I am proud to announce that yesterday I successfully passed my dissertation defense. As I sit here writing this almost a full 24 hours later, it still feels like a dream. I can’t remember a time in my life when I was so nervous. Not because I felt that I was unprepared, but because it meant so much to me.
I worked diligently over the past couple of years, dedicating myself to my dissertation research. There is something to be said about going back to school later in life. I felt a sense of calm come over me while spending long days researching and writing. I didn’t have any of the angst I had while completing my bachelor’s degree in my 20’s, nor the sense panic I had while completing my master’s degree in my 30’s while holding down a full time job.
The pursuit of my doctorate in my 50’s was a totally different experience for me. I made the decision before I began my academic journey to quit my full time job so that I could dedicate myself to my studies. For the first time in my adult life, my academic work came first. The pursuit of my doctorate became my full time job, and I threw every ounce of energy I had into the process.
It wasn’t easy. Anyone who has gone through this process knows that there’s a lot of sweat, tears, second guessing, and at times praying to a higher entity to help get you through. You just buckle down and do what you have to do to get it done. At the very beginning of my journey, a professor said to me, “the best dissertation is a finished dissertation”. I wholeheartedly agree!