This past Saturday was my last day of school. Ever. I "grew a pair" and presented in front of 45-50-ish people in our annual graduate student speaker event, the same event I attended when I was an undergraduate. It seems as though things had come full circle. And while I still have a couple of weeks of dissertation revisions left, I still feel as though things are coming to a close. It is actually starting to feel more real now.
And what's left? What's next? These are questions that have slowly been rising to the surface. Just a few months ago, I could not fathom the idea of having school as one less burden, but the unimaginable happened. Slowly, I am realizing that I am confused and suddenly find myself with a lot more mental "free space." So besides trying to spend more time with friends and family, I find myself a little bit out of place, a little bit unsure of what to do with myself, and kind of worried about what will "come next."
These next few months are going to be a transition for me, one that I didn't think would be so dramatic. I had always thought I'd just "finish" and then just spend more time drinking boba with my friends, or perhaps tending more to this blog. However, I've been finding myself enthusiastic about books suddenly and only slowly catching up on tasks I've been holding back, such as seeing the optometrist (tomorrow).
Admittedly, I worry. Mainly about finding a job, but now I'm fearing another thing -- myself. What will my identity be outside of being a student? I don't feel stable in my job, so there's no identity there. I don't really know what life is like without this safety net of studenthood. Will I still be interesting to others? Will I still be respected? What will I want to do with my free time? Will my boyfriend still see me in the same good light?
I've been on a high of stress over the past few months. I was used to working, working, and taking breaks as scheduled so I could have the strength to work some more. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that coming down from this high has been a little strange to me, and especially since it has taken a while for me to truly understand.
Stay tuned. It's going to be an interesting few months.
P.S. Happy Mother's Day! My mom is the first person I listed in my dissertation dedication.