I went to second-year residency and didn’t attend a single class
It’s Friday, the last day of my two-week MA in Professional Communication (MAPC) second year residency. I’ve already started packing to head home. And I haven’t been to class – not even once – since I’ve been on campus.
I’m in a unique position among my cohort. I completed Royal Roads’ Graduate Certificate in Professional Communication Management a few years ago, and two courses in that program also apply towards my master’s degree. So I don’t have any more classes left – I’m a thesis away from finishing my degree.
So, why did I still come to residency? It’s a question I’ve had to answer several times before I came, from my family at home, and from my classmates. It’s a question with several answers.
I wanted to hang out with my friends. The cohort system at Royal Roads is a profound experience. Our first residency, last year, was an intensive three weeks. We came together barely knowing each other, but through those weeks of lectures, readings, group projects, and presentations, we parted as an extremely close, tight-knit group. We’re family.
You sound like me. The cohort experience is so much deeper than hanging out. As much as I’ve felt my brain changing since starting MAPC – with a whole new world of theory and academics opening up before me – I know that my classmates are going through the same thing. We’re walking together in that process, supporting and challenging and relying on each other. They’re a natural support group, and a community of new emerging scholars whose experiences and insights are invaluable.
Access to faculty. The road to a thesis is a very individual journey, but the faculty at Royal Road have helped others along it. Being on campus and able to meet with my thesis supervisor has been very helpful. But so has the presence of other faculty members with whom I can have less formal conversations; a few moments over coffee or in an elevator can help navigate through the process. These professors’ wealth of knowledge can point me towards a new theorist or line of thought to open up a new trail.
Time and space. My life at home is busy. I work full-time, volunteer, and raise three children along with my wife. My family have been incredibly accommodating of the time I’ve needed to dedicate to my degree. But that time is often interrupted and carved out among my other responsibilities. Having the luxury to be on campus for two weeks has given me mental space to think, to reflect, and to refine my understanding of my thesis topic. And the beauty of the school’s physical space and grounds has given me inspiration as I spend hours pursuing the data collection process that will lead to my thesis output, and ultimately my degree.
In retrospect, coming to campus was the right decision for me to make. I invested in myself, and I believe the output of my research will be richer for the work I’d done here. I’m grateful for the chance to reconnect with my classmates, with my research topic, and with the wider scholarly community that Royal Roads offers.