So far, two of my friends have completed their Ph.D.s this school year. They are both wonderful people who have inspired me to stretch myself as an artist, student, and person. I am so grateful that I began at Flordia State University in 2019 because I had the opportunity to get to know the graduate students in my program before we shut down due to the pandemic. During the shutdown, walks around Lake Ella, sitting far apart outside and laughing, playing games online, all hour texting, comparing weird middle-of-the-night Etsy purchases, and having happy hour on Zoom were a few ways I continued to feel connected to the people in my program. With my husband working 10-hour shifts at the hospital, I found myself alone in our apartment, taking classes and reading theory, plays, and history that were new to me while also writing a master’s thesis. This was sometimes overwhelming, but I never felt alone.
I am often asked what it was like to get a master’s degree during the pandemic. Well, because of my wonderful group of grad friends, it was easier than one would expect. The night before my thesis defense (from my apartment, on Zoom), I walked through my entire presentation with one of my friends, who gave me her thoughts, many of which helped me shorten and reshape my presentation. When another began writing his dissertation, I was delighted to talk about it him. I began looking forward to muddling over a thought or two when he asked me about an idea. There are countless moments with all of my graduate school friends that have both held me up and shown me the way throughout my time at Florida State University. You will often hear me say I am held up by those who support me, I could these two doctors at two of those people.
Today, I am going to another friend’s thesis defense. I am delighted! It is such a wonderful thing to see them finish their time here. I can’t wait to see what they do next!