I passed my dissertation defense!!!

Yes, I look totally exhausted. I still am. And I am not sure why it looks like I have dirt or something to the left side of my nose...ugh. Anyway, I am just happy it is all over with! I found this shirt in Books-a-Million, and my friend Andy bought it for me before I could stop him. It is an old joke in the family to call me "Seuss," so, recently, my mom has taken to calling me "Dr. Seuss." Appropriate.

Anyway, the defense went well. It was really more of a conversation than anything, just like my director said it would be. There were a few criticisms of my work mentioned near the end of the defense, but that is normal! My committee members are great people and so smart. Everything they said made sense, and I had a good time talking about my work.

I have been super nervous since last Tuesday. I haven't been sleeping well, and I was so pumped with energy yesterday that I couldn't calm down even after everything was signed and I was officially able to call myself "Dr." I ran around like crazy yesterday afternoon, writing my committee members "Thank-You" notes and running errands. I had a nice dinner out with my family last night, watched Love, Actually (one of my faves), and tried to go to sleep early. I managed to fall asleep, but I woke up at 1:30 and stayed up until 3:00 a.m. I had the realization that a huge part of my life has come to a finish. I no longer have this huge project I am responsible for finishing. And that is a little scary. But I am feeling better about it today. There is so much more to do, after all!

I also felt sad, because my friend Elizabeth is no longer alive and able to share this moment with me. She knew so much about my desire to complete a PhD, and she was so supportive. We talked about my dissertation and graduation so much...I just wish I could call her up and tell her that it is really happening.

So much has happened over the course of my studies. I started my MA in 2002, and I graduated with it in 2004. I completed another MA in 2005, and I moved to Florida for a year to begin PhD work down there. When I moved back to Tuscaloosa a year later, I dealt with the life-changing event of my father's cardiac arrest and subsequent brain damage. I worked two jobs for five years (as a teacher for the university and as an assistant editor for the magazine). I accompanied the UA at Oxford program to England for a month and tried to keep watch over 45 students (something they didn't always like or understand). Just over the last two years, I have dealt with a break up, getting and adjusting to a full-time job, my grandmother's death, the death of my old dog, the deaths of two cousins, numerous financial obligations, a hospitalization for me and one for my father, and the death of one of my best friends in the world. It has been a hard time--especially considering that during all of this over the last two years I have also been writing a 235-page dissertation. It hasn't been easy, but I am glad I kept on with it.

So, in all, I am going to enjoy this victory while I can! Thanks to all of you who check this blog hoping for a post...I will get better about that very soon!


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