This past Wednesday I turned in my final paperwork. I now have a Master’s degree in philosophy. It’s been a long year, and I’ve learned a lot about philosophy, academia, and myself. I’m going to talk about it for a few weeks, because it’s literally the biggest thing that I’ve ever done. What’s crazy to me is that in the past year, it isn’t the only thing I’ve done. I thought my MA would be all-consuming, but most of the time when I was working, except for the last three months, I was working on other projects. 

This year I really wanted to test my limits, apparently. I didn’t intend to, but so many opportunities came by that I didn’t want to let slip away. My degree involved attending talks and classes, as well as writing about 39, 000 words (125 pages) and doing the associated research. I also served as a teaching assistant for two courses, grading papers, working with students, and attending classes. I guess it is a lot of work.

But on top of that…

  • I went to a number of conferences including the International Congress on Medieval Studies, 140 Ontario, and TEDxWaterloo
  • I spoke at Ignite Waterloo about how to deal with failure (video).
  • I did my first live music performance at a Movember benefit (video).
  • I worked with Hopespring Cancer Support Centre on their celebrity chef fundraiser, and continue to serve on their fundraising committee.
  • I was the best man in a friend’s wedding.
  • I helped organize Headshots from the Heart, a 24 hour fundraiser for Child’s Play that raised over $2,500 for charity.
  • I served as the MA representative for the Philosophy Graduate Student Association, and pioneered a workshop calendar project for them.
  • I helped plan social media strategies for the Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization.
  • I joined the publications committee of the Research Group for Manuscript Evidence.
  • I was a reader for Tiresias, an undergraduate journal at the University of Waterloo.
  • I did a juggling and magic performance at a birthday party.
  • I played a number of other live gigs in two different bands, as well as solo.
  • I hosted a monthly podcast.
  • I wrote over two hundred blog posts.

And that’s just the stuff I was successful at. There are projects that fell by the wayside when people got too busy. I have a few short-lived Let’s Play series sitting around, a half-finished cardboard sculpture, and had two D&D games implode under their own weight. Canvas and Candlelight, an ambitious fundraising event that Jodi and I planned, went under. But these things happen. You leave stuff behind. It’s something I’m wroking on, but I’m trying to better grasp when to hold them, and when to fold them.

Still, it’s been a great year, and I hit a lot of milestones. I’m looking forward to the next one, and to all the things I can accomplish now that my degree is finished and I’m out into the big wide world.

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