I know it’s been a while, but assure you, the reasons have been good.
When deployment hits, there are a number of ways that wives start to deal with it. Some go into hibernation. They board themselves up away from everyone, and live quiet, reserved lives away from society for a while til their husband comes home. Others start to become even more extraverted, mostly because they can’t stand the silence in their own home. This Batgirl, however, decided to take a different approach. Quite literally for the past month I have been completely swamped in my thesis project to complete my master’s program. Finally, as of yesterday, I finished my last two classes of my master’s program.
Now, let me tell you about this project. It was quite literally the project to end all projects. One thesis to rule them all. You know, that one thing that can make you or break you when it comes to your entire education career. The premise was to create a marketing plan from start to finish for the American Red Cross. Sounds easy,right? Well, keep in mind that a marketing plan includes creating a business to present the marketing plan, writing an opening letter, background, and target market, running surveys and focus groups, creating a SWOT Analysis, Integrated Communication Strategy Statement and Creative Brief, as well as write actual plans for Communication, Integration, Public Relations, Internal Communication, and Evaluation. Oh, and don’t forget the calendar of when the completed advertisements will run or the budget of the whole campaign or the Appendices that list resource after resource and result after result.
I chose to create a campaign called “The Second Chance Campaign.” The idea behind this was to give the target market, 16 to 24 year old students, a sense of reality. By playing up the idea of un-foreseen circumstances, such as a illnesses or accidents which are out of their control. It was meant to teach them that people in their age group could potentially need blood transfusions too, and that they, by donating blood, could be someone’s second chance at life.
Now, this is a lot of work normally. Add in Green Lantern’s deployment to my stress levels, and you get a very frazzled super hero. So maybe you are wondering now “BG, how did you possibly get all of that done in just 9 weeks?” Well, what you should really be wondering is how I got it done in 5. Another rule of deployment applies here: as soon as your soldier steps out of the door, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. This was when my laptop, after I printed and mailed off my midterm to my teacher, decided to have a complete hard drive failure. If you guessed I lost everything… well… you would be right.
My last five weeks were a flurry of work. I had to buy a new computer, and I sat in front of said computer AT LEAST 8 hours a day, most of the time more, and into the wee hours of the morning rewriting and reworking everything I had lost, and then pushing forward into the new section. I designed piece after piece of advertising in all different kinds of mediums. I wrote page after page. I gave it every ounce of energy I had. And finally… the light at the end of tunnel. Finally it was done.
My campaign was 82 pages long, hand bound with a Japanese Stab Stitch binding. My parents built a custom box for the book so that it would fit perfectly (Shout out to them by the way — AMAZING and THANK YOU). I also had collateral material printed (post-it notes, pens, and a t-shirt) printed so that it would be visible how much time and thought and effort I put into the project. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted it to look professional. I wanted to make them believe that this campaign could be real.
So here I sit. I turned in my last assignment monday, and though there was that rush of relief that normally comes after completing another quarter, I didn’t go straight into the serene, happy I’m-gonna-do-nothing-but-sit-around feeling didn’t come. It was instead replaced by this lost puppy kind of feeling. I had clung to school for years and years. When I had graduated with my bachelor’s two months after I turned 20, I didn’t feel ready for the “real world.” I opted to go back, holding on design school like it would be a lifeline for me when things got difficult. Eventually, that feeling transferred to my grad school program. Suddenly, that safety net was gone. That thing I could always count on, that thing that had been the only focus and most important driving force in my life, was turned off just like that. Like a light switch.
Graduation always ushers in a new section of your life, whether you are ready for it or not. Am I finally ready to be out of school? Yes. I miss Green Lantern. I’m ready for him to come back to me, and for us to have a normal life. I’m ready to work a job and not have to worry about the pile of schoolwork waiting for me when I come home. I’m truly feel like I am a place where I can accept and move on with my life past school. But the terrifying thought I’m having now is this realization that I have done and taken on so much higher education at this point that don’t really know who I am without school. I guess it is up to Green Lantern and I to find out.
Until Next Time,