my last diploma

I am not particularly nostalgic about my academic diplomas. My masters diploma is filed away somewhere, I think my college diploma is in the back of the office closet and I have no idea where my high school diploma is. It might be here, it might be at my parents' house, it might be in a landfill or recycled into a roll of paper towels. I haven't a clue.

But my DMA diploma - that's special, I guess because it's my last one, or because it was far more work than the others. When I started it, I wasn't sure I could do it. I'd been through 4 years of masters programs (I got a double degree in pedagogy/performance, then collaborative piano), but I wasn't entirely confident I was up to the level of performance and academic vigor required. Honestly. I'm a strong student (or, rather, WAS a strong student!) but not alway a confident one. However, I started my doctorate after a nearly disastrous semester in which I had a miscarriage I'd told almost no one about (except family and a few professors whose classes I kept missing) and helped organize a two-day strike of graduate assistants, the first work stoppage by that union in decades. Somehow I got through that year without giving up on school entirely, and by the time fall rolled around, I was ready to go back at it.

Having always been a student, I think the hardest thing about doing my doctorate was feeling truly independent about my work as a musician, both in terms of performance and scholarship. I'm not entirely sure I'm there yet - I think I'll have to get some more independent and professional experience under my belt first - but I certainly feel better about what I do now than four years ago.

Oh, and having two kids before it was all over? Two kids that we didn't exactly plan on having just then? That was pretty challenging, too. I was pregnant for three of my six recitals. I've been sleep-deprived for a good bit of the last three years. And except for my lecture-recital, I don't think the quality of my work suffered (the L-R wasn't bad; it just wasn't great).

This puppy needs a frame, is all I'm saying.


Animal said…
Ab-so-LUTE-ly it needs a frame! And it needs to be a nice one, that someone else buys for you as a present. My mom bought frames for both me and Miss Tessmacher, and our degrees now hang side-by-side in our office. Proudly, arrogantly, and you-bet-your-ass-we-earned-it-edly!

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