So here we are at the end of this four-month road. I’ve written several thousand words and spent many hours learning new things and expanding on previous knowledge. And as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve really come to appreciate the writing down part. Now I can scroll back through my posts and actually see an almost tangible trace of my work, reminders of my learning and an encouragement to continue blogging about new experiences, if only to remind me that they actually happen. Academic work can be so diffuse – I might have learned heaps about the history of women in England in the Late Middle Ages, but that’s not much of an everyday skill like sewing buttons or cooking a meal, so i have to consciously remind myself that I have gained that knowledge.
This has also given me a new self-confidence, and especially the Google Hangout session comes to mind: Being a student among full time members of the work force was scar, but in hindsight led to an appreciation of where I am right now: My experience as a student was equally valid and interesting as anything everyone else was experiencing, even though in my mind they were “proper adults” and I wasn’t.
If you allow me a tangent: This has probably more than a little to do with language; since in Germany it would be really unusual to not refer to your teachers at any point in education in the polite form with their last name, while they generally use the personal form and your first name, at least up to further education level. So you already have a definitive difference in power between teachers and pupils, and the lack of that in English threw me strongly when I first came here, and I still occasionally struggle with how personal for example addressing an email ought to be. But in turn, since I left before university level in Germany, where the field evens out and students would also be addressed with the polite form, or before I was old enough that strangers would use it, I never got the full name treatment and always stayed on the lower step of the ladder.
Adding to this, as a postgrad student my eyes (and the questions of family and friends) are mostly on my future once I’ve graduated and become a “proper” (i.e. working) adult, perhaps neglecting that actually my view of life and specifically these 23 Things as a student is valid and important exactly because it is different.
The course has certainly pushed me to explore more professional territory and I hope I’ll be able to keep that up, because it is much less intimidating than I thought it might be. I wish I’d had more time to read the community blogs and see everyone else’s experiences, but I’m going to try and do that over the next few months, to keep the learning curve going.
The plan to use my momentum to also keep this up as a photography blog has maybe not worked as well as I’d have liked it to, but to be fair that was also due to me not taking a lot of pictures that I could upload. There are a few from my winter break that’ll eventually make it here, and I might throw in some art and crafts too (after checking that I don’t lose all my rights to wordpress when I upload them… that would be unfortunate enough for the photos).
tl;dr: I gained 23 experience points and leveled up to a more confident, professional user of the digital world and I hope I’ll continue to see the fun in the challenges of work/life/the internet to come!