Coup d’École

I sent in my draft of the final bit of writing for my MA degree yesterday. I’ll still have revisions to do, and I still have much organizing and formatting to do, but it’s starting to look as though I might actually finish this degree.

This has all the feel of a coup.

But I’m not done. My committee could come back with major revisions. They could send me back for more interviews, more research, more writing, more basic understanding of the core concepts of journalism. They could ask what I’ve been doing off on my own for these last few months that compelled me to write this steaming piece of you-know-what.

Which is why it feels like a coup.

It’s easy to have feelings of inadequacy at the famed Missouri School of Journalism. Your classmates are smart, talented and driven. Your classes are tough. Your professors are famous. Plenty of the alumni who came before you are legends. You endure harsh editors (some are your peers), stay up late writing all the time, drink coffee to keep you going until you suspect you have an ulcer, and watch your classmates get published, pick up assistantships and internships, win awards and land jobs — and you don’t even have a resumé together. You look around and ask yourself, do I really go to school with these people?

So yes, this feels like a coup.

Since I started the program I’ve had pneumonia once and bronchitis twice. My asthma got worse and I gained weight. My back problems and TMJ also intensified. If I’d been a social smoker before, I’d surely be a chain smoker now, though luckily, I’m neither. I had to get reading glasses at age 29. Oh, and of course I went into debt.

Why did I do it? Because it feels like a coup.

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