My personal and academic growth is hard to measure. I often feel like my accomplishments have been achieved by sacrificing growth in other areas of my life. I feel unbalanced, like I have only worked out my right arm for the past four years and now have to switch to my left. I worry about all the things I don’t know and how much farther I still have to go. However, in the spirit of graduation, I feel like I have try and reflect on how I have gotten here and realize that it took a lot of hard work and that in itself is something I should be proud of.
In terms of academic growth, I think the primary thing you learn is how much you don’t know (I know… super cliche). I do not think school is about gaining knowledge. For me, it has always been about working hard and trying to find some deeper understanding. This experience of connecting with the first years and simultaneously bonding with the seniors has been really positive. In addition, it helps me see where I came from. The topics and theories the first years struggle with I also struggled with (and honestly, am still working on!). In addition to the building connections, I also feel like posting has been a really good opportunity to develop my voice in a less academic setting. I have always struggled with my writing and never feel any sort of pride towards my own work. I can be proud of my process and research but never the actual document. Exercising this voice, which flows a lot more freely, has helped me write better in other circumstances.
It is funny. Thesis is suppose to be the culmination of your undergraduate career, but the whole thing was a learning process. I have never attempted a document of that length and, honestly, didn’t feel confident about my ability to write it. The entire process was so different than other classwork. Instead of a bookend, it felt like I was back in E&D learning to write a research paper. While, I know that I have grown and developed these skills, it doesn’t feel like it.
Growth just keeps happening in the background. On rare occasions will I be able to actually see how far I have come. I guess now is not quite that time.