|I Tweeted this the day I decided to make the final leaps to complete my dissertation.|
I scarcely believe I have basically made it through. In spite of what people think, I'm not smart. It doesn't take super-brains to get a doctoral degree, and I truly believe that. It does, however, require sacrifice, trudging through a lot of stuff you don't want to do, and a positive outlook.
Everything I just said can apply to running a marathon.
Marathons -- I've done several of them by now, but the feelings are still there. Marathons contain some of the toughest moments you'll have, but out you come -- a stronger person. And yet, I sometimes still can't believe I've been able to finish one, let alone more than one -- some in better shape than others, of course. And it doesn't take an elite athlete to complete a marathon -- just sacrifice and trudging through a lot of training runs that you sometimes don't want to do.
So drawing from my years of marathoning and grad school experiences, I give you the Grad School Marathon.
EVENT: Grad School "Marathon"
DATE: August 2007 - May 2011
LOCATION: That burdenous @#!% follows you everywhere!
RACE BEGAN: August 27, 2007, 4 PM
FINISH TIME: 4 (academic) years
START: Nervous, uncertain I can finish the race but came well-prepared and trained.
Miles 1-6: Year 1 - Adjusting to a pace; getting acquainted with the territory
Miles 6-12: Year 2 - Whoa, mega-academic hills (i.e., Advanced Stats II, taking too many classes at once)! Multi-tasking (because I worked two jobs at the time).
Miles 12-13.1: Master's Thesis -- This was a painful stretch, but I was the first out of my cohort to get here! At Mile 13.1, I "graduated." Cow bells for me!
Miles 13.1-15: Spent summer studying for and then taking comprehensive exams. It's like taking the SAT or something. Agh! Passing the test meant that I could continue running this race. Pass the GU, please!
Miles 15-17: Year 3 - Had a few scrappy classes left and think about how I'm going to last the rest of the race (i.e., plan dissertation).
Miles 17-20: Writing proposal........... Let me do my @#$% preliminary oral defense already!
Mile 20: A mile where too many people are staring at me, evaluating me, but let me continue in the race! Sweaty!
Mile 21: Got approval on my proposal.
Mile 22-24: Collecting data -- please fill out my survey (a.k.a., please cheer for me)!!!
Mile 24: Analyzing data -- my legs/brain hurt!! Definitely some tough patches here, too.
Mile 25: Final edits. Sooo close! I didn't want to run anymore!
Mile 26: Final defense. Now EVERYONE is looking at me struggle toward the end.
Mile 26.2: Final revisions and format dissertation for library. Cross finish line weary.
Woo!! Auto-PR! And definitely not a race I'd EVER want to do again!
Although, I have to admit that *the race shirts can't be beat*... though you'll have to wait a few more weeks to see it, since I refuse to remove it from the box beforehand.
Okay, so maybe this wasn't a very good way of epitomizing the thing that has consumed me for years. Getting a bachelor's, masters, and Ph.D in the span of seven years -- well, kinda... BA term in 2003 and Ph.D. term in 2011 -- is truly something I will have to stop and reflect upon during my "recovery period." I'm sure I'll quit bringing this up after some time. After all, I'm starting to get used to being a "normal" (?) person again... sorta.