It was also the first day I was addressed as "doctor." To clarify, most of the time nowadays, people say stuff like, "Oh, I didn't know you were a doctor." It's not something I like to throw around because A) I'm not a medical doctor or professor, and B) it makes me feel as though I actually need to KNOW something... and I am often doubtful about that! But at the time, it was novel, and to be called that by a professor made up for SOME of the nights I spent on the phone, writing my dissertation, while listening to music and watching videos on YouTube.
I know I didn't always paint the rosiest picture of graduate school here, but in spite of my whining, there is nothing quite like doing something that you've only heard joked about on television or referenced as a hyperbole (ever heard, "Just write a couple of paragraphs, not a dissertation"?).
While I lost several pounds of sweat that day, I did gain the experience of putting myself out there in one of the most intimidating ways. Fortunately, in my graduate program, we had to do a preliminary defense, kind of like a practice run where you "defend" your dissertation proposal (which outlines details of your theory and how you will conduct your study). The practice really made the actual one less scary, but having to explain complicated things in front of authorities who probably know more than you is freakish -- even more freakish because they probably STILL know more than you.
Plus, I'm not really that comfortable talking in front of people. Yes, I have to do it for work and all throughout school, but it still is terrifying. Case in point: you will rarely see me wear skirts for presentations, because I did that once and felt the sweat slowly rolling down my leg. *insert googly face*
Luckily, people told me that I'd do fine and that I would not have been allowed to schedule my 2+ hour defense if my advisor did not deem me "ready." To fail me there would make her look bad, and so I really couldn't panic that much.
The bottom line is, whenever I am faced with something, I think about the day I defended and know that if I was able to do that, then whatever has come upon me couldn't be worse. Leading webinars to be heard around the world? Meh. Presenting in front of VPs and Directors? No problem (sorta)! Although I'd usually rather run a marathon. Really.
I am starting to experience what I like to call "brain rot," even though my friends tell me I'm too hard on myself. I am in the process of preparing a publication based on my dissertation, but the languid pace is out of my control. When I graduated, I set a goal to take about two years "off" before seriously considering anything like certifications and such, so I guess I have one more year to "recover." Sometimes, the recovery is as tough as the "training." Sometimes.
And... kind of non-sequitur but in reference to the post linked at the beginning of this entry, here's what my doggie looks like presently (yes, he's buckled in):
Finally, speaking of "anniversaries," "The Ukrainian" and I just celebrated ours. I got him this... okay, not really, but it has taken me up until now to mention it. His actual gift is related to our wedding, and I'll probably reveal it in a later post.
He got to do a neat product review of Irish Spring's Dual Action Sports Body Wash, which is formulated to combat acne on the body, usually a result of sweat (he doesn't have a ton, just a little every now and then). I love sporty smells, which this definitely has, so I approved. He liked that it made him feel very clean, and since he sweats more than me, that must be saying a lot. As for whether it combats acne, it does seem to be less severe and frequent now, but it's really hard to tell these things when the problem wasn't bad. If I had used this on myself, I would have known the effects more, since I know my skin issues really well.
Now if only there's a body wash that can help control my sweating when I'm up presenting...
FTC Disclaimer: I (or "The Ukrainian") was sent a sample of this product to review and was not otherwise compensated to provide any particular opinion on it.