DONE DONE DONE – After many many many years in school, I am done school. Its a hot hot day outside right now- there’s a heat warning and I have the AC inside cranked to the max because heat makes me panic; and I didnt want to panic with my freaking doctoral defense happening on freaking Zoom of all things today! But I am please to say I passed, with a need to edit some tenses. I can’t actually fathom this. It has not really hit me. But I think I have about 5 days to do these edits, then I am sending it to my faculty and applying for convocation. After two bachelors, a masters and a doctorate, I am now done with school. Like forever I think. I briefly thought about a post doc but I definitely do not want to do a post doc. I want to just learn at my own rhythm
Originally this was supposed to be a reflection blog post at the end of 2020, to reflect back on one hell of a terrible year and eventful year for everyone. And to some degree it will be a post about that- I gotta finish my captions for my photos I took down here; but there are a few other points I think I have to make in reflection.
The beginning of the 2020 year began with me doing a first review with my new supervisor- lots of apprehension came from me in wondering what their thoughts might be on my paper- as always my biggest fears of study design being torn apart were at the forefront; this didn’t come- yet. My second committee member came on and this is when the study design began to be dissected- right at the beginning of 2020; as I dealt with all the changes the pandemic brought, I also started to panic about my overall design and immediate catastrophic thoughts came to mind about my entire doctoral career being thrown into the wind. However, panics and reactions to comments came with reason after I spent more elbow work on the paper- a revision to the design came into place, and this seemed to make sense. My initial supervisor’s comments also came with promise- there were edits but they were doable. Edits always came with apprehension anytime they came in the email. But after my initial three committee members agreed with the final product, I began to have some light at the end of the tunnel. I actually prematurely bought some of the items I had intended to aware myself for completing my dissertation- in came a new body and lens (a99 mark II and 70-200 SEL f4 G).
The defense itself was an interesting affair- I got word in April and immediately blocked off 2 weeks to study for the exam- I knew that my line of work really prevented me from focusing entirely on the defense; this was challenging as I absolutely love the work I do, but I needed that time to myself; it was initially a difficult time figuring out my dissertation- it had been a significant time since I had thoroughly reviewed my paper in entirety. Most of my time had been spent on the latter papers as opposed to the initial chunk that came years ago when I had done my candidacy exam. But it came back quickly- time in the park outside reading the paper over and over again, making a fake mock presentation for the entire document to build real familiarity and reading every comment made by committee members was the initial week. The next week was frustration reading a really long document. Then work started again. But shortly after, I got a date!
The journey has been a really long one- I defended my masters in my initial month of my doctorate studies. It worked out fine, but it was a busy affair; course loads clashed with working hours and maintaining a student life while trying to have a personal life was challenging; it certainty delayed focus in school as I tried to build a career as well- I wanted to not wait until I was done school to get the ball rolling there. But I remember making real connections in my practicums and networking as hard as I could being worth it- I ended up starting my provisional hours earlier than planned- this was a huge boost to my drive, as I felt like I was finally starting my journey. While I was having the time of my life though, my dissertation work fell on the side- it would haunt me in my dreams, with monthly nightmares of walking into a classroom and an exam waiting for me that had entire textbooks unread and me in a very unprepared state. Eventually, it became critical for me to get my candidacy done so that I could get my internship hours completed for school; I was definitely very much focused on the clinical aspect of my career and less so on research. But I needed to get this done. I managed to pass the candidacy, and subsequently I made a decision to drop work- I just simply could not complete my research and maintain a clinical practice at the same level as I was doing; my hours dropped to nearly half the load I had been doing for years, but it was welcome. Research and analysis took a huge jump start. I really enjoyed my time here- spending my time away from work churning out data and reading papers and learning in general. I went to coffee shops and all my favorite haunts in undergrad that were reminiscent of my amazing undergrad years with friends. I spent time listening to music and doing work, something I sorely missed in clinic work. One of my best memories was getting my classes in summer completed to register as a provisional – I spent many hours in the Central Academic Building basement where I had much time in undergrad and high school eating lunch/reading notes in the hot summer, or in the bio sci building cafeteria where I felt it a bit quiet in summer with nobody really around. I remember reviewing the horrible JVC headphones that I thought would be like the MDR-1R (it was so bad I dont remember the name other than being related to essence- its actually called esnsy I think)
Anyways, the dissertation defense was intense. I knew there was nothing that came to mind that I should prep more for- I knew methodology would always be my greatest fear- it turned out to be much true today! The hardest questions for me were methodology. Because I am first a clinician and secondarily a researcher, the clinical questions I felt most comfortable with but I certainly felt my heart drop on methodology questions. But its done. I did do a round of Ring Fit Adventure prior to help calm my body as I could feel it building up- I have recently made a circuit that takes 10 minutes but can bring my heart rate to 170 BPM. Pretty stoked about that as a calming tool in my emotional tool kit.