April 22, 2017
- One SUCCESSFUL candidacy oral defense presentation! (Which feels like really maybe three life events rolled into one because speaking a presentation plus taking two rounds of questions….woah.)
This morning I woke up with the goal of keeping my mind as black as possible for as long as possible leading up to the 2:30 start time. My theory was that all the words and info were as settled into me as they possibly could be thus if I could just let the accumulated wisdom be the thing that drove me onwards…all would be good. If I let my pesky neurotic brain take over…things might not go so good.
So…I moved slowly through the day, went shopping, and generally puttered around all with the goal of not thinking. It mostly worked as I was able to make it to about 1:15 before the full gravitas of the situation hit me. Luckily by that time, time was already so close so I didn’t spend all that long in the “oh my goodness….what am I doing???” mode. After a practice round, a mega dose of magnesium, and a couple final touches on my webcam background, I logged in and basically the jet plane took off so there was no looking back. Roughly two hours later, after a presentation and two full and thorough rounds of questioning, I was politely asked to leave the meeting while the committee deliberated and then about ten minutes later called to re-join and given the good news that I was indeed a pass.
I’ve heard from people before that the presentation part is the nerve wracking part and then the questions turn into a fun experience because you get the chance to speak in depth to people who have read your work and are actually curious and interested in what you are doing. I have no doubt that this is true for others but I will say that my experience was almost the complete opposite. For me the presentation felt great and I think because I’d practice so much it felt like everything came together just right at the right time and in the right way. The questions on the other hand felt exhausting because I felt like I had to pay super close attention to the words and the overall nuance and remember the whys and the hows behind each of the points the committee was questioning. I came into the experience thinking that it would basically be a convivial chat but yeah…for me it was more like a marathon of looking at and trying to explain my own motivations. I think one of my best and worst attributes is that I act on instinct and what “seems” right for the moment and the situation and hold loosely onto any given situation. While that gets me nicely through daily life, that doesn’t seem to hold water in an academic sense so trying to get back to the real, root why took a somewhat profound set of mental gymnastics. But apparently, I was up to the task as I convinced the committee!
I’m still in awe that it’s done, I’m through, etc. I think this will take a couple days to sink in. And I’m fairly sure tomorrow I’m going to wake up with the same resident knot in my stomach that moved in just about a month ago and get to first remember all over again it’s done and then celebrate once more that this season is done. I know that there is so much massive work ahead of me and this is only just the beginning for now….I can rest.