It has been quite some time since I last updated my blog. That is because I spent the last few months defending and intensely revising my thesis for my second MA degree at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey.
Writing a thesis was quite challenging for me. I did not write a thesis for my BA at Syracuse University or even my first MA at Indiana University Bloomington (we had qualifying exams instead). While I can drudge through academic writing when necessary, I take no pleasure in it, even if I am passionate about the subject matter. As someone who prefers to write in a more narrative, journalistic style, I find the constant interruption of citations quite jarring.
But by now everything is complete. My advisor and university administration approved my thesis content and formatting, I signed and submitted all paperwork to the Turkish Education Bureau, and my thesis was printed and submitted to the Dean’s Office. Since finishing my thesis, I have felt a huge weight be lifted from my shoulders. Working full-time while writing a thesis was no walk in the park. I started to wonder if the wretched process would ever be finished. The submission of one’s thesis is stressful enough, and I had to endure it ten-fold trying to organize everything from the United States.
Since finishing my thesis, I have found myself exploring multiple hobbies that I just simply did have the time for previously. Now I actually read for pleasure. I’ve since ordered books on language construction, linguistic anthropology, and forensic linguistics simply for the pleasure of sating my passion for languages.
I have also been inspired to cook more often, trying new recipes. Now that I don’t have to come home from work just to continue working on my thesis, I find myself have more energy during the week. My best dish so far has been my garlic-spiced tilapia.
Now that my writing energy is no longer devoted to my thesis, I have shifted my focus to the various novels that have been left on the back-burner of my mind for far too long. I’ve committed myself to writing a quota of several hundred words a day, and maybe if the creative juices are flowing smoothly enough, I can finally participate in the National Novel Writing Month that happens every November.
Yet another hobby I finally have the time for is learning Farsi, the native language of my love, Amin Sophiamehr. I originally was going to start learning Farsi when I started my program in Turkey, as my university did offer the language, but alas, they did not approve it as an acceptable elective that would go towards my specific program. Luckily I already know the alphabet from Arabic and I have already been introduced to many words and similar grammatical structures through Turkish.
As difficult as it was, I am glad that I went through with finishing my thesis and my degree. Some people in my position would have simply abandon the program after the failed military coup in Turkey. I already have a Master’s degree form an American university; leaving the program would not have been that detrimental to my professional development. However, I believed it to be critical for my own personal development. Now I have a much better cultural and political understanding of Turkey that I could not have acquired anywhere else.