I’m in the thick of writing my master’s project, which is what my program calls our thesis. I’ll be presenting it in less than two weeks and handing it in in less than three weeks, and I’m oddly calm about the whole thing. I’m really not sure where this newfound calm is coming from, considering that I have three other ten page papers to write in those three weeks and two additional presentations to give. Oh, and I have some things going on at work. You know, no big deal. Who am I and where did stressed out Kim go? Part of me wants her to come back because I feel like I work better under stress, but I’m realizing that I actually don’t work better under stress. Don’t get me wrong, the logical part of me is freaking out about all of this, but the emotional part of me is saying “don’t worry, it will all get done and you will be fine, just make sure you take care of yourself first so you don’t get a migraine”.
Anyway, back to the reason I came here in the first place. As I’m writing my interpretation section for my MP, it’s SO WEIRD to me to be doing just that – interpreting. This section is a foreign land to me. I’ve got the following: introduction, rationale, literature review, data collection plan, data summary, interpretation, and conclusion. Usually my lab reports in college skipped straight from the equivalent of the data summary section to the conclusion section, and if you had even an ounce of your own opinion in that conclusion, you were doing it wrong. I got really good at looking at data and drawing conclusions based solely on that data. Now, I’m talking about what I think about the data I’ve collected – and that’s just so weird to me! It’s kind of fun, actually, and today that really hit me as I was writing. For what feels like the first time, I get to offer up my opinions on the facts, and now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s pretty cool.
Don’t get me wrong – this was really hard for me to figure out. My research coach told me she knew this was going to be the hardest section for me to write, and she was right. When I handed in my first draft, she said I’d written an analysis, but that I needed to go deeper. I had no idea there was any deeper to go, to be honest. I felt like I was a kid in the kiddie pool who didn’t even realize there was an ocean I could swim in. But I get it now! This is exciting! It’s really cool to have a new tool in my toolbox. I’m so grateful for the scientific way of writing I honed because there have been plenty of times it’s come in handy, but it’s been a rewarding challenge learning how to interpret data and express my own opinion about it. It makes me nervous and makes me wonder if I’m getting the “right” answer, but it’s my answer and it’s what I found in my research, and that’s so rewarding!
With that in mind, I’m back to my writing. And some reading for class too. Sometimes (really all the time) there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do the 500+ pages of reading I have for my classes the next two nights in addition to preparing for a group presentation Tuesday night and turning in the latest draft of a section of my MP tomorrow! But I will get it all done, and it will be glorious when June 8 comes around and I’m really done for the year.