I Think I Know What I’ll Call My Novel

I had to reflect on my master’s program: 

“Well, it’s fitting that as the end is nigh, I would become ill. Nothing serious, but I think my immune system fought long and hard this summer and it finally failed me this past week. 

As I try to be, and as I’ve tried to be more as of late, I’m going to be frank in my reflections. But you can still call me Nina.

I’ll also make really shitty jokes.

I think it’s immeasurable – how much I’ve learned. Media psychology… I think it’s incredibly timely and will be; I think it’s so important because it’s in our faces every minute of every day; it has opened up new passions for me (thinking about getting a MAPP once I’ve recovered from this program); I’m just glad I found it. I still look back on that fateful night at work, talking to a coworker about going back to school but not knowing what the hell to study; begrudgingly deciding on general psychology, since I couldn’t think of a particular direction. I can’t even remember what I searched for exactly that landed me on Dr Rutledge’s article. It may have been the awful flourescents, but there was definitely a light shining down from the heavens as I dove into some frantic, excited Google searches. By the end of the night, I had an email chain with Dr Rutledge herself and an MSPP application half-filled out. I had a direction. So obvious, it was. A marriage of my passion/unquenchable thirst for film/television/media and my passion/interest in psychology. This was going to be perfect.
Turned out to be HARD AS HELL. In truth, for about the first half of the program, I was very cocky – getting by on raw talent like I always had before; struggling with writing academically, I’ll plainly admit, but still not asking for help. Clearly, I must have thought that I’d get by without it. Writing academically isn’t my style. It’s stiff and unfeeling and it’s not me and it’s not the way I talk. It’s literally pulling teeth to write that way and I’d rather have teeth pulled than write that way. But I have to. It sucks. I hate it. I can’t fully embrace it. I don’t know if I’m just incapable or strictly resistant. I never want to do it again. I hate having to cite every single thing I say. I feel like I need to put (Weather.com, 2013) after saying “the sun is out today.” Once this twenty-odd-page paper is finished, I’ll throw up and go have a drink and then probably too many and then throw up all over again. 
I’m afraid of it because I’m not good at it. I’m afraid of it because it’s different than what I’m used to. 

Besides the many weaknesses I’ve discovered of myself along the way, I’ve discovered my resilience, also. Either that or I’ve just strengthened my stubbornness, but whatever. For example, I got a C in one of my classes and didn’t know that was a failing grade. Obviously, I glossed over that part of any syllabus. After the procedural drama, I had the option of taking the class as an independent study either at the end of the program or on top of the program. It was never an option to me to take it at the end of the program. Even if it would be a pain in the ass to do two things at once. It was my fault I was in that position, so I couldn’t complain about the consequences too much. I surprised myself by coming back and getting an A on just about everything since then. (Maybe not every single thing, but just about). I’ve never been one of those students who has to get an A. I am just fine with mediocre grades. Unfortunately, I learned the difficult way that  mediocre is failing in a master’s program. But hey, I made it here. Just have to rewrite my comp final and then do the capstone project. Oh, and the online portfolio. Yeah. See, I’m no stranger to failing, nor am I ashamed of it. That’s what the underdog does. In the hero narrative. (Can I get a “well played”?) 

I wanted to do the online master’s program because A: I didn’t want to move, B: I’m so lazy about physically going to class, and C: I absolutely abhor group discussions and group activities in class. When I read that very first syllabus, I just had to laugh. So. I’m stuck in a perpetual group activity with five strangers and they’re all way more accomplished than I am and I’m going to have to ‘discuss’ shit with them EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I mean, with my language? Sonovabitch.
What’s funny is that I honestly can’t remember anything up until we met at Dirk’s before graduation. I remember reading some things and thinking, wow, they’re really fucking smart. I couldn’t even match the level of replies I was getting. I felt like all I could say was, ‘I love that! Awesome idea!’ In other words, no real, constructive feedback at all. Then again, I hate peer reviews also, because I figure that I’m not going to change my writing based on a peer’s opinion of it, so why would anyone else? Now I’m getting into something else entirely, but I don’t know, I’m just rambling and I’m a horrible student, let’s be honest. Anyway, the days leading up to Boston. I’m chatting to Brett on FB, going, are you bringing your parents? Because I’m probably bringing mine.. I mean, I’d hate to get into Boston, check them into the hotel and then bugger off to this party and just leave them. We agreed we would bring our parents. Dirk said bring whoever. So we’d be the interns bringing our folks to the company Christmas party. At least we’d go down together. (In re-reading that, it sounds too harsh, but I’ll leave it, because I don’t mean it harshly. I wasn’t ashamed to bring my family, and I really wanted them to meet my classmates. I just felt like it kept me on that level of being the runt playing with the big kids. And as it turns out, I was just being a judgemental ass). 
I get to Dirk’s place with my family and we ended up walking in right behind Debbie. Right away she recognized me and gave me a hug and welcomed me into Dirk’s house. I immediately relaxed. Then we walked out back to where everyone else was. As soon as I rounded the corner, Kim jumped up and gave me a hug. Oh thank God, I thought; this is like seeing people I’ve known for years. Then I got to meet Dirk and Brett and everyone’s family. We had such an awesome night. Then Matthias showed up and everything was really complete. It’s absolutely incredible how quickly we fell into a rhythm – yeah, we’d been talking online for months with school-related stuff, but now we were friends over being classmates. 
Gents first:
Dirk is entirely too intelligent and on top of things for my liking. Makes me look even worse. He’s sarcastic and hilarious and I’ll always be so thankful for him hosting that pre-graduation party, because that changed everything for me.
Brett is also too intelligent and on top of things. He’s been there to answer my panicky questions and for some reason, I believe him when he says that I’ll get it done. I have really enjoyed his focus on video games throughout this whole process. 
Matthias has like five hundred scholastic degrees and the cutest German family in the world. Might just be the nicest, most unassuming person I’ve ever met and I think my mom has a slight crush on him (she seriously just mentioned him the other day). 

Debbie has been like my cheerleader and mood-booster. She’s always supportive and plays to my ego, telling me I’m kicking ass and that I’m an inspiration and I totally have a chance with Benedict Cumberbatch. Okay, I’m lying about that last bit, but I’m sure she’d say it if she knew it’s what I needed to hear. She’s got that story-telling/rambling gene that I’ve got, also 😉
Kim has put up with the most shit from me throughout this program. Neurotic texts about assignments or grades, endless clarification questions, taking the piss about her Bahstahn cah pahked down by Hahvahd Yahd. She always takes time out of her hectic life to tell me to calm down and breathe. 

All of my colleagues are so above my level, out of my league, insanely intimidating, professional, academic, driven, knows what they’re doing, etc – essentially everything I’m not. I’m not being self-depricating to be depressed, it’s just the way it is. I can’t believe I’ve gotten to this point, but I know why I have – it’s them. If it weren’t for Dirk’s party – really being able to build that camaraderie – who knows, really.”

 

So I post my reflection and then read everyone else’s – seems like no one else could be arsed to write a goddamn memoir like I did. Story of my life. I mean, really, when I get the green light to be gushy and honest, I will put the pedal through the floor.

When I write my novel, it’ll be called “You Shouldn’t Have Given Me Free Reign With This Whole Thing.”

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