I worked toward my first master's degree beginning in early 1985! We were able to choose to do a thesis or take five additional courses. Unfortunately I chose the thesis and I regretted it so much!
  1. β€’
    In this pre-computer time frame I had to do all my statistics equations using a calculator and paper and a pencil. I also had to draw my own graphs.
  2. β€’
    I read hundreds of articles for my literature review.
  3. β€’
    I used an attitude survey I wrote myself so I had to study its validity, reproducibility, accuracy, etc. first.
  4. β€’
    I had piles and piles of completed surveys on my dining room table. My family knew it was off-limits. This lasted 9 months.
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    I went to a state university in NJ and at that time they had no support staffs for research assistance or funding. I mailed the surveys and letters 3 times until I had a good representative sample.
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    I had to pay a "word processor" to do my typing.
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    I spent more than $1,000 of my own money on the project. In 1988 this was a lot of money to me.
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    My thesis advisor would read my drafts for each section (typed as required) and would redline every sentence or words he wanted changed.
  9. β€’
    I started to feel like I didn't write it, he edited it so many times. So one day I came into his office and rather rudely "slapped" my latest version on his desk 2 days before our weekly meeting as required. I said I was finished changing it. I was done!
  10. β€’
    I was frazzled and frustrated and sorry I did the thesis in the first place. I said if this edition wasn't good enough I was packing it in and taking the 5 extra classes.
  11. β€’
    Well when I came back he miraculously said it was perfect just how it was. He had no further edits.
  12. β€’
    I realized they push you to do your best work until you "break." I wished I had been angry and rude much sooner. Of course I apologized profusely for my behavior and he smiled and winked at me.
  13. β€’
    I got the final bound paper (5 copies required) ready for submission.
  14. β€’
    Looking back I am sorry I did it. Five classes would have been much easier.
  15. β€’
    I was going to skip it, but I went to the graduation ceremony because my brother was getting his masters in counseling from the same school and my sister-in-law (his wife) was getting her bachelors degree in English with a teaching certificate at that same time. So it was a family affair.
  16. β€’
    I put all my best work, papers, textbooks, and extra thesis copies in a box and labeled it "What I Learned in Graduate School".
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    Each time we moved I would thin out the contents of the box until it was down to one copy of the thesis. On our last move from FL to CO, I finally threw away my last copy of the thesis. I read it first one last time and barely even recognized the work I had done so many years ago.
  18. β€’
    I never regretted going to school for so many degrees because I always loved to learn, and I still do. However, I did regret doing the thesis instead of taking five classes!
  19. β€’
    Thanks for reading my story!