Ok, it’s a Tuesday. Sue me.
I’ve been occupied. I finished my Master’s degree last week and I didn’t know how to process it. I suppose I was satisfied with myself because writing my dissertation towards the end became extremely tiring and, quite frankly, boring. A lot of the time was spent on trying to fix small details and occasionally being overwhelmed with self-doubt.
“If I quit, will I get a refund?”
“No. That’s never been the case.”
“Are you sure?!”
“I’m certain – you can’t just get a refund from a course you’re 1 week away from finishing.”
I’ve been asking myself: What is the best thing I took from it?
Aside from the stress, self-doubt, hatred of misplaced commas and overdosing on Pringles, I didn’t know how to process the entire MA. The education was great in parts, and just fine in others. UCL is a nice enough university. London itself is pretty cool too.
The people I met and the relationships I got to experience was the best thing I took from the entire MA.
I often wonder whether that’s just me being overly sentimental or whether that speaks to some craving for attention I have but I’ve dismissed those as my thoughts trying to sabotage my happiness.
I asked the course director, James Wilson, his advice for doing as well as possible. He told us that the cohorts who seem to have done the best and enjoyed their time while doing it were those who had a good sense of community among them.
I seemed to take that to heart and so did everyone else.
We all became good friends incredibly quickly. Even though nearly everyone has moved away again (some across the world!), I’m unbelievably happy that I met all of them, learned from them and just had fun. I believe they all made me better as a person in some way or another.
To all the lovely people who were apart of the MA, thanks for existing. You’re never not being my friends because we’re in this forever.
To everyone else who just read that, I’m not weird,
I just like good people, I haven’t kidnapped any of them, I just want to stay friends, ok I can’t make that sound not weird. Maybe I shouldn’t have said it.
But I’m keeping it there. I love all of them.
My final dissertation was on illness, ignorance and the society of equals. The main aim was to show how ill people are treated unequally in society and how we might want to rectify that.
I will explain it in more detail in the future. In a more conversational tone. But I learned a lot about my relationship with my own disability (chronic pain). I’ll definitely write more about it in terms of relationships because it’s healthy for me to share my own experiences. After all, I never know who is struggling out there but doesn’t have the words, or confidence, to tell the world their experience.
There were many times when I worried that what I was attempting to argue for (structural ignorance of ill persons experiences) was too ambitious. I suppose I’ll find out when I get my mark back. But I’m glad I gave it a shot. It definitely stretched me intellectually. It invited me to think about what it means to be ill and live in a world with other ill and healthy people.
Illness is multilayered and the questions it invites are tough because they’re personal. One of my “favourites” is whether well-being is possible in illness. Not because I believe it isn’t. I believe it is.
So much of being ill is immensely difficult and it often feels suffocating (if not literally). Asking if it’s possible to live well with illness asks me whether it’s worthwhile trying when things can be so difficult.
And coming back to my friends, it gave me a stronger reason to appreciate that I have them. So I want to become a better friend and rekindle friendships that I’ve let fall to the wayside. That is, of course, if I’m invited back in.
Sorry this has been all over the place. You can probably tell I still have no idea how to think about the past or what to do about the future. Perhaps I don’t need to think much about it.
It’s all been interesting but now a break from academia is calling.
I don’t know what’s ahead of me but that’s OK I suppose. I’ll figure it out eventually.
As always, thank you for reading!