Well, everyone, this post is (quite) a bit delayed, but I've graduated! I finished my last quarter of my master's program on December 13th. Yes, I'm done done.
Looking back my time in grad school, I'll share a few thoughts (if I didn't you'd probably ask me anyway). Let's get the first bit out of the way - it wasn't all I dreamed it would be. It wasn't a beautiful basket of roses and learning and expanding my knowledge just how I wanted it to be. Now, to clarify, I didn't expect everything to go perfectly - that's just not how life works. But classes were cancelled, didn't turn out as planned, or just didn't exist. My plans to find the perfect amazing research project that fit so well with my interests (that I couldn't quite pinpoint, of course) fell through. The research I started didn't turn into a thesis, so I ended up doing a report instead. I didn't become best friends with all the students in my program and hang out with them all the time. I didn't find the perfect church community right away and I didn't fall madly in love with the quaint little college town of Davis.
I struggled. I knew I was where God wanted me to be, so clearly he wanted me to put effort into my education, but I really struggled with how to balance doing well at school and living for him and acting how he wants me to be acting for his kingdom while I'm at school. Prioritizing things was difficult, and I'm still working that out and probably will be for the rest of my life. Well, minus the school part. That will switch to work.
All of that said, I am glad I went to graduate school, and I'm glad I went to school at UC Davis. I made some great friends, though not hordes of them - a few in my classes and a few from church. I eventually ended up in a great church community full of new friends and potlucks, and made some of my best friends here from the first church I was at. I learned a lot more about all sorts of topics - life cycle assessment, computer modeling, environmental organic chemistry, and of course, water and wastewater treatment. I had excellent opportunities to work with professional engineers and attend conferences on current water quality issues, especially those specific to California. I found an internship with a local city full of a variety of experiences and a wonderful group of coworkers. And I'm still so thankful for God's provision of my amazing housemates.
So if you ask me about grad school, I won't be waxing poetic about it. And I definitely won't be saying that I'm continuing on for a Ph.D. (Really everyone. No.) But it did change me and I did learn from it and I'm thankful for that.
And no, I don't have a full-time job yet, but yes, I will be staying in California. I'm currently still living in Davis and working for the nearby city of Vacaville as a part-time engineering intern in the Utilities Department, which I started last July. Going on seven months now, I'm very thankful for the work there and my coworkers. We get along very well and I've gotten to work on all sorts of different projects, and a couple of the larger ones are getting close to being wrapped up, which is an amazing feeling. In my spare time, I've also finally gotten reacquainted with the local library and am loving delving back into giant stacks of books!
Oh, and I flew to Grand Rapids for a crazy three-week visit with friends, a sister and family road trip, my first white Christmas, and a bit of time back in California before settling in to the fact that I'll probably won't have such a long break from work for many, many years. More on that trip in a bit.
Also, this blog will probably undergo a few changes soon because I've graduated. I'm not quite sure what it will entail and how the blog will change in the future, but there will probably be a name change. You'll find out when I do!
Other questions? Leave me a comment below or check out a typical conversation with me.