Friday, October 31, 2008

A crowning moment relived

This day, at the exact time of this post, marks the one-year anniversary of the moment that my wise, faithful, brilliant, kind, and patient dissertation advisor opened the door of my defense room and announced to all of us waiting in the hallway, "Congratulations, Dr. (Blondie)!"

I did it. The long-anticipated event had ended. Was it anticlimactic? Yes and no. But that Halloween day was wonderful and emotional and unforgettable in all sorts of ways. Most importantly, I survived and passed the defense. My committee even signed my graduation clearance form at the defense (a doctoral student's dream). Dr. Blondie was born. And I will forever associate Halloween with my dissertation defense.

Brad, my coworkers and boss, a few nervous graduate students, and my friend Susannah attended my defense. After I recovered from what my friend Toyia described as my crocodile tears (when I almost lost it in front of everyone before I even started... every single person in the room looked down and broke eye contact with me as my throat constricted and my eyes filled to help me through the moment. Seriously, why are doctoral students expected to begin the defense by gushing thanks to those in the room? I KNEW that I'd never pull it off with dry eyes.), I answered and dodged the firing squad's questions for about one hour, less time than I expected. I even brushed off the occasional condescending comment from my favorite committee member, such as "I was very, very dismayed to see that you failed to....". (NOTE: after I attended subsequent defenses and heard other faculty members use the SAME EXACT WORDS, I didn't feel so bad. It must be a recommended phrase in the hazing handbook.).

My office hosted a lovely celebratory lunch party for me. That night, Brad and I dined at one of our favorite restaurants in our neighborhood, a place we plan to revisit tonight and on many future dissertation defense anniversaries.

A few weeks before my defense, a colleague joked that I should wear a costume on the big day because it coincided with Halloween. She then suggested that I purchase my doctoral regalia early and dress as a graduate. I wasn't bold enough to attempt such a prank, but had I attended a costume party that evening, my graduate attire would have been legitimate.

My biggest lesson learned during my first year as an official Ph.D.? I enjoy writing this blog a bazillion times more than a dissertation.

1 comment:

Susannah said...

YAY!! I can't believe that was one year ago!