Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Post-Dissertation Defense Letdown

What I think I want to say is: hello, life. Hello, robins, sandhill cranes, antelope, deer, magpies, gophers, tiny songbirds, ducks and geese. Hello, changeable sky. Hello, blue mountains rimmed in white. Hello, clouds, sun, rain, snow, ice, melt, grass, mud, hum.

Hello, and goodbye, and how is it nearly April? How is it nearly Easter? How is it nearly graduation? How is it nearly time to move?

What I want to say is: I have poured myself, for nearly six years, into this project of graduate school. And here it ends. After my dissertation defense, after my job interviews, after final copy work, I grew very ill. I was ill for two weeks. I am still recovering. My body sought to mark the end of something, some long slow burn of energy, by taking me down for a while, blasting me flat on my back with a fever, and I tried to learn its lesson. I looked out the window. I watched BBC adaptations of Dickens.

In a few months I will have an Official Project again, as Assistant Professor. And the intervening time is by no means empty: I have writing projects of my own, and all the million details of an international move to figure out. But it is without Grand Deadlines, committees, judgments, at least for now. Who am I, without these pieces hemming me in? Who am I, when the margins are no longer printed so tidily around the boundaries of my days? Who am I, suddenly nearly thirty, waking up to myself as someone new, groping around for what it is I want to say?

1 comment:

  1. It's fascinating how the BODY wants to mark transitions, isn't it? I'm glad you're feeling better at last!

    As for the big questions, I very much identify with them. And I look forward to seeing your answers unfold!