Well, not that kind of doctor…
But on Friday, I defended my dissertation, so I am now a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology.
It’s hard to believe that I am basically finished with my graduate program. It has been a long and difficult six years, punctuated by being diagnosed and living with multiple chronic illnesses.
It meant so much to me to have my family at my defense (literally and figuratively) – my parents, sister, aunt, and grandparents, my boyfriend, and several good friends, one of whom flew all the way from Seattle to be there for me.
And it made me realize that while getting a PhD is a huge accomplishment, what actually means more are the people that I am surrounded by, who have helped and supported me along the way.
Because I couldn’t have done this alone. It certainly wasn’t easy.
Even the defense was difficult. My committee peppered me for over an hour with really hard questions. But in the end, the revisions I have to make are minimal, and I feel that I stayed true to myself and the kind of dissertation (hopefully one day book!) that I set out to write.
It really is a surreal feeling to be done. I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea. When I woke up Saturday morning, it was a huge sigh of relief to realize that it’s over. And to know that I never have to face the firing squad ever again – amazing!
It also feels good to finally be in a place where, as both as a person and a scholar, I can be myself. So much of the past six years was spent making other people feel okay about my situation.
I’ve talked about it a lot before, but when you are in a strenuous graduate program, the assumption is that all of your time and energy will be spent concentrating on school. And if you’re not doing that, for whatever reason, you might as well not be here. As I have discovered over the years, this is not specific to my discipline. This is the nature of the graduate school beast regardless of subject area, specifically if you are in a PhD program.
But aside from that, it really has been a crazy ride. And I made it.
There were definitely times when I wanted to quit. Where I felt like it would be easier if I just threw in the towel. But that’s not my nature, and the more people told me that I should leave, the more I wanted to stay. And not only stay, but finish.
And despite everything, I am one of only a few people in my cohort who have finished so far. It took me six years, and considering everything I had to deal with, it’s pretty amazing not only to finish, but to finish “on schedule”.
Without listing the acknowledgements from my dissertation (which is three pages long!), I have to say again that there are many people I couldn’t have done this without. And I am so grateful to each and every one of them.
And I am grateful to all of the readers of this blog who have supported and encouraged in ways that many of the healthy people in my life could not. They say it takes a village, and it totally does. While the researching and the writing of the dissertation was all me, seeing this program through to the end was an amalgamation of all of the supportive people in my life.
Even if I can’t write prescriptions, it is pretty cool to be a doctor. I might just let that go to my head a little bit.
Now on to the next adventure…