So, you’ve got a master’s degree, now what?

I defended my master’s thesis on Valentines Day, 2014. I passed with flying colours after an intensive 1 hour long “class-like” presentation that was totally not what I expected. During my defence I learnt a few things:

  • When you bend the rules and research something new, everyone sits up and takes notice — and they ask a lot of hard questions.
  • When you do brand new research and practically invent a new field of study, people start citing you early on — even when you’re not done with the meat of the work.
  • When you’re cited early on, your committee members know before you do, and you are instantly on stage and being pelted with “what if” questions — but it’s just them thinking out loud.
  • When professors think out loud, they often debate with each other, leaving you to stand there staring on in confusing because you have no idea where this came from or where it’s going.
  • When this happens, it’s really, really good news. It means they are excited because you did something right.

My thesis defence wasn’t typical. Hell, I’m not typical, so why should I have expected that to be? I don’t know, but an archaeologist throwing themselves into geology, math, chemistry, statistics and having a child-like curiosity about things meant that things were not normal at any stage. I asked some simple questions that hadn’t been asked, got the blind leading the blind, and next thing I know I’ve signed myself up for some experimental work. I put one foot in front of the other without having a clear path laid out in front of me all the way up to the time when my advisor shook my hand and said, “Congrats, you’ve passed. Now what’s next?”

Now, it’s over. I heard those words ringing in my head all evening long, then they followed me through my dreams to breakfast the next day. What is next? I hadn’t planned it out, really. I have lots of goals, but no big “target” at the end.

And that’s OK.

I reason that it’s like this: Life is uncertain, and we have no idea what is around the next bend. I can be opportunistic and say, “I’d like to achieve these goals”, then go about achieving wild dreams that just happen to pop up along the way. Some day I’d like to get my Ph.D., but that is “some day”. I don’t know how, I don’t know when. Next I plan on getting in shape and getting into the Guard. During that time I’ll be working on building up Insanitek, making contacts, networking, learning, and embracing life to it’s fullest.