I had been under the ‘thesis-phase’ for quite some time. It actually took me 2 years and 2 months to finish it – almost half my entire debacle with this master’s degree.
Enrolled the first 3 units of my Masters thesis in the 1st semester (June-Nov) of 2013-14. I moved to ACCI Dorm and I ran a lot (I think I lost some weight during that time). I was also working on another research where I was the study leader while teaching journalism courses also. It was during this time when I also had my personal trips to Bacolod (June 2013) and Davao (August 2013) and I had BruceLeeTo, my new laptop. I was also single, reeling from a breakup (with Jed) from the end of the previous year.
I think it was also this time that I served as a PDA (Project Development Associate) at the Office of Student Affairs helping the Student Organizations and Activities Division until November of that year. I read and read and read and then submitted an initial list of research problems I thought I could do. Nope. My research adviser was looking for something… else. So nada for that first five months.
The following semester (2nd sem 2013-14, Nov-March), I enrolled the next 3 units of my master’s thesis. On personal matters, I was nominated as one of the board of trustees of our college organization’s (State Varsity Christian Fellowship) alumni association.
A significant event happened in November of 2013 – Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) devastated the eastern Philippines. It was not a time for celebration but it brought me a moment of epiphany – the thesis topic arrived.
January of 2014, my dog got hit by a car and we had to take care of him rather full time – as usual dog-lovers go. I went to Baguio for a week in February 2014 to read. Yes, I went to Baguio to read. (On side note, now I know I don’t function well in too cold a weather. My brain stops). March of 2014, Jed and I got together again. I was also still teaching full time and trying to finish a University-funded research. The second semester ended with me and a capsule proposal for my thesis. That’s as far as I went that semester.
The long summer (May-July 2014) were loaded with workshops for the new curriculum at the college. I was able to snuck some time to read for my thesis and attend a week-long camp in Puerto Galera.
The 1st sem 2014-15 (Aug-Dec) came by so quickly. I was still teaching (no study leave for me). The significant events of this semester was my oral comprehensive exam in October 2014, my 10-day trip to Nagoya, Japan in Nov 2014, and UPLB’s hosting of the regional sports meet in Dec 2014.
For the work on my thesis, I was able to come up with a full proposal which I presented during my oral comprehensive exam. It was approved and so the games, err, the data gathering began.
I was really expecting to be finished by the 2nd sem 2014-15 (Jan-May). Hopeful that I’d be able to march along the with other graduates come July. However, there were a lot of things that happened vis-a-vis my utter confusion on some aspects of my data gathering.
I was able to finish my other research, the university-funded one and submitted the terminal report in February 2015. I was teaching 5 courses (approximately 80 students) while also serving as resource person in various workshops within the University. We were also quite shorthanded in the department.
From January to March, I was working (with the help of two student assistants) on the manual content analysis of the 600+ articles. I purchased a mixed method research software (NVIvo) to help me in the qualitative coding but I guess I devoted much on the quantitative part that I was left with little time in the actual bulk of my thesis. I started qualitative coding in April and ended in June 2015. Started writing like crazy from June 5 till the first week of July. At one point, I wrote for six hours straight. Work, most of the time, came in between me and my data. I also had seven thesis advisees, six were able to graduate last July (hooray!).
I realized I couldn’t make it in June and I wouldn’t be able to march this July. That felt bad but I had to take it all in and continue working on my thesis.
There are many other stories tangled with my thesis-phase. But they need not be spilled out here. Suffice to say, I finish my complete first draft last July 9, got it approved, and successfully defended it from my guidance committee last July 18. And that’s that.
The few weeks leading to my defense saw me in house-arrest, powered by caffeine and sheer adrenaline. Sustained by God’s grace no doubt. From the moment I wake up (6am), I’d have a short quiet time, prepare coffee and breakfast and buckle down to writing. I’d nap an hour or two in the afternoon and then proceed to writing again once I wake up. I’d have about 2 hours of Skype with Jed before he goes to work and before I sleep at around midnight. I’d repeat this for 10 or maybe 11 days until my defense date.
I was sitting down a lot, no exercise ergo on ‘fat-build up mode’. I wrote and then I’d stop and think I’m not doing it right. I’d doubt myself lots of times. I felt hopeless on some days and sprightly and hopeful on some.
I’d be a wreck on some days as well. Jed would always comfort me, letting me know he’s just there for me. That did gave me comfort. But my sole comfort and peace came from God. He brought me this far and He promised He’ll sustain me. That he did. He did not just let me survive but He made me thrive.
And now, I’m documenting this so when I’d face other challenges again, I’d go back to the day I thought I’d never make it and see how He has held me all throughout and then I know His promises are true.