April 7, 2018
Presentation Result: Success
And just like that…the presentation is complete. I survived my twenty minutes of speaking. With the exception of my supervisor (who once again asked a somewhat left field question about an aspect of my study I hadn’t thought about for almost a year now) the committee asked questions that were mostly more thought-provoking than terrifying. They challenged word choices and some general semantics but they overall praised what I’d done, how it came together, and what was created in the end. I have minor revisions but the supervisor tweeted to the world I am now Dr. Hammershaimb and as he is mostly right most of the time, for all intents and purposes, I am finished.
Last night was about drinking all the champagne and soaking up the many many many congrats messages that came from all around the world. (Ironically, I slept way better the night before the defense than the night after because last night I kept reminding myself it was all finished, and then getting way too excited to fall back asleep.) Today it is making plans with friends for celebratory drinks and dinners and (finally) beginning the travel plans for convocation.
Though I am basically finished from a technical standpoint, things have moved so quickly that I have a feeling this will take a bit longer to process on an emotional level. There’s been lots of question on the theme of, “How does it feel to be done, Dr. Hammershaimb?” Very honestly…it feels wonderful and all the positive adjectives but I also feel more than a little disoriented and incredibly tired. I just checked the blog and realized last month today I didn’t have an external and was still in the middle of the endless waiting. Now it is all complete. Yep, I’d say given the pace of this past month not to mention this past year…my feelings of disorientation and tiredness might be normal.
For now I think the official countdown to convocation postings will slow down as I’m hopeful the week ahead will be a beautifully boring one, but to complete things I am going to take further inspiration from Dr. Cronin (who I’ve viewed as kind of my big sister on this doctoral process and who, paradoxically ended up having her own viva just a couple weeks before me!) and conclude this season with the Dedication and Acknowledgements from my dissertation. Disclaimer: My final dissertation was just about 112 pages total. I took this to mean I could go extra long on the acknowledgements and no one would notice…clearly, flawless logic and further proof of my new doctoral status! : )
April 6, 2018
Convocation Countdown: 26 days
Presentation Countdown: 1 days
One. Day. More.
I wish I had some great, clever reflection to reveal today…some deep learning and wise words for what it means to be living, literally, on the brink of something so large. I have nothing. I am mostly numb and at this moment, I am totally okay with that.
My goal tomorrow is to keep breathing and stay alive. It is also to listen way way way more to the voices of everyone who is calling out the truth that I have this, I am prepared, and I am worthy. My goal is also to listen way way way less to the voice that still says I am an imposter…I won’t know the right answers thus I should remain silent.
So tomorrow, no matter how hard it is, I will take deep breadths and speak slowly. Tomorrow, I will trust my supervisor and I will trust the process. Finally, (and admittedly hardest…) tomorrow, I will trust myself.
Here’s to doing hard things.
Here’s to believing we are enough…just as we are.
April 5, 2018
Convocation Countdown: 27 days
Presentation Countdown: 2 days
Tonight I passed the “present to the cohort” milestone. Though I legit want to impress my formal committee because they are the ones who will officially pass me on this journey, in many ways presenting to the cohort felt slightly more intimidating for me. This wasn’t because the cohort is intimidating, because they’re family now for me but because, like family, I both totally know I’m loved for just who I am in all my quirkiness and with all my issues yet still always want to do everything I can to make them proud because they do know (and put up with) my aforementioned quirkiness and issues.
Tonight along with some a couple hard questions and some good diversionary strategy for answering hard questions…I did indeed get their blessing. They told me they are impressed and know that I will make it through…they told me they will all send positive vibes and they told me they are so, so proud of me.
Whatever happens two days from now tonight I am reminded once more how profoundly thankful I am for all the people who have come into my life as a result of this process. The cohort is for sure the center but the lines of connection radiate out in so many beautifully unexpected patterns that Lisa of five years ago could never comprehend or hope might exist. I kind of wish that instead of a defense, I could spend two hours talking about everyone I’ve met during this process…bring them in via webcam, name them, and thank them for how they’ve impacted and changed me for the better. My world is so much larger for this process and though it sounds super cheesey…my heart too has grown exponentially as I’ve learned to be brave and open myself a bit more to others. I know this sort of defense would be totally self centered and probably a total snooze fest to attend for others (and clearly…lacking in APA!) but still…I think some alt version of it may need to happen in the next little bit.
Also, I think I may be entering into the tearful-in-a-good-way phase of things. Though I still default to disliking feeling all feelings…I’ve learned enough in this process to welcome this new phase with more or less open arms and also lots of Kleenex.
Two. More. Days.
April 4, 2018
Convocation Countdown: 28 days
Presentation Countdown: 3 days
Today begins the final, final read through the dissertation to prepare for the defense. You know that thing where it is difficult to hear yourself recorded because you end up thinking so much about how you sound that you forget to listen to what you are actually saying? Reading my dissertation is basically that…except with words. I have the urge to remove sentences, reorder paragraphs and generally tidy up rather than do the one ting I need to do which is sit in it and stay put.
So yeah…it is slow going to say the least. Though I know I will power through, it definitely may be more an exercise in grit as opposed to happy nostalgia. This is making me even more glad I’m at 112 pages total. Double spaced.
Speaking of grit…back to it.
April 3, 2018
Convocation Countdown: 29 days
Presentation Countdown: 4 days
As I’m getting ready to finish out the day, I feel ready to do this. I don’t know if this is a developmental thing or a practice thing or me finally feeling all the positive support that has been directed my way come together but….I think I actually might survive Friday. Even more, while it won’t be “fun” in sense that drinking fancy cocktails on a rooftop is fun or shopping for cute new shoes is fun, I think there may be a chance that some parts of this process might have the slightest hint of fun to them.
I have not felt this before and it may wear off and become replaced by the much more familiar ones of low grade panic and inadequacy but for the moment I am savoring this feeling of grounded whole…this feeling that I will me okay in the end and just maybe my tribe, the network, is right in their positive affirmations. If you have believed in me…thank you. And please keep at it! I think it just might be beginning to work…forgive my slowness.