I’ve been a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education since October 26th, for 35 days. Although I’m daily working on a book chapter and research article based on my dissertation, the fact of my graduation seems more remote and surreal by the day. I’m hoping it will seem a bit more real after the commencement ceremony next month. Parading around in velvet robes and a big floppy hat ought to count for something!
It’s hardly surprising that this is a bit of a shock. I’ve been continuously enrolled in college since the fall of 1995. Suddenly ending up with a terminal degree after seventeen years as a student (despite my day job as an academic librarian) was bound to feel odd, welcome though it is. It’s hard to brush off the sense that there’s a form I didn’t file or an exam I didn’t pass. When I can absorb the truth of it, the strongest feeling is an immense sense of relief! Like many perfectionist academics, one of my greatest fears was being infinitely ABD (All But Dissertation), never to complete the PhD. Considering I planned to finish my dissertation in two years and actually wrapped it up in just one (how did that happen?), perhaps it’s not too surprising that my mind can’t quite absorb the news.
I’m finding the task of dividing up my dissertation results into multiple publications is a mite tricker than anticipated. It’s not for lack of content, but rather the opposite! I had far more results than I could discuss in my dissertation, and determining how to separate them into coherent “chunklets” of information isn’t as intuitive as you might think. I’m working on an article now on “just” the education-related results of my research… I’ve whittled it down from 59 pages to 45, but that’s still unwieldy! It will take some more brainstorming on my part to tease out themes and find a logical division.
And with that said, I’m off to do exactly that!