May 6, 2016 by travelinggrits
Most frequently asked question of the past two weeks:
“Are you done done?”
I chuckled when I overheard this colloquial question, asked almost like a seasonal holiday greeting, as I passed by several clusters of students in the hallway today, and I considered how I might respond.
Oh yes, I’m well done.
Last Tuesday, I turned in my last assignment. It was rather anticlimactic –the only fanfare was the ping of my inbox as the online submission portal delivered an automatic confirmation email. But yes, friends, that’s all she wrote.
A much better celebration was had about a month ago when I completed my master’s paper. It was the night of the NCAA basketball semifinals, so I opened up the live ESPN feed and clapped and cheered along with the last ten minutes of the game. Slam dunk – everyone was a winner that night. I did a happy dance in the privacy of my office workspace, then headed toward Franklin Street to join the joyous mob of students.
It is indeed appropriate to ask if I’m doubly finished. Last year I completed all the degree requirements for my first master’s, and I walked with my cohort at graduation. However, I was not permitted to officially graduate until I had completed my full three-year course of study. And I honestly didn’t feel the closure appropriate for mastery last year. But after further experience this year I am now confident my professional skills and academic training can produce a job well done. As of this weekend, I have dual master’s degrees. It makes me sound like some sort of intellectual jedi double-fisting diplomas.
Along the way, there have been times, of course, that I’ve felt well done, thoroughly cooked. I could regale you with tales that could make you break into a cold sweat or laugh at my poor luck. Flash drives accidentally knocked out of computers with an ominous crunch. Dysfunctional team projects resulting in class presentations that resembled slapstick comedy. Late, late nights in the library and biking home in a nagging, cold drizzle of rain. I can’t any more of this, I said to myself. Yet I buckled down and continued forward.
Done done. It reminds me of how in Korean conversation some adjectives or adverbs are repeated for emphasis. For example, “every day every day I study,” to note how diligently one is preparing for a big test. Out of curiosity, I just Googled this phenomenon, and come to find out “reduplication” is quite common in other languages. I didn’t consult peer-reviewed scholarly sources with the rigor I would for a class assignment, but in my quick search I came across some interesting insights about repeated words signifying completeness, simplicity, and truth.
My mind hasn’t quite accepted the sincerity of this done done. A few more weeks finishing work tasks and checking off my local bucket list. A three week bike ride, trading screen time for outdoor exploration as well as personal discovery. And then, finally my debut as a full-fledged employed adult. I have some promising prospects for the next stage, but I’ll have to keep you in suspense on those for now.
Many people have asked me if I’m headed toward a PhD. Perhaps, but I’m going to take a break for a while. I will miss the immersive environment of critical thinking and dialogue of the university, but I’ll continue to seek opportunities to challenge my perspective. I won’t be finished learning… Well, until I’m done done.