So it looks like I'm actually going to graduate.
Not that there was ever any risk that I wouldn't, due to like flunking out of graduate school or anything like that. But when you've been working on a dissertation for 852 years, sometimes it's just hard to imagine ever reaching the finish line.
Anyway, yesterday after my advisor gave me the go-ahead to actually schedule my defense, I went to the bookstore to get my regalia. I wouldn't say I was feeling particularly excited about it. At this point, it's easy to feel like it's all just slogging through slog. Getting the cap and gown, and going through graduation is just one more thing you have to do...like filling out yet another form...or doing yet one more round of edits to remove the excessive number of gerunds from your dissertation. (Not that I know anything about that last item...)
So I rented my robe. And I bought my cap and hood. I took it all back to my office and started to unpack it, figuring it made more sense to hang it up there rather than bring it back to our disaster of an apartment and then move it to the house a week later.
And this funny thing happened...
I unpacked the rented robe...black and flowing and just a tiny bit worn...and started to imagine the other graduates who'd worn it. I wondered what programs they were in...what their dissertations were about...what their journeys toward graduation were like. I hung up the robe.
Next I unpacked the hood...heavy and substantive, with royal blue velvet on one side and maroon and gold satin on the other. I placed it over the robe, positioning and folding it exactly as it should be on graduation day. I remembered how my ever-so-fashionable-and-always-adept-with-accessories sister adjusted my hood on the day I graduated with my masters degree. She fussed with it until it was just perfect.
And then I unpacked the cap...the ridiculously poofy, polygonal, tasseled tam. Alone in my office, I started to cry. Suddenly it was all so real. I was finally graduating! And I was finally excited about it.
So I put on the cap and took a terrible self-portrait. I posted it to Facebook...and you all rushed in with embarrassing amounts of support and excitement. It was fantastic. I felt giddy and excited. I felt grateful for such wonderful friends. You guys really are the most supportive group of folks a procrastinating, attention-seeking PhD candidate could ever ask for! I mean really. All that love would have been more than enough.
But then one of you (R.C.P., Esq.) put it over the top...made it epic, if you will...with a whole series of Em-Memes! As I scrolled through these, I felt so much joy...so much relief...maybe even a little bit of pride. The magnitude of the journey finally felt worth it.
It was finally real. It was finally time. I am finally graduating.
2 days ago