So it’s a week since my dissertation defense, and I’m happy to report that yes, I PASSED! *cheers, dancing, & celebratory Tex-Mex foods* The only reason I didn’t update this blog sooner is because my committee requested minor edits–and when you’re working with one week until the submittal deadline, minor edits mean a major amount of time! I just turned in my final dissertation copy and a bunch of forms to the Graduate School office, then paid my LAST FEES EVER in order to graduate. (We also ordered my regalia, which is a whole nerdy fun post in itself for later.) And that’s it–that means that I have officially GRADUATED–the commencement ceremony on December 14th is purely for the Pomp & Circumstance.
Seventeen years ago, I entered college as a wee freshman… all of seventeen years old. Half my life later, I’m finally leaving college. Spring 2013 will be the first long semester in which I haven’t been enrolled in college since Spring 1995.
Celebrations have been had, and continue to be had, and honestly will be ongoing through December 14th because, holy heckfire, this is a big deal. And yes, I did in fact wear the promised tiara after my successful defense–and for the entire weekend afterward. We got lots of questions about my sparkly headgear at theaters and restaurants–was it my birthday? was this a bachelorette party?–which was tons of fun.
And now the really important part. The text below is the acknowledgements page from my dissertation. You all have been fantastic throughout this process, thanks for letting me share my ups and downs here with you.
The EDHE faculty, my fellow classmates, and my amazing colleagues at the UNT Library have helped me to learn more in this process than I ever dreamed. Particular thanks to my major professor Dr. Cutright and his focus on “getting it done” rather than getting it perfect, and to my committee for the time and thought they have graciously provided. Huge thanks to my learning community partners Annie and Baaska, who pushed me to think more critically, produce more rigorous research, and with whom I had many a healthy session of stress-induced venting.
Tihleigh, you’re a cheerleader, a snarkily raised eyebrow, queen of geeks, a connoisseur of coffee, the ultimate networking maven, and one of the smartest people I know. I’m convinced someday you’ll reveal your secret identity as Oracle, but for now that’s a secret between you, me, and the three other people who will read this. Your penchant for connecting people and ideas has strengthened my research, and your support (and Runt’s) has meant worlds.
Claire, my Crumpet… you were my ninja apprentice, then my Fat Couch study-buddy and roomie, and you have become this amazing woman who made her dream get published. You bring joy and magic everywhere you go (yes, just like glittery unicornses). I have never been as productive as when we sat with mirrored laptops in my library, each typing with purpose. I am so grateful to have someone with which to discuss the joys of editing and fluid sentence structure. Thank you for being our framily—and for driving me to Sonic a billion times late at night for studying fuel.
Shout-outs to my long list of wonderful and supportive friends who encouraged me throughout this process, particularly those who shared the trials of grad school (Jaime, Amanda, Lilly, Julie, Velma). Amos Moses, my little sis, your hugs and understanding helped me get through this process with my sanity intact.
Sheepish thanks to my understanding in-laws and extended clan, all of whom have somehow agreed to remain on speaking terms with me, despite my continued pleas of “I have to get this studying finished” for the past twelve years and three degrees. Particular thanks to the educational pioneers in my family, Aunt Carol (Dr. Cockrum) and my cousin Victoria (Dr. Brockmeier, aka “Doc Brock”). You both inspired me, encouraged me, and showed me that I could do this.
Thank you to my parents, who instilled me with a healthy dose of self-efficacy, culture, and an appreciation for lifelong learning. Mom, you started my path to geekery with The Hobbit, Star Trek, and Star Wars: A New Hope, without which I wouldn’t be watching old Next Generation episodes to unwind after a day of “dissertationing.” You inspired me with your quest to complete your baccalaureate degree—I am so proud of you! Dad, you patiently explained how things work, always fueling my curiosity. Despite my protests at the time, I am grateful that you taught me independence by showing me how to change the oil and the tires on my car… so I have independently chosen satisfy my curiosity in academia, and pay someone else to do my car maintenance!
None of this would have been possible without the support, patience, and belief of my husband Alex, who knew more than I did that I needed this journey. He listened to my passionate nerdy dialogues about higher education, provided hugs whenever needed, stayed up late to talk to me across half the world and eight time zones, gave me the financial support to complete my dissertation fulltime, and never judged my once-a-semester meltdowns (a week before finals, like clockwork). Thank you for being my advocate, my travel partner, my get-a-grip friend, my love, my personal trainer, my best friend, and my fellow dreamer.