I submitted my final paper on Wednesday (and then returned a stack of library books that I had out for research), had the snow tires put on my car on Thursday, and then spent Friday and Saturday driving back to Ontario. My plans for the next 3 weeks include visiting family and friends, reading a stack of non-school books, and generally trying to let my brain turn to mush after the busy-ness of the past 3 months.
Overall, I've enjoyed the past three months. The school is a lovely place - there is a real feeling of community there - we are one family caring for one another, even when we don't always get along or agree. It is a highly supportive place to be. The community wasn't the reason that this was my first choice of schools (chosen for a combination of the ecumenical nature and the location); but it is the primary reason why I am glad that I ended up here.
That being said, I'm also very glad that I have my own apartment, and that I'm not living in residence. It has been a big shock to return to school after 15 years away - trying to live in a residence room probably would have been a bit too much. Instead, I have a beautiful apartment, a relaxing commute to and from school, and my cats can stay with me.
With every paper that I've submitted this term, I've had a fleeting thought that, "maybe this is the paper that will prove that I don't belong here. Maybe this is the paper that will prove that I'm a fraud." I don't mean this in terms of a sense of call - all term long (after I got through the first couple of weeks), I've felt very strongly that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Rather, it has been more in a sense of an academic fraud. My undergraduate degree was in sciences (Physiotherapy, to be exact). It was very much a knowledge- and skills-based undergraduate degree. This term, I have written more papers than I wrote in my entire undergraduate degree. I also wrote my first academic essay in 20 years - last one was in high school English class. Each time I have submitted a paper, I have done so with a touch of self-doubt that it wouldn't be up to the standard. That was one of my big fears in coming back to school - I was worried that I would be able to keep up, academically. But so far, I've received mostly positive feedback on my papers. They haven't "found me out" yet!
And I have loved being back in an academic environment. It is a privilege to be able to spend my days reading and writing and learning and generally stretching my brain. Just think - I have 5 more semesters of this excitement!
And so my books are packed away, and my desk is tidied, all in readiness to begin my next term on January 5. I loved all of my classes this term - I can't wait to see what next term has in store for me!
(desk and bookshelf, tidy and waiting for me when I get home)