Free at last! Or next to last.

Today is the day. I was planning to shout “Free at last! Free at last!” Except that I’m not quite free. Last night I finished the final test for my last class in graduate school – ever (I assume). I still have to do the capstone project in the spring, though, so I’m not quite a free man. More like on parole. But the paroled man hears the prison doors clang shut behind him and surveys a frightening world of relative freedom, for which he’s not sure he’s quite ready. I’ll have to re-learn the art of spending a normal evening – or as normal as evenings get when you write novels in your spare time.

My last two classes were a little disappointing, frankly. One was taught by a venerable professor who’s been doing the same thing for years and doesn’t bother to update his material, or the links embedded in his assignments. The other was taught by a man who is, I believe, an authority in his field. Only the discipline he was teaching us (I won’t say which one) is hard – or impossible – to properly teach at a distance. So he does the best he can, grades generously, and more or less herds us through the routine without high expectations.

It was for that second class that I turned in my test last night. It was part multiple choice and part essay. I’m not sure about my answers to the multiple choice questions – the points covered were pretty fine ones. But the essay part – of which I was more frightened – actually went pretty well, I think. Sometimes it pays off to have a writer’s skills. To be able to gather a handful of scattered ideas and citations and organize them into a sort of a coherent whole. When I was done I was surprised how pleased I was with it.

All that remains is the capstone project, which is some kind of research project, subject yet to be determined. Like a thesis, but less. Later this year they’ll abolish the requirement completely, but it seems to be impossible, due to the arcane rules of registration and academic credits, to simply put off my graduation until that time.

But the bottom line is this – I’m done with the hard part. I’ve been looking forward to this day for more than two years. So consider me jubilant. Even though I’m mostly kind of tired.

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