17 December 2012

My Calvin Seminary Th.M. thesis - more than 5 years late

During my visit to family and SBL in November, I also made a very important stop in Grand Rapids. I was finally able to defend my thesis for the Master of Theology degree.The defense went well, and I only have to make a few corrections before submitting it to the Calvin College librarian. I'm hoping/planning on having it done within a few weeks, so I can finally finish this project that is already five years late!

When I started this blog almost 7 years ago, I was taking classes for my Master of Theology Degree (and incidentally finishing up the last of my Master of Divinity classes). I did much of the research for my Th.M thesis in the summer of 2006, while I was also trying to get ready to move to Amsterdam. Not surprisingly, I didn't get it done, and I continued doing research while working for my M.A. degree here at the Vrije Universiteit. At the same time that I began writing my Th.M. thesis, I was also beginning to write my M.A. thesis. Lent of 2007, however, was dedicated solely to my Th.M. thesis. The entries on my blog for March of that year are coloured by that. A few days after Easter, I handed in the final version of the thesis only to find out a week or so later that my thesis had not been accepted. It was too short (at 75 pages double-spaced) and inadequately defended. However, I needed to work on finishing the M.A. thesis so it got postponed to another time. The MA thesis took longer than expected, and I signed up for an extra class in teaching, and so it would be the summer of 2008 before I looked at it again. And then there was my work on the database at the VU and not being sure of how to sort through the problems I couldn't defend well in 2006, and progress was haphazard when and if it occurred.

However, this past summer was the end of my final extension for handing it in - and I spent quite a bit of time this past winter and spring quietly working on it with the goal of finishing off what I'd started. Time and more research had also helped me sort out some of the things I was uncertain of earlier. At the end of July, I handed in the corrected thesis, a product I was much happier with than what I'd originally wrote, even as I'm not entirely sure what I should do with it (besides making the required corrections and handing it in). The thesis itself ended up being about 150 pages. Even though it's double-spaced, it's closer to dissertation length than master's thesis length. Having spent so much extra time on it, it is not surprising that it is much longer - I did, after all, want to show that the extra time was worth it (although fewer words and done earlier was more ideal)!

The best part of having finished the thesis is the sense of joy and satisfaction in finishing a project that felt like it would never have an end, a feeling I often have with my Ph.D. dissertation. Furthermore, since I could finish this mini-dissertation after all the work and delays, why should I doubt that I can finish the full dissertation, which I've done even more and better research on?

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