Today, I wrote over 5000 words and then sent a completed thesis draft to my chair. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. In some ways, I feel very proud and accomplished. At the same time, I feel like there is still a long way to go before the thesis as a whole is “final.” That’s not so much intimidating as just mentally exhausting. I also still have a lot of reading to accomplish over the next month before my thesis defense.
As a whole though, it feels really good, and makes me feel pretty nostalgic. I was looking back at the first paper I wrote about transfer, long ago in Histories and Theories of Composition in the Fall of 2011. My first semester of graduate school feels so long ago! It’s kind of weird to look back at that writing, in which I proposed a pilot study of transfer my instructor (and now thesis chair) to tell me that it was a bit too ambitious and would have to be pared down to be realistically done. In some ways, even my thesis project was a bit too ambitious. I still have a lot of data that I would love to dig further into, but it’s just not going to happen at this point. But it’s also very rewarding to realize that even then I had a fairly clear picture of what I wanted to study and how I wanted to study it.
With the exception of two seminar papers, everything I’ve written in my graduate program has had to do with transfer in some way. It’s almost hard to believe how immersed I am in this part of the field. At the same time, I can’t imagine being as invested in any other topic at this point in my life. It’s a nice feeling to realize that I really do love what I do. It’s not surprising to me at all that “students” is the most-used word in my thesis; they are really the focus of my teaching and my research.