Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Three Years in the Making

Last week marked the end of a long three year journey for me:  getting my master's degree!  Three years ago, I almost decided not to pursue my degree because it was going to take too long and be too hard and not be practical and (insert one million more reasons here).  Well, it did take a while, and it was hard, and there were bumps along the way... but guess what?  I'm done!  I can't believe that all the long hours, reading, writing, extra work, studying, traveling, and student loans are finally over.

This was my last summer in the INSTEP program at Columbia Teachers College, and we only had to be on campus for two weeks this year.  The first week was our last traditional class together.  The second week was basically work time to finish our thesis that we've been working on for the last year.

For better part of the week, this was my view:  computer, lamp, books, and coffee (decaf, don't worry).  I considered bringing a blanket and sleeping under the tables in the library.  We wrote in the library from 8 am until 6 pm most days stopping only to go to the bathroom or grab food.  I did treat myself one night to one of my fave meals of all time.... Chirping Chicken!  Check out that plate of french fries, chicken souvlaki, pita, dolmas, and greek salad!!!  That temporarily cured all my thesis woes.

On Wednesday of our last week, we filed for graduation!  It felt really momentous and really good.  
Behold, the world's most expensive piece of paper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On our last Saturday together, Jamie, Scott, and I ventured out to Ellis Island - one of the only tourist-y places I had not yet visited in NYC.  Had to check it off the list.  Mercifully, the sun was hidden behind a cloudy sky and we had reservations for the ferry, so we didn't have to wait 3 hours in line.
The views from the ferry were quite stunning, and I've never seen Manhattan from the water before.
There she is.
The entrance to Ellis Island
Here is the main "registration" room at Ellis Island.  The museum was very well done and gave a very good sense of what it might have been like to come to Ellis Island in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Very cool.
Baby N also enjoyed the views.
After Ellis Island, we stopped by Patsy's, one of my fave NYC pizza places.  This Mediterranean salad was to die for.  And this was the 'small' portion, mind you.
Now tell me that's not a good lookin' piece of pizza. 
On our last night together, our whole program cohort went to dinner at an Italian place near Columbia.  Our cohort is small - only 11 people, so I have gotten to know them VERY well over the last three years.  We've been through a lot together, and they are truly my very good friends.  I know we will keep up long after graduation.  The cohort is probably my favorite part of the program.  Everyone was so different and had such varied backgrounds and perspectives.  I learned so much from these guys!

{Tina from Chicago and Amanda from New Jersey}
{Johanna from Colorado and Katherine from Brooklyn}
{Jamie from New Jersey, me from who knows where, and Chin Hwa from Hong Kong}
{Chin Hwa, Mimi from New Jersey, Tina, and Lillian from Oregon}
{Amanda & Shari from Maine}  Not pictured... Sandra from Miami, Meredith from California, and Scott from China!
How sweet are my friends?  They all gave me this ADORABLE board book, "New York Baby" that shows all about the life of a baby in New York City.
They even wrote Baby N a note and signed the inside cover.  What a special gift that I will treasure forever!  This is baby's first book!!  I also got a kick out of the fact that the book has "reading activities and tips" in the back, in true teacher style.  I'd expect nothing less from this bunch.
Now I'm 'home' in Iowa, and I'm getting back to real life.  I'm finalizing my thesis, and I'll turn it in this week. Then, I can officially close the door on this chapter of my life and say "I'M DONE!!"  What a dream come true - praise the Lord!  I got my masters from the exact place that I wanted to in the perfect program for me with the most amazing people on Earth.  And, I'm finishing just in time to have a baby!  The Lord is pretty good with timing, don't ya think?  I will hopefully go back to NYC in May for one last hurrah and to participate in graduation (with baby N in tow!)  Then my adventures in grad school will officially be finished!  What an experience that I will never forget!


Tiffany Mendenhall said...

Congratulations, Katie Bacardi Limon Norwood! You deserve it! XO

Haley Chance said...

Congratulations, Katie! That is a HUGE HUGE HUGE (can I say it one more time?) HUGE accomplishment. :)

Shayla said...

Congrats, Katie! God's timing is incredible. I love that Baby N will get to attend your graduation!

Julia said...

Congrats, Salsa!! :)

Site Design by Designer Blogs