extra modules? I’m not even asking for extra credit. I just want to learn more. MOARRRRRR, I say!

As if this were not challenging enough to get me to be on task, I’m thinking about signing up for a masters in Philosophy after this but that’s tougher to do because I have to write a 3000-word sample essay and I don’t know what I want to focus on yet. (Perhaps Stoicism.) I’ve been wondering if I actually need a masters in Philosophy to start my philosophy-based enterprise about life, the universe and everything, and if I can’t just pick the information up online, you know? But there’s much to be gained by talking to people who are more in the know, and learning from them. I read that it’s difficult to get into the course too, but I’d like to try.

I’m wondering if I’m turning into the sort that collects academic achievements just because she can, because it’s a mark of personal endeavour. And I usually come to the conclusion that, no, that’s not why I do it. I do it to learn. But I can learn on my own too. So why do I need that paper to tell me that I qualify? (I don’t. It’s just shiny and chrome.) I wonder if I do it to be part of a community. But the more I think about it, the more I don’t think that’s the reason. I have never been partial to being within a community; I’m happy on the outside looking in.

One thing is quite sure – I don’t think I’m headed for a Ph.D. The bling will indeed be nice, but I’m not looking for a position in the ivory towers of academia (which I heard has a lot of stabby-stabby competition), nor do I think that a Ph.D. is the only way to get that kind of knowledge, though part of me thinks that it is one way to force myself to get that knowledge because it gives me a timeline (and deadlines) to work with. I need deadlines, either self-enforced or other-enforced. They keep me going.

And that’s how I’m going to work with these two assignments. I have a final deadline, but I’m going to add mini-deadlines along the way. First up – get the introduction, literature review done by next week.

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