Posted by: Audrey Thorstad | September 20, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Written in London Heathrow Airport on September 6, 2011

To be going home after being away for a year is bittersweet. It is so very sweet because I miss my family terribly, but it is bitter because it is only for two weeks. I am fully aware that upon returning to spending every day with my family I am not going to wait to leave. I have, of course, missed certain things about Duluth, and Minnesota in general. Besides my loved one, of course, I have missed the natural beauty of the North Shore and Lake Superior, the food and the gorgeous sight of the lake as you come to the top of the hill. However, my life in England has slowly starting to feel like home. I have the most wonderful boyfriend anyone could ask for, the tightest group of friends, who reside in the Le Patourel Room and who are always willing to help and support me as well as my research which has become a constant part of my life.

I have noticed that I seem to get to very different reactions when people ask what I am studying. It is either the reaction of pure excitement and interest which is always enjoyable because they usually ask questions about England, my travels my studies and where my love for everything medieval came from. However, the only other reaction I seem to get is, and I quote, ‘what are you going to do with that degree?’ or ‘there are no jobs for medieval historians’ or even, ‘you aren’t going to make any money in that career path’. I think my favorite part of this conversation is the look on their faces. It is a mixture between disgust, confusion and judgment. But one of the most important pieces of advice, multiple people have given me is, love what you do and it will never feel like work. And when I second guess what I am doing or doubt myself, I realize I couldn’t see myself doing anything else nor would I be happy doing anything, but constantly researching, writing and being involved in academia.
Where did this passion manifest? Who is to say. Perhaps, it is a combination of my love of Harry Potter, my world history class with Mrs. Ballavance and my curiosity in other cultures.

My place is in academia, I have no doubt in my mind. However, stressful, frightening or challenging it is, I know I would not want to be anywhere else right now. I have learned a lot this year, including getting out of your ‘comfort zone’ can be the most frightening experience you ever do, but in the end you won’t regret a second of it. I know now, for a fact, that I can do anything I put my mind to. I wrote 15,000 words on a topic I knew little about to begin with, yet by the end my thirst for knowledge was greater. The daunting task that lays ahead of me is, first and foremost, stressful but above that it is rewarding. I was nervous that my passion and drive for research, writing and history in general would have been distinguished after this intense year, but quite on the contrary it has been strengthened, my torch of passion is burning brighter than before. I want to do this…I need to do this. All I have to say to my PhD is bring it on.


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