In less than a week, I will finally be defending my dissertation.
And I have no idea how to even begin processing that.
This doesn’t so much have to do with the circumstances surrounding the defense–virtual versus in-person–but more what it means for me, for my “status” in the world, for how I identify myself.
It’s one step closer to leaving the label of “student” behind, and I am almost afraid of the possibilities, of the unknown that will come after.
Researching and writing my PhD, being in the middle of my work rather than at the end of it has become almost as integral a part of me as any of the other elements of my personality. To be honest, I feel like it made me more interesting. I mean, there’s a difference between saying that you’re “working on a PhD” as opposed to you “have a PhD”. Working on something implies activity, the process, whereas the latter, in its stasis, becomes something more akin to a status symbol. And this is not to minimize anything I or anyone else who has been through this gauntlet has done, but there are certain avenues of engaging with others when you are in the middle of an intellectual project that disappear, in a way, when that project is finished.
And maybe I’m not making much sense right now. Hell, I’m having trouble unscrambling my thoughts from my head enough to coherently write them down here.
If nothing else though, prepping for next Monday has at least given me some needed distraction from my current state of isolation.