Have you ever had one of those moments in life that you knew would someday approach, but you had it played out in your head with exact certainty. You knew what you would be doing, how you would be dressed, the people that would be surrounding you. It was a fresh mapped out plan and your only job was to anticipate the day when your plan would come to all of its glorious fruition. It is a pretty package isn't it?
So enters the build up of the last four years as I have been working, sweating, crying, swearing my way to my final defense of my dissertation. There were several times over the last four years that I said I quit. That all this work and time were just not worth the things I was missing; birthday parties, trips, vacations, weekends away, quiet time, and endless smut T.V. programs that were ruined because some jerk off posted the results on Facebook, thanks for that. I felt several times that this is just another bullshit idea that I had and I could give up because I was just doing it for me. Do I plan to continue to be a world renowned researcher, no. Do I plan on continuing to write, hell to the no. But did I have the perfect scenario played out in my head of how it would go when the grande finale happened? Sure, I assumed there would be tears, of joy, triumph, and just sheer exhaustion. I pictured making the call to all my family that I had finally completed this treacherous journey and hearing cheers and party horns. Okay, may not party horns but you get my drift.
All this fanfare will not be happening because today is the day when this grand event takes place, and I just want it to be over! So I figured I would post a pre-dissertation defense post because likely there won't be an after post. I used to be excited about all of this and now I am just wishing it gone. Isn't it funny how life, with its twist and turns, can change your perspective? Not saying that I am not a wee bit excited to hear "Dr. Rodriguez" or that I am not aware of my accomplishment. What I am saying is that while many people, especially those who are in my profession, do not support this degree, is that the last few days have reminded me why I initially started this journey. I started this journey to prove to myself that I could be in the 1% of the population who can attain this degree, that I could put my mind to something that would be hard, time-consuming, and sometimes just damn boring yet I could still be successful. I started this journey because I wanted the experience and I knew that it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Well here I am, on defense day, and I can say... I made it. I did it. And damn it, I am proud of myself.
There will be no tears, no party, no party poppers or noise makers, but there will be another accomplishment that I can add to my list of things that I wanted to do, and I actually did it. The perspective change is so funny four years later; I thought all the fanfare was going to be so awesome, but today I know it is something that I will celebrate on my own today. I wouldn't change the experience if I had the chance.