Friday, July 1, 2011

Acknowledgments

I like writing in the blogging box.  It makes me happy. And I don't know why, but I think it's easier to write in the box than to write on a blank Word screen.  That's why I'm writing my thesis acknowledgments here.

My thesis is done, and all I have left is to write an acknowledgment page.  I've sat in front of my computer for the last thirty minutes trying to adequately recognize the many individuals who have helped me in my pursuit of a Master's Degree.  Honestly, I've been thinking about this page for nearly a year, trying to figure out how to thank those who have influenced my love of words and who have challenged me to seek answers to my many questions.

The problem is that I don't know where to start or how to fit this on a single page.  It's probably not possible to thank everyone, and I hesitate to start naming names for fear that I will leave someone out.  I probably don't need to worry.  It's not like they'll all read this page anyway.

I want to begin by thanking my mom and dad for encouraging my natural love for language and learning.  Every Saturday, when I was little, my dad gave me fifty cents, and we went to the book store and I bought a new book.  I don't know what other kids did with their allowance, but I wanted books.  My dad seemed to like that.  I never went anywhere without a book, and my dad seemed to like that too.  My dad's gone now, but I know he would be incredibly proud of his little girl who has grown up to become a teacher and a writer and an academic.

I have to thank Pastor Mike at Newbreak Church for challenging me to read the Bible and figure out what it says.  I grew up in a Christian home and memorized countless Scriptures, but I never really spent much time mulling over the meaning of passages or considering what the writers were trying to do.  I didn't know it at the time, but this was my first attempt at rhetorical analysis, and I loved it.  Not only did Mike whet my appetite for reading and studying books of the Bible, he allowed me to participate on the sermon team.  Together, we spent many hours in his office studying passages, looking at commentaries, and developing sermon outlines.  Mike has an amazing knack for knowing how to communicate persuasively, and I learned a great deal from watching him.  Working as his assistant renewed my desire to hone my own communication skills.

Despite my growing passion for rhetorical studies, I entered school cautiously.  I wasn't sure I could succeed at the graduate level, but the professors in the Rhetoric and Writing Studies department at San Diego State are amazing.  In particular, I want to thank Dr. McClish, who has challenged me to write precisely, most specifically in this thesis.  He graciously spent time answering questions and challenging me to think about new concepts.  Dr. McClish acts as a model for the type of teacher I desire to be.   I also want to thank Dr. Robinett for her cheerful smile and encouraging words.  Running into her in the hallways always brightens my day.  And I must thank her for pushing me into the Rhetoric, Literacy, and Technology class (RWS 511) taught by Dr. Werry.  Honestly, that class changed my understanding about writing and technology and language.  I never would have taken that class if she had not gently nudged me into it, and if I hadn't taken that class, I never would have discovered this project.  Thank you!

I can't thank Dr. Werry enough for introducing me to new media studies.  I love all aspects of rhetoric, but this one challenges my imagination in unique ways.  The class provided a broad overview on the topic of new media literacy studies, and Dr. Werry offered additional and extensive help as I began studying the rhetoric of Internet churches.  He pointed me in all the right directions and graciously challenged me to narrow my focus multiple times.  He empathized with my desire for perfection and consistently reminded me to give myself grace.  Over the course of the last year-and-a-half, he has spent many office hours listening to me talk about my research, discussing it with me, and asking questions prompting new lines of research.  I cannot thank him enough for his academic mentoring, related to this thesis as well as to pedagogy.

One of my greatest challenges is that I am insecure and doubt my abilities.  Certainly my professors were helpful in overcoming my timidity, but without my friends and family, I don't know that I ever would have returned to school.  I have been blessed with a great number of men and women in my life who pray for me, laugh with me, and lovingly prod me to finish.  Special thanks to Rodney and Beth for dinners with pinochle and bottles of red wine, to Dan and Denise for accepting me exactly as I am and making me laugh about it, to Amanda who doesn't mind telling me what to do, to Portia has prayed and fasted for this project, to Nancy who amuses me with Facebook anecdotes while I am writing, and to Cheryl, who loves unconditionally.  You remind me that there is more to life than school, and I am especially grateful for that.

I know there are more people I should thank--all the women in the Life Group that just ended and the Life Group before that and some former coworkers and the list goes on and on.  I cannot list all your names so I will thank you in person as I see you.

Additional thanks to Michelle Barbeau, Bridget Malaney, and Laura Hofreiter, who are also in the final stages of finishing their theses in the RWS department.  Together, we have commiserated about the process of thesis writing and graduate studies and the challenge of teaching and finishing school.  It's been good to know I'm not in this alone.

And finally, I must thank my family.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am to have you in my life.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep going.  Thank you for challenging me to pursue goals set aside many years ago.  Thank you for doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, taking me out to dinner, doing countless other things I didn't have the energy to do, and putting up with incoherent monologues about Aristotle, Walter Ong, and computer-mediated communication.

I am grateful for all the people God has placed in my life.  No accomplishment is every achieved independently.  I could not have finished this project on my own.  

4 comments:

nancy b said...

Oh, good grief. I'm only on the paragraph about your dad and I'm already crying.

K. Flewelling said...

i wish i could be there to celebrate, but congratulations! what a journey. loving you.<3

K. Flewelling said...

i wish i could be there to celebrate, but congratulations! what a journey. loving you.<3

cheryl said...

You amaze and astound me. As you achieve the dream of your life I pray for your heart can somehow see what we all see. An amazing woman of God. You are so precious, so loving, so full of Grace. You are so loved because you love so well. Thank you for being my friend. Congratulations on finishing this goal...now onto the next?!!!