Thursday, April 27, 2006

Almost there

I can't believe I am almost done with the coursework for my MA. I have comprehensive exams starting in about three weeks (three exams in total). Then I'll be independently working on my dissertation for about 3 1/2 months. That's the fun part - I'm really excited to get started on that. In the meantime, all my time is being spent revising and preparing for exams. It's a bit nervewracking because I haven't taken an exam in about six years. The way our exams are structured (three thematic essay questions in three hours - per exam), it is as much about strategy as it is about content. Each exam is worth 50% of the total for that course. That's the scary bit!

Meanwhile, the weather is getting warmer. It's still chilly out but the sun is becoming more visible and the skies are getting bluer. It's the kind of weather where you just want to lay down in the park and read, or sit outside at a café or pub with friends and just blow off the whole afternoon. But, sadly, I can't do either, because the library has become my second home! But I'm looking forward to May 22, the day of my last exam. Only then will I be able to really appreciate London for the glorious city that it really is!

I can't believe I've been living here for nearly a year. It's really gone by fast. Sometimes I catch myself, walking down the street, going to class or whatever, and it hits me: I'm really here - in London - doing my MA/PhD. I had been waiting for this for four years before I finally managed to put my life in Kuwait on pause and get my ass over here. I had gotten so caught up with work and life, that "grad school in London" slowly became that thing that you always know you're gonna do, but the image of yourself actually doing it starts to fade. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to actually see yourself doing it. So when I actually made the decision to finally get up and go, the process of applying to schools, applying for scholarships, packing up, etc - they all became motions that I was going through without really thinking too much about the actual thing I was doing. And then, suddenly, one day, I looked around and found myself in London. And now, it's nearly a year later, and I'm almost at the end of the first big step.

Life's a funny little thing, isn't it?


  • I dont get it, are you saying time doesn't exist, but the weather changes?

    By Blogger nibaq, at 4/27/2006 5:09 pm  

  • I am seriously considering changing niqabophobia to nibaqophobia, so watch it! ;)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 4/27/2006 7:18 pm  

  • Good luck :) Mashallah, I admire you. I'm planning to get some sort of supplementary degree (probably in London!) and I want to get it over with as soon as I graduate from college (December!) because I know it's hard to move to Kuwait and then move out again...again, good luck with your exams :))

    By Blogger Erzulie, at 4/27/2006 10:03 pm  

  • Erzulie: Hmmm, your comment has me thinking, and this might be a long-ish reply! I'll start off by saying I think it's great that you're thinking about going for a postgraduate degree - definitely go for it.

    As for when to start with grad school, there are pros and cons to each option - taking some time off to work and live life for a bit vs. going straight after undergrad. Obviously I did the former - but initially I wasn't planning on waiting four years! It's just that I kept getting these great opportunities that would have been insane for me to pass up. Now that I'm in grad school, I am soooooo glad that I did take that time off. First, it allows you to make sure that grad school, and your field, is something you REALLY wanna do. Second, sometimes it helps you figure out what you definitely DON'T want to do! Third, and I know it's a cliché, but there's something about that "life experience" that is just so crucial - even if you're working in something that has nothing to do with your academic field. It adds a whole new dimension to what you can bring into the classroom as a postgrad student. You notice a significant difference between students who came straight from undergrad (who come to grad school still fresh in the undergrad mindset, which can actually be a negative aspect inside the classroom) - and those who took some time off to do whatever - work, travel, learn a language, etc.

    Having said that, I totally get what you mean about moving back to Kuwait and then having to leave again. I have felt that pain first hand! It's hard because this time, you're on your own. I mean, when we graduate high school, everyone else is leaving too so it makes it easier (except for family of course, but then you're 18 and just DYING to get out there on your own!). When we graduate college, again, everyone else is dispersing too - finding jobs, going to grad school, etc. But when I left Kuwait to come to London, it was just me - I was leaving a whole life behind...one that I had spent four years cultivating to perfection. That was - and is and will be until I go back - hard as hell! Then again, being in Kuwait for those four years helped me realize for certain, for the first time in my life, that Kuwait is the place that I want to settle down in. And I also created a Life for myself that I am so completely excited to go back to, which helps me now because it gives me a fixed point to focus on while I'm here. And hey, if I hadn't stayed I never would have met my P! ;)

