Roses and Thorns

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Friday, May 03, 2013
This week was it - my last week of anything having to do with my first year as a Master's student.  I had a few exams, some papers, and one final big presentation fair where I had to given an elevator pitch about a project I've been working on all semester.  It's pretty hard to cram three months of research into a one minute speech, but somehow I managed and everything went really well.

After class (and the pseudo-mandatory class photo) one of my good friends - and my first friend at SI - invited me out for a beer.  Which turned into two beers.  Which quickly turned into a five hour lovely conversation about basically every topic on the planet.  At one point, my friend CK asked me, "So what are your roses and what are your thorns?"

At first I had no idea what she meant, but then she explained that (OBVIOUSLY) roses are the good things that have happened and the thorns are the lessons that you've learned or the difficult parts you have had to struggle through to get to the good parts.

I was a little taken aback at first.  Yes, sure I've been complaining a bunch about the work and the constant stream of readings and projects and the annoying housework I still have to do, but are there actually things that I have learned this semester?

Yes.

Absolutely yes.

Reflecting more on the idea, I have come to realize that I have come a long way from where I was just one year ago.

For roses I can count the amazing people I've met in my classes, the incredible professors I have had, and the discovery of what I want to do when I finally decide to grow up.  I've had some incredible experiences through this first year at SI including being taught by one of the founders of the Web, traveling to New York to work for an amazing non-profit, and making connections with some great people across the country.  This year hasn't been without any thorns, however.  The greatest thorn of all is the constant struggle to balance home-life and school-life.  Never before have I really had to worry about bills while I'm trying to write a paper.  Or try to schedule group meetings around the full sink of dishes I have waiting at home.  I still haven't quite gotten the hang of it, but I've got at least one more year to figure it out and I'm going to try my best.

CK really brought to my attention just how much I have changed over the past year, even though I didn't think I had any more changing left to do.  It's bizarre how on a daily basis things never seem to be different, but once you look back on who you were, you realized just how much has changed.  I'm excited to start my summer and go into my second (and final!) year at SI to see how much I'll change.  Until then, it's just one day at a time.
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