An excerpt from the final draft of the thesis of Jasmeet Dhillon
“The pursuit of my master’s degree in adult education has been an exciting journey, one filled with challenges, rewards, and successes. This master’s degree was definitely the right program for me. It has helped me discover who I am on a personal and professional level. Most importantly, it has helped me discover the gift of learning.
To describe how my learning has affected me, I look back at my own experiences with school and education. I acknowledge that previously my motivations for learning were to get good grades, to make my parents happy, and to get a career. I only read those books that teachers asked us to read and only studied the information that we would be tested on. I did well in school, but I can honestly say that I did not ever enjoy learning. In reflection, I was not a self-directed learner. But at the time I was not able to acknowledge that, nor was it important to me. Since I have started working on my master’s degree, I have truly enjoyed learning simply for the sake of learning. For the first time in my life, I honestly believe I have become a self-directed learner. This statement comes from a true moment of open and honest critical reflection, one that I would not have had prior to beginning my master’s degree in adult education.
Personally, the idea of being a self-directed learner has impacted me in a very profound way. I feel fortunate to have discovered the gift of self-directed learning. One of my goals with my daughter Kirpa is to try to teach her about the joys of learning and to be a self-directed learner—something I only recently discovered. This will prepare her for a lifetime of learning. I owe this to the Master in Adult Education program at StFX. I do believe that starting and persevering through this program was one of the best decisions of my life.
Professionally, I have discovered that my true area of interest and passion lies in working with various cultural groups in the area of nutrition and health education. Presently, my most immediate goal is to complete the Master in Adult Education program at StFX. Upon completion, I plan to establish new short and long term goals that encompass nutrition, health, adult education, and working with the ethnic community. Working on the master’s degree has helped me gain confidence in my abilities as an adult educator.
I truly have discovered that I have a great passion for learning and teaching, and I look forward to sharing this with others. I believe that an adult educator who is passionate in his or her beliefs can make a difference. I believe that I am a passionate adult educator.”
An excerpt from the AE530 assignment of Joy Van Kleef
“I could not be more positive about the orientation program. From the beginning, I felt a combined feeling of empowerment and responsibility. It was clear that I would be given a lot of latitude in determining what I would study, but it was equally clear that the responsibility for accomplishing my program rested with me. I was struck by the design of the orientation’s daily programming, the attitudes of our advisors, and the effort that had gone into involving students in decision-making and continuous feedback. It was unlike any educational activity I had experienced and an excellent model to follow. Its intensity also served to draw the cohort together, and the support I received and was able to give was also an excellent learning experience.”
An excerpt from email correspondence with Lil McPhail
“I seem to be hearing horror stories about my colleagues’ experiences with their master’s theses. One, in particular, is having a terrible time getting ANY feedback about her thesis drafts. Weeks and months go by and she hears nothing. She’s ready to tear her hair out (or hire a lawyer!) These stories make me realize how smoothly the process worked for me at StFX. You certainly did your job well! You were always ‘available’ to me, and kept your commitments around reviewing my work. I always felt that what I was doing was important to you. (I guess I thought that these things were ‘givens,’ but obviously, they are not—even at some big(ger) name universities.) Anyway, once again, thanks for all of your help! I am still surprising myself with how I’ve changed and what I’ve learned as a result of the program.”
An excerpt from email correspondence with Lynn Best
“I’ve had a couple of interesting insights today. First, I’ve spent most of the day immersed in Christina Balwin’s book Life’s Companion. It is about journal writing and the quest for spirituality. I’m not sure if you know the book or not. It is wonderful. But for the first time, I am equating journal writing with the concept of “journey”. As my daughter would say, “Duh!!” Why has it taken me so long to connect these two clearly very connected things? It is blatantly obvious now, of course, but I never made that connection before. (Please do not report me to the registrar—I’m too far along to get kicked out because of stupidity!)
Second, as Josie would say, “I gotta tell ya,” I really feel like I’m EARNING this degree. Unlike other academics hoops I have jumped, this experience so far has required a huge investment of myself—and the further I go, the more grounded I feel in that investment. I feel like I know things—not everything!—but good things about my topic and about practice. I think I have a
better understanding of why this program is designed this way. I am glad to be here, in this program, at this time in my life. Enough—George Jones is on the radio, the February wind is howling around my house, and the books are waiting. Thanks for listening. Enjoy your week-end. Lynn.”