    Just my thoughts on the matter! :) Anyway, if you ever want any advice or info on schools/programmes in London let me know. q8kleio@gmail.com.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 4/28/2006 12:37 am  

  • your dedication makes me realize, more vividly, how i'm not cut out for postgraduate study

    but i'm sure you can agree, THE reason .. no, let me say that again, THE ONLY, no, let me say that yet again, THE ONE AND ONLY reason/motive for anyone to get into a PG programme is their love of the field

    don't love the field?
    don't do a PG degree

    bas yala ma 3alaih, kil I6RAAG b ta3looma.. i learned that the hard(er) way

    By Blogger Temetwir, at 4/28/2006 2:27 am  

  • temetwir: "THE ONE AND ONLY reason/motive for anyone to get into a PG programme is their love of the field." Absolutely. If you don't LOVE what you're doing, you won't be able to survive.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 4/28/2006 2:58 am  

  • Good luck with the exams and then do enjoy London! Shop for the both of us ;)

    By Blogger Raine, at 4/28/2006 6:13 pm  

  • Good luck with the exams and then do enjoy London! Shop for the both of us ;)

    By Blogger Raine, at 4/28/2006 6:13 pm  

  • All the best :)

    By Anonymous F., at 4/28/2006 9:52 pm  

  • Raine: Shop? With what money? ;)

    F: Thanks!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 4/29/2006 2:03 am  

  • You just saying nibaqphobia because my idea of using fire or loud sex for your neighbors is sounding more appealing.

    By Blogger nibaq, at 4/29/2006 8:38 am  

  • dear k,

    from a trained historian to a budding one: what's the topic of your thesis?

    if you don't want to post public - my e-mail's on my blog.


    By Blogger raf*, at 5/04/2006 12:28 am  

  • Raf: For academic reasons, in general I prefer not to share my dissertation topic information at this point in time (mainly because my topic has never been researched before and, as you know, protecting your original idea is crucial!) :) However, I'll certainly keep you posted in the future! Thank you for your interest, and welcome to my blog (which, as you'll notice, I tend to keep totally separate from my actual academic ideas/thoughts).

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/04/2006 1:56 am  

  • dear k,

    that's fair enough. makes me wonder what weird school you're at, though ... in the u.s. it's normal that everyone knows what everyone else is working on. come to think of it - there's no way one could even keep it a secret - you have to present your project in seminars (yes, that's plural).

    well ... for all that's worth - you do have my e-mail address. and you're more than welcome to visit @ www.aqoul.com.


    By Blogger raf*, at 5/04/2006 2:38 am  

  • Raf: First of all, you really do not need to teach me about what grad school entails. I am perfectly aware of the seminars that we attend and present in - I AM IN GRAD SCHOOL.

    When I said I prefered not sharing my topic, I was refering to sharing my topic with a RANDOM STRANGER on the INTERNET. Obviously the people I work with in my programme, students and faculty alike, are well aware of my topic, as I am of theirs. I have also shared my project ideas with people who are in the field who might not necessarily be affiliated with my university. I have also shared my research topic with some people I know IN REAL LIFE. But I'm definitely not about to share my research idea with a complete stranger who I know nothing about, over the internet, before I've even begun writing. ANYONE in ANY reputable graduate programme ANYWHERE in the world would agree to that. That is the difference between an academic historian and this new wave of amateur historians that has hit the web - web-based historians can post/share their ideas/research online as it progresses because that is their primary medium of publication. Academic historians, on the other hand, are more hesitant to do so, especially when their research is still in its nascent stages.

    As for what "wierd school" I'm in - I am actually in the number one research university in the world for my field. My research supervisor is the most well-known historian internationally on the topic I'm working on - and some of the most famous historians in the world, in general, are my professors. Again, no need to inform me how it's done in grad school.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/04/2006 4:48 am  

  • To clarify - not that there's anything wrong with being a web-based historian, it's just done very differently from how it is academically.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/04/2006 5:14 am  

  • dear k,

    we're miscommunicating. and since i seem to be the one who started it - i do apologize.


    By Blogger raf*, at 5/04/2006 1:13 pm  

  • To avoid miscommunication, I just think you need to work on the way you phrase your comments. Kind of makes you come off sounding arrogant and condescending, which is probably not your intention, which is why I'm pointing it out.

    Anyway, no problem!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 5/04/2006 1:19 pm  

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