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Coddiwompling to a Degree

By Amy Nielsen

Coddiwomple (v.) - To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

The Urban Dictionary. I am beginning to believe a master’s program is designed to allow one the space to coddiwomple along in interesting topics with real world implications towards an eventual narrowing of focus upon reaching that vague destination of graduation.

Somewhere in the future on a day probably already determined, because this is higher education and they like to know where they are wandering to, is my eventual graduation date. I am now four weeks into my program and I can say for sure I am coddiwompling along.

Every day brings a new slice of knowledge, often hard fought for, especially in classes like organic chemistry. Every assignment has me focusing deeper and at the same time farther afield in my research than I have before. Each interaction with a fellow student opens a new networking opportunity.

It’s fall in upstate New York and I want to be outside hiking in these beautiful hills. As I work through my assignments, I am led in interesting new directions that have me not quite questioning my career choice, but more wondering what else I can do with it. Where else can I go? I started looking into some of the topics we were discussing in my classes with a more local focus. How do these topics effect my immediate community?

To that end and with that research, I set up several meetings in the last week, some planned and some happened by serendipity, which has given me a new wind beneath my wings.

Coddiwompling (v)

I wrote a piece for a school project that I was proud of. I posted it to my personal Facebook page. A friend read it and shared it. I was then contacted by another gal who wants to get together and talk specifics of that mini-paper and more about deep down nitty gritty sciency nutrition. She happens to be well connected with a network of fellow practitioners, has many of the same interests besides nutrition, and seems like a super neat gal. So I will make the time to go for a coffee date to talk bromides and cellular oxidation and maybe make a new friend.

“To travel in a purposeful manner”

Yesterday I took my girls to our monthly homeschool meet up. There was a new family with a girl my older daughter’s age. They got chatting as kids do and I got to know her mom a bit. It came up in conversation that I am looking for places to teach and her organization might be a good fit. Lo and behold, her supervisor sent me an email last night asking for more information about my classes and how she could incorporate them into her already planned and filled upcoming weekend-long wellness event. The organization happens to be one I am studying for my concepts in wellness class. Serendipity with a bit of a push from purpose.

“towards a vague destination”

I was beginning to feel very much like a fish out of water, rapidly losing the fight to flop back into the stream. In fact, I was drowning in the program. Until I met a fish in a gallery.

Do you believe in signs? I do. I’ve been seeing a theme of fish in my life lately. Fish are coming up in everything I do, trout specifically. I went to check out an organization about partnering with them and spent an hour taking aquaponics and which fish fit the system best. I was walking to my office and the gallery next door happened to be open – the first time I have ever seen it open. I went in and shouting at me from across the room, I saw a glorious print of the same fish we were talking about. The gallery happens to be owned by a person who could be a mutually beneficial partner for us both. Then the kicker, I saw a giant salmon in the clouds of a stunning sunset on the crest of my favorite ridge on the way home. Perhaps I’ll start fishing.

Coddiwomple (v) To wander purposefully towards a vague destination.

I spent the first few weeks of this program having flashbacks to both horrible and terrific undergraduate experiences. I had to remember how to learn in this style again. I had to screw up the courage to dig in and get serious about this. I had to have a few come to my senses moments when I received failing grades on assignments. But in every journey there are hills to climb, and if one is wandering purposefully, one does not go around the hills, one goes over them. Otherwise there is a very nice seat next to a window sill to sit at.

This past week I have found the purpose to this joyful little coddiwomple of a master’s program I am going to take. That destination will be not so vague much faster than I wish it will I fear, so I had better enjoy the journey while I am on it. Onward!

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