Somewhat to my surprise, I find that I have finished my M.S. and the degree will be awarded in six days. At last, I can be addressed as Wohlgelehrter Herr Magister! My calculations had led me to believe that I had two more quarters before completion, but I certainly wasn’t going to argue when the department sent me a graduation notice. The bureaucrats have been propitiated, so it’s all over but the ceremony.
Next stop: doctorate. I’ve officially transferred into the Ph.D. program. Until Friday I could still say that I was still on the fence, but iacta alea est. I’d assumed that switching tracks wouldn’t be a particularly big deal, but I find that it’s a significant mental and emotional shift.
There have certainly been research elements to the master’s program, but at its heart it is structured around classes. Until now, it’s been picking the most interesting items off of a menu and running with them. From here on out, I’m building my own curriculum, and research is central.
It really is like starting out fresh, but from a higher level of sophistication. The professor who has been acting as my advisor is leaving, so I’ll need to establish a new relationship, one that will be the best match for my research interests.
Research interests! That impending choice has certainly been haunting my sleep for the past few months. To my generalist instincts, it feels a bit like selecting the color of my straightjacket. There are too many interesting pathways to select just one! Still, this is the way that the game is played, and I have some ideas. Once they’ve coalesced, expect some discussion in this forum.
I’ll have a brief, much-needed respite before I pick things up again for the summer term. Of course, work continues—it will be a bit of a dance balancing office and academia, but I’ve survived this long. What’s three or four more years?