Today I graduated from my Post Grad Diploma in Arts.
Let me tell you about this degree.
Originally I started it in 2009. I had just failed my final placement and I was at a loose end. I thought I’d do a post grad certificate to keep me busy.
And, in 2011 I started my Master of Arts (Coursework), which I didn’t finish. The great course options ran out, and by time 2013 rolled around I was out of puff. I then had another post grad certificate, but not a diploma because my uni wouldn’t accept my previous study.
My writing became contained to blogs, a journalism internship and journals. I felt like I had told all of my stories — I had sorted out broken hearts and friendship squabbles through short fiction. Once I had told all of my stories, what did I have left?
In 2015 Natalie was born, and that changed everything. I decided to finish my Masters. I spent those sleepless nights scrolling through all of options I could find. And, eventually, I decided that I should just go back to Tabor and do it. I wanted to write a Girl Guides history book which would be my thesis. I was set, until I discovered two things:
- I didn’t have the academic background to write a thesis about history. I’d never studied history at a tertiary level either.
- Two grad certs did not a grad diploma make. Even if it did, I’d have to do some bridging… bah. In the end the decision was made for me. I’d complete two subjects and then could have entry into Master of Creative Writing — but only if I maintained a Distinction average.
So last year I studied one subject a semester. I drove around listening to lectures in my car, and wrote stories and essays while Natalie slept or played. Honestly, it was the hardest I’ve ever worked while at uni. I had spent my undergrad pulling late nights (or all nighters) and because I was a good writer I could usually get away with it. I wrote and rewroted and edited until I I had probably overdone it. My hard work played off because today I graduated, and now I’m working towards finishing a topic on research methods and then I can start my thesis (okay, yeah, there’s a few more steps there but I’ll be brief).
Having a baby has really made me pull my head in.
I wanted to finish what I started, and I also wanted to change careers. I wanted the self esteem that comes with academic rigor and I wanted to do something for me.
I’ll be honest. I don’t know where this goes, this Masters program. I have joked a little about doing a PhD, but it’s really only a half a joke. At the end I will have a novel, and I will have grounded it in solid research, and maybe someone can learn from my contribution.
Another thing though. I’m not just writing for me anymore. My stories have been told, and now it’s time to tell the stories of the people in my novel outlines and my works in progress. They are always stories of romance, because romance is one of the best things in the world, after Milo and sunsets. As for my Girl Guide history book, the idea is still lingering, but I intend for it to be more a virtual project, and I’ll write more about it when my project has been approved.
So, to everyone who reads my little Medium posts, thanks for sticking by me.