This is the question of the week: how does it feel?
If you’ve been following my journey at all, you’ll probably guess this question is in response to having finished the dissertation, had all the forms and ballots turned in, and officially completing my Ph.D.
How does it feel?
There’s a great amount of relief to being done, to not having my committee tell me to write another chapter or that some part of my dissertation wasn’t good enough. There’s a lot of fear, still, in wondering what is next and where I will be working, especially in light of having one of my summer sections canceled. (The first time EVER that I have lost a section of online teaching which is proof that the budget in CA is in serious trouble and that it’s probably time to move on from a part time job I’ve had for almost a decade.) There’s some sadness, too, in being finished with such a big project that I poured so much of myself into over the last five years.
And lastly, and most importantly, there is joy. Bright, happy, shiny joy and it sits like a glowing light somewhere in the core of my being.
It’s funny – I’m always at the ready to talk about the difficult things I’m going through in my life but I stumble over myself to talk about the good things. I don’t know if it’s that self-effacing tendency women have to not take joy in their accomplishments or if on some level that perfectionist in me will always hold on to the “you’re not good enough” vibe but I was struck by this today when one of my former students ran up to me to hug me and say congrats and she asked THE question and I just stared at her.
It’s too much and nothing at all at the same time: relief, fear, sadness, and joy? What kind of soup does that make?
The completely unreal soup of life.