Post-Defense Reflection

Well, first things first, I SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDED MY DISSERTATION ON MARCH 4, 2015!!!!

To be perfectly honest, although I was extremely nervous before the defense (and was feeling a bit sick to my stomach and like I could cry), once I began my presentation I calmed down a lot. I was thrown by some of the questions asked by my committee, but for the most part they made suggestions for revision or future research, and in the end, when I was asked how it went by those not in attendance, the first word that came to mind was “easy.” It was easy. I was ready. I trusted my knowledge and expertise. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and now all that remains is the graduation ceremony on May 7th.

Now, all that being said, everything now feels oddly anti-climatic. I expected some kind of euphoria or to at least feel different after the defense and the unofficial granting of my doctorate. But I didn’t and I still don’t almost a month later. While at first I thought it was just taking a bit to sink in, I’m not so sure now.

To be sure, my defense was immediately followed by a series of unfortunate events. I got sick the next day and had trouble kicking it. I suspect adrenaline kept it at bay until the defense was over, because now that I think back I was taking 3-4 hour naps during the day in the two weeks leading up March 4. I also tripped over my puppy and messed up my knee for a while. Then I got sick again. And through it all, I was receiving rejection letters from teaching positions I had applied for prior to the defense. Finally, the online fairy-tale course I was going to teach this summer was cancelled. Basically, there hasn’t been much good news.

So now I’m hoping that either the graduation ceremony or the eventual teaching position will give me the feeling of accomplishment that I’m still missing. The worries associated with lack of employment certainly aren’t helping, but I’m a firm believer in education for the sake of knowledge, so while unemployment may be worrisome, it shouldn’t be the defining factor of my achievement. But then again, maybe I will eventually be forced to realize that it is the missing piece.

I know this isn’t the happiest reflection, but I think it helps to express my mixed feelings. I have been enjoying the recent downtime, although I find myself increasingly antsy to get back to work. I have been eyeing some books I’ve been wanting to read, so maybe I’ll move on to that or revision next. I’ve also been thinking about putting together some sample syllabi and/or revamping this blog sometime soon. So many options . . .

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