Saturday, October 27, 2012

Introducing...Kathleen Haynie, M.F.A. (that's me!)

My thesis is finished. Done.

I met with my thesis committee yesterday. The oral examination lasted for an hour. I already knew all three of the committee members, as I've taken classes from all of them while I've been in the Creative Writing program. The chair of the committee was my advisor, Michael McGregor, with whom I've been working on the thesis for going on 3 years now. He knows me and this piece of writing waaaay too well.

Anyway, here's how it went.

Friday midday. A few pigeons greeted me as I walked across the PSU campus. They were more interested in the scraps near the food carts than in me hurrying to my VIM (Very Important Meeting). It was a lovely autumn day.

How many times have I climbed these stairs (4 flights!) to get to the English department? I know it seems silly, but I will miss the feeling of anticipation I had every time. I guess I'm pretty nerdy - I love taking classes. (Even if I whine about them at the time.)

 The conference room where we met. Since I arrived first, I positioned myself on the side of the table that looked out into the beautiful autumn trees. It was a calming view. Not that I needed a lot of calming down. Their questions about my writing were kind, they gave me a number of generous suggestions for future revision work, and while the whole experience was definitely academic, it was also fairly informal.

This photo was taken shortly after they told me "congratulations." That's my advisor, Michael McGregor, on the left. Then me, then Diana Abu-Jaber via skype. (She is on sabbatical in Florida - during the meeting we could see palm trees blowing around - she was sitting in front of a window - Hurricane (storm?) Sandy was blowing through during my thesis defense.) On the right is the third member of the committee, Paul Collins.

After the meeting concluded I went to the graduate computer lab and used their software to finish formatting the thesis for its electronic submission. I had heard that the formatting could be a real bear. The trickiest part is the page numbering. (No page numbers for the first few pages, then a section with lower-case Roman numerals, and then the bulk of the thesis in regular Arabic numbers. Microsoft Word is not a fan. I had to create three separate PDF documents and then use the on-campus version of Adobe Professional to combine them into one long document.)  Before I drove home I had all of the final paperwork turned in, and my PDF'd version of the thesis ready to electronically submit, which I did later that night.

I arrived home to lovely roses from Mark, and a salmon dinner underway. Mmmmmm...

I'm not planning to walk through graduation. I've already done that three times (Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Arts in Teaching). Plus Mark and I help out every year with the high school graduation, where we wear our university gowns with the "hood" for the masters degree.

How to celebrate this Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing? I'd like to host a party where I read excerpts from the thesis and we eat yummy food. Maybe I'll wear a graduation gown and the hood for PSU - I can probably rent one from Jostens. Stay tuned!


Chris said...

So awesome! Congratulations!

Chris said...

Uh, that was Anna. Chris is asleep.

Lily said...

Hi Kathy, oh, how great! Congratulations to your M. F. A! I'm really happy for you :-)

Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

Congratulations, Mom! So happy for you! It must feel so good to be done.

Patricia said...

Kathy, this is so fantastic.

Katie Lewis said...


Dorothy said...

So glad I got to say Congratulations with a hug attached! Way to go! (But then I never doubted that you would get'er done. :)

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

Of course you should walk, and get to wear the cool robes! And you should have them so you can wear them when you help with graduation at the high school! This is a BIG deal, and just because defending your thesis was laid back, it doesn't change that you did a LOT of work, and you did that work VERY well! You should be proud of your accomplishment, I know that everyone who loves you is excited!!

Also, we will be very close by, so it would be fun to host your graudation party, (appetizers and desserts nibbles?) from out 14th floor corner loft that lets you see all your favorite mountains from the huge windows!

I think some very smart, wonderfully insightly woman telling me once that walking at graduation and having a party afterwards is part of how you let everyone who loved and supported you be a part of celebrating a milestone. (May 1994 in the dining room of an old blue farmhouse somewhere in Oregon City)

I am VERY proud of you, and all the hard work you put in. I am also glad that you are an example to so many people, who want to be like you and are inspired by you, and so they keep following their dreams!

Bridget said...