Borrowing my title of this post from “Seinfeld,” after walking in my graduation this past Sunday, I now feel like a Master of my Domain – which is Fine Arts of Children’s Literature, to be exact. Technically I’ve been a Master since October, as I was a fall graduate. But Hollins only has one ceremony, so I decided to walk in May. And like my friend and fellow October graduate, Jess, my reaction to graduating was delayed until I actually walked across the stage, shook President Gray’s hand, and walked away with a green Hollins diploma folder. Mind you, my diploma has been framed and displayed in my house since October, but the commencement actually made everything feel real. Not just that I’m done with school (Hallelujah!), but also that I won’t have any reason to visit the Hollins campus anymore. Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly true, as I hope to sit in on one of my advisor’s classes this summer. But I will no longer visit the campus as a student or attend classes there. I no longer have a 6-week block in the summer dedicated to graduate school. And even though these are all good things, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad once graduation was over.
I’m really going to miss certain aspects of my grad school, mainly my close friends and fave professors. But I’ll also miss having so many different pairs of eyes read my work and give me feedback on a constant basis. Sure, workshopping one WIP over and over and having to sort through so many unique opinions about what I need to work on could get old and frustrating. But it also helped me polish my thesis manuscript tremendously. Without the feedback and critiques of my fellow classmates and professors, I doubt it would’ve turned out even half as good.
Even though I’m sad that part of my writing career is over, at the same time I’m now even more determined to be a great writer. At the turn of the new year, I emailed my advisor, who has been very encouraging and supportive of my writing from the beginning. In her response back to me, she said I was to not think of her as my professor anymore – that I’m graduated now, so that makes us colleagues. In no means do I consider myself to be her equal at this point – she has published several books, after all, and I’ve not yet published one – but her words made me realize that it’s now up to me to try to remember everything I learned about writing during my time at Hollins so that I can implement it on my own. I’m not completely alone, of course. I still have my Weasels to send my WIP’s to critique. But for the most part, at least in the initial creating process, it’ll just be me from now on. A scary fact, yes, but also exhilarating!
So here’s to standing on my own two feet – something any Master of her Domain ought to be able to do, right?