I went to a Ph.D. defense yesterday and it was very good. This woman presented her very interesting research and did it in a way that was accessible, thoughtful and organized. Sometimes the examiners asked her questions to which she did not know the answer (or at least the answer they were digging for), and she entertained the questions, but then genuinely said that she did not have more of an answer for them. And that was ok. There seemed to be no pressure for her to have figured out everything about everything. The defense had a beginning and an end. She was nervous but got through it well. And at the end of it, she became Dr. Awesome.
Which leads me to my point. I am next in line and I need to sail this ship home. My dissertation is almost finished (I'm writing up study 3 and then the general discussion, and I'm done). There is another colleague of mine defending on Oct. 15, but really after that, I'm next. My turn! And it feels long overdue. I spoke to Dr. Awesome on Tuesday, 2 days before her defense, and she said it still felt so far away. It feels very far away for me, but I am working with that mindset, because in all honesty, it isn't that far away.
The failure of the fertility treatments last October sucked my hard-earned confidence right out of me. I somehow maintained my same level of clinical competence at work, but otherwise, I was a basket case. The progress I was intending to make on my research suffered, which is why I am still here working away at it. The narrative has been that everything is lost. But it isn't. It isn't at all.
I managed to quit that not-so-great job in June, which was a good move. I've been working on the big D ever since. At first, it felt like I was working for something I couldn't believe in. So much distance had grown between me and my research that I didn't even recognize it. But over the last 3 months, we've grown tighter.
I am now standing at the doorstep, my hand on the knob. I'm really afraid of what all can go wrong. But my job is simple. Keep writing. Get it finished.
In the mean time, I've received a job offer from that place where I interviewed at the end of August. They wanted me to start in mid-October, so I told them they would have to pick someone else, sine I couldn't make that work (remember: Augusta's #1 mission = finish dissertation). They wouldn't take no for an answer and said I was their top pick. They agreed to have me start in December, so I accepted!
I'm excited. And I have a whole bunch of other feelings running through me. Mostly, I have this sense of gathering momentum to step up . My life is waiting for me. The new job, the egg donation, the end of my Ph.D. I'm trying to open the door and cross the threshold. But if I think too much about it, I get a bit shaky, like I can't grip the doorknob and turn it. I think the best approach is to go back to my writing and just think about the sentence in front of me. I'll leave the rest where it belongs: the near future.