I have written this post so many times in my head but just haven't made time to sit down and write it for real. I'M DONE! In the past three months I finished my dissertation, bought a new house in Arizona, and graduated with my Ph.D! I must admit that it still feels a bit surreal. I'm not sure when it will start to feel real but not even putting on that robe and celebrating with everyone made it feel real. Perhaps it's all that comes next that makes it feel surreal - the summer work, the packing, the moving, the goodbyes - but for whatever reason it just doesn't seem real yet.
Completing a doctorate is an exercise in perseverance, jumping through all the hoops you are given takes determination and endurance. Preliminary exams, qualifying paper, completing coursework, comprehensive exams, proposal defense, and finally defending your dissertation. In the midst of it, you just move from one hoop to the next, staying focused and completing the task. You apply for jobs while you're hoop jumping, but your mind is still consumed with all you still have to complete. Once you get a job you rejoice, but you still have to finish that dissertation and graduate. There's just always one more thing to get done, but then finally it's DONE. I guess like many things in life it's hard to believe when you've finally walked across the finish line, but the marathon is complete and you've earned your doctorate!
It's been a long journey and I am so grateful for all I've learned, for the people I've met, and for the time I've had here in Virginia. I am most grateful for all the family and friends who prayed, supported, and encouraged me during this process. It was so wonderful to have my grandparents and uncle from Missouri here for graduation and to celebrate with friends in Charlottesville and Richmond. I'm excited for my move to Arizona, but I am not ready to say goodbye and I am not ready for another transition period. I leave 4 weeks from Saturday. Time to start saying good goodbyes so I can say good hellos.