If this is true, I’m definitely being changed right now. Probably for the better.
But that knowledge isn’t getting rid of the nervousness.
The countdown is on: T minus three days to dissertation defense.
Nervous eating. Nervous spending. Nervous dreams. All are a part of my life right now.
Which reminds me… Days before my Masters thesis defense back in 2008 I had the “naked dream.” I presented my thesis to the crowd in my birthday suit. I haven’t had that dream for the dissertation defense.
Yet that’s how I feel.
I’m feeling incredibly vulnerable.
I guess it’s not that surprising. On Thursday, I’ll summarize the work I’ve been doing for the last five years of my life for all to judge.
I’m not so nervous about the science. I’m more nervous about looking like an idiot. I haven’t been able to prepare as much as I’d like. Working full time and taking a class on Saturday has left me way overwhelmed and way under-prepared for … well pretty much everything. Work is suffering, and preparation for this talk has too.
But there’s more to my nervousness. Preparing this talk has been laying bare more than under-preparedness. It’s also been exposing all of those raw emotions that have accompanied me on my ride towards my Ph.D.
- When my pets died.
- When my great-grandmother died.
- When my grandfather died.
- When my dad died.
- When I almost got kicked out of the program.
- When I decided to fight to stay in.
- When I had to defend myself to my boss and department against something I didn’t do. Twice.
All of this stuff is surfacing as this phase of my life ends and another begins.
Funny how one ending brings up others…
Ultimately I know I’ll do alright on Thursday. I have supportive people reinforcing this. Some are getting together to help me with my practice talk tonight.
Thursday, I’ll be as prepared as I can be. I’ll do my best. That’s all I ever have done, and that’s all I can do.
I will be glad when Thursday is over though…