For the past several days, much of my time has been spent sitting in the recliner with the laptop computer open in my lap and I have been mumbling to myself. For once, talking to myself had a purpose. I was preparing for a presentation I had to make today. On April 30, I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology. Despite what the University president said at the ceremony, I had not quite completed all the requirements for my degree when I walked across that stage to receive my diploma. Due to extenuating circumstances, my topical research paper had not yet been turned in. The paper was not finished because I did not have all my data yet. My research relied on the results of the April TAKS test, which would not be in for a few weeks after graduation. So, even though I had an incomplete on my transcript, the university and my advisor were gracious enough to allow me to participate in the graduation ceremony. I am now the proud owner of a graduation gown with funny sleeves and a lovely blue and yellow hood.
A few weeks later, I finished the paper to get the incomplete removed from the transcript and received the official certificate saying that I had finished my degree. The truth is, however, that I still had not finished the research course. I still needed to present my research findings to the education department. I originally was scheduled to make that presentation on May 23. However, my data was still not in by then so we needed to postpone the presentation. The data arrived during summer vacation, and it just wouldn’t be feasible to try to get the education faculty together then.
As time went on, I started thinking my advisor had forgotten about my presentation. I really should have known better, as my advisor is very organized and this is not the type of thing that would just slip her mind. I had the PowerPoint presentation ready for when it was time to do the presentation, but really had put it all behind me. It had been months since I had done the project. Well, last Wednesday I received a call from my advisor asking if I would be able to make the presentation today at 2:00. So, I dug out my notes and started rehearsing. I made arrangements for a university student to babysit. I arrived at the university about 10 minutes early armed with my laptop, a thumb drive with the presentation on it, several pages of notes, and some refreshments. My advisor explained how to use the laser pointer and cordless mouse for the presentation projector, and then took care of a few things so I could get set up. 2:00 arrived and the faculty came in.
After my advisor made introductions, I began my presentation. I zipped through the presentation in about 25 minutes and didn’t consult my notes once. I was surprised at how calm I was during this time. Then, the floor was open for questions and comments. It went great. I was able to answer all their questions and they were very complimentary about the presentation and the research that I had done. They even told me about some research grant opportunties to consider. I walked out of there feeling like I was on top of the world.
On the way home, I thought about a question one of the teachers had asked me. She had asked if I missed teaching. I told her I did, but really feel like my place is at home right now. She agreed that I was doing the right thing. I arrived home to a very excited Emily. She, Timothy, and the babysitter were sitting on the living room floor having a tea party. Emily’s princess tea party set was arranged neatly in a circle. The babysitter’s plate was full of red monkeys from the barrel of monkeys game. They explained to me that she was having spaghetti. What fun! As I joined the tea party, I thought that this just reinforced what the teacher at Wayland and I had talked about. Right now, there is no place I would rather be than at home with my children. We have the best tea parties!
I walked across the graduation stage on April 30th and I received an official certificate of graduation on May 29th, but December 5th is really the day I finished my master’s degree. And it is so good to be done!