After two years of hard work, my thesis is finally done. I submitted it, got my grade back (8,3/10!) and once I’ve had the ceremony I can officially call myself Master of Arts.
I know myself well enough to have been a little bit afraid to fall into a black hole once my thesis would be done, but luckily, I’m full of exciting plans to keep myself busy.
First of all, I found myself some financial stability. When my husband graduated I saw the kind of stress it can be to be unemployed. Knowing it can be a while before I might get a PhD-position, I was very glad when the literary organisation I did an internship where four years ago offered me a job. It’s a contract for a year and a half, to organise their 25-year anniversary, so I’ll have an income while I explore further possibilities and it’s still in the literary sector! It looks like I’m going to be working with all kinds of writers so that’s going to be fun.
While in that position of luxury, I’m still keeping my eye on the PhD-ball. First of all, I’m shoving everyone who is even remotely interesting my thesis in their face. I’m e-mailing with professors both in the Netherlands and South-Africa, hoping they think my work is interesting. By talking about my thesis with them I hope to get advise on how to write a good research proposal for my PhD. After all, they have so much more knowledge than I have on what the most interesting subjects for research are.
I also try to create a bit of an academic name for myself. In October, I will be speaking at the Colloquium vir Afrikaans, a wonderful conference I visited last year as well, where I will be discussing a part of my thesis in front of all the big names in the field (of course I’m not nervous. It’s just a huge amount of professors. And Breyten Breytenbach himself). I also submitted my thesis for the Africa Thesis Award, where the first prize is not just 500 euros, but also a publication in a real journal. Publications are important so I’m also jotting down ideas for other papers that I might be able to publish, and I’m e-mailing organisations that could give me a podium for a lecture.
Besides that, it’s just plain old studying. My job is four days per week, and the fifth day is for studying. I have a huge list of Afrikaans books I still need to read, research I have to do to prepare my lectures. There are so many things to read and to reread. For my research proposal, I’ll have to do a lot of research as well, but honestly, I’m looking forward to it. There’s a reason I want to do a PhD on this subject, and that is because it still all seems so fascinating to me.