The beginning of the end

tiffany-yangI turned in my dissertation to my committee on Friday. I had about 3 seconds of elation before the anxiety started to set in again.

Ever since my data meeting, I’ve been ablaze finishing up analyses and interpretation and then writing the dissertation itself. I’m extremely grateful to my Fall 2013 self for starting the process. The days have been speeding by, let me tell you. It felt, and continues to feel,  a bit like self-inflicted isolation. I’m in a confusing place.

When I look back to the beginning of my graduate schooling, I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned: the thinking, the jargon, the process, the politics. But, being in graduate school also makes you realize how little you know; even as you’re constantly imbibing new information, the sheer amount of knowledge out there is increasing at a pace faster than you can consume. When I think about it too often, I get the feeling of treading water in a current moving in the opposite direction. It can be pretty alarming. Good thing fear can be a source of motivation.

Even as I struggle with the “am I really ready? How do I really know?” aspect, I try to remember what the advisor of a fellow grad student (now a legit Ph.D.) said: you’ll never be truly “ready” but, having gained the tools during a Ph.D., the best test of your ability is to go out into the world and try your hand.

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