Friday, September 24, 2010

Excuse me! Your life is waiting.

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.


  1. AAAAAAAAAA! CONGRATULATIONS! I LOVE that they wanted you so much they wouldn't let you turn them down!

    At my recent conference I was thinking some similar things as I watched the more senior, really famous, super smart people present. There's absolutely no requirement that you know everything, as long as you've got some solid research that you can talk about in a relatively coherent way. That's what I'm shooting for, anyway...

    What you wrote about the distance you felt between yourself and your work really resonated with me, too. IF created the same situation for me--I just couldn't (and, in all honesty, still can't) care. I'm glad you two are renewing your relationship.

    Defenses are scary, but I bet yours will be just as great as hers. And in case I haven't mentioned this before, don't be disappointed if it's a bit of a letdown. It's this huge hurdle, but somehow a lot of people I've talked to don't end up feeling like the moment itself is nearly big enough.

  2. Congrats re: the job -- I knew they'd wait for you! And remember how many of us are with you as you turn that doorknob. You deserve all the rich life that is coming your way.

    Hugs and love,

  3. Congratulations on the job! That's wonderful. I think your aproach is just right, keep going, and writing. You can do this!

  4. Yay for the job! This is really awesome. :)

  5. That's great news about the job! You were smart to stand your ground and insist that you need to finish your dissertation. I took a full-time job when I was still ABD, and it was really, really hard to finish. I did, but it took me a long time. Hooray for you! You were obviously worth waiting for!

  6. Congratulations, that's incredible about your new job!!! And so much excitement coming your way. Just think of all that you have accomplished to get you to this point & internalize that you will accomplish the goals you have set for yourself! So happy for you:)

  7. First of all, congratulations on the new job and good luck with the Big D.

    I clicked over from your comment on egghunt's blog; I just wanted to say that your comment really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing your therapist's comment about "deserving your pain;" it will definitely give me something to think about.

  8. Augusta, hooraaayyyy! This is wonderful news about the job! I'm so excited for you; how good it must feel to be wanted like that. Yes, definitely don't think too much; just put one foot (or word, as the case may be) in front of the other and continue calmly in the direction of your goals and dreams. Right? Lest you get too overwhelmingly excited about all the terrific experiences and opportunities that lie just ahead. You're almost there!

  9. Oh, and I meant to admire your new autumnal motif. At least, I'm pretty sure it's new? I just noticed it, at any rate. Purdy!

  10. That's so awesome that you're so close to defending! My husband is also working hard on his dissertation/defense, so I know how hard it is. But you're so close to being through, and what a blessing to have a job waiting for you on the other end!

  11. Hi! I found your blog off Foxy's blog. Congratulations on the job and good luck on defending your dissertation!

  12. Congrats on your impending completed dissertation. What an accomplishment, especially when you've been dealing with so much pain. And look at you, your hard work is paying off already with a great job offer. Wishing you continued success.

  13. Whoop Whooop! Can we hear it for the lovely, the brilliant, the amazing AUGUSTA! ((Hooooting and Hollering ensure)). Congrats on the job offer. They are lucky lucky to have you joining them!

    Keep on Rawking it Girl!

  14. This is all such wonderful wonderful news. It's a shower of good news! I know change is nerve-wracking, but this is all such good, hard-earned change.

    Definitely take it one sentence at a time. If that doesn't work, take it one word at a time. December will be here before you know it!

  15. You said it perfectly: Keep writing. Get it finished. A famous writer once (can't think who...mind like a sieve) said that writing a book was a little like navigating a very dark road. You can only see a few feet in front of your headlights, but you've just got to keep going, slowly and deliberately. Sentence by sentence.

    I'm thrilled for you that you are so close. And seeing someone else's defense will only have helped put a few more arrows in your quiver. Something tells me that you are going to do brilliantly, though that doorknob can be one hard sucker to turn without a pounding heart.

    And that job. I beamed when reading about that job. They clearly recognized brilliance when they saw it.