November 12th, 2010: Lishi Moonbeam

Last year today, I was nervous and excited. I was exhausted and ready for it to be over. I arrived early, and saw one of my committee members. We chatted, and I went to the room to prepare. I plugged in the projector, loaded up my PowerPoint and my hands trembled as I placed the handouts at each seat. The audience trickled in. It was a small, but intimate group. The people who mattered the most were there. Two and a half years of experiences and research tumbled out with more ease than anticipated. My audience smiled when they saw pictures of the avatars sitting around a table during the focus groups. They posed questions; then the audience was excused. They left and I exhaled, hoping I had done justice to the Second Life educators of which I spoke. Now, the real defense began. My committee asked more questions, brought up some additions and revisions, and then they asked me to leave the room. I walked out to wait. After what seemed an eternity, they asked me back in, hugged me, and pronounced that it was official. I had earned my doctorate! Seven years of graduate school and I was finally finished.

Today I woke up excited, feeling refreshed (even if I am getting a cold). Exactly a year to the day, I will begin teaching my first university class as a Ph.D. I’ll go to work, leave two hours early and drive to the community college. It’s likely I won’t log in to Second Life until late tonight, if at all. That’s such a change from two years ago, when my life revolved around SL. I don’t use the same avatar I started with, I left her when I finished school. That avatar reflects my professional me, of which I don’t really want to be when I login to relax and play now. Even though I don’t login to that professional “me” for any purpose outside of my RL work, I reflect on that part of my Second Life today, and look back, grateful for the lessons learned, the friends made, and the time I have now to play and enjoy.

____________________

Lishi Moonbeam is 34 years old in real life and lives in Texas. In her real life, she authored a doctoral dissertation about educators’ experiences in Second Life. After spending over 3 years as a serious grown up in Second Life, Lishi  regressed to the age of 8. Lishi’s current choice of avatar represents her “playful self” as well as a desire to revisit the innocence and enjoyment of her childhood.  She toilet papers houses, flies kites and finds beauty in simplicity. She owns a small shop called Whimzie, blogs for Cosmic Scribbles, and spends time with her Second Life family.

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