04 April 2011


I passed the oral defense of my dissertation today. That means I'm all but done with my PhD. Afterward, they called me "doctor." They even gave me a little card that says so. Cake was cut, champagne served. It felt surreal. I was exhausted. I just wanted to leave, call my family, and then crash in my hotel. Which is what I did.

I'm forty-three. I've been in school almost my whole life. I've spent about nine years just working (or, ahem, not working) on my dissertation, in some form or another. I don't mind the time so much, but the stress? There are no words. There have been times where I literally felt like I was slipping into cardiac arrest. Today, waiting to go into my orals, was one of them. Really, there are no words.

It took too long, the cost was too high, the grief too great, to celebrate this as an accomplishment. At least right now. I don't want to walk at graduation, and won't. I don't care about the diploma. I'm not happy, or relieved. I'm numb. Numb. I just want to be with my family, and really, really relax, and start to discover what life looks like post-PhD.


Mister Fweem said...

Congratulations, Carl. I'm sure there are many in your shoes who feel immense relief at a task accomplished -- once the numbness wore off. Or maybe the champagne . . . ;)

Tani said...

Ooooh, can I have the card?