Life After The Dissertation

In a week and a half I will be defending (TO THE DEATH!)(not really) my dissertation. If all goes well, I’ll be done. Done with the dissertation, done with grad school, done with school forever.

Well, as done as one can be when your degree is in education and has been pursued with the goal of working at a college or university for the next couple of decades.

I don’t want to jinx things so I try not to think too much about life after the dissertation (what if I fail? What if they make me start all over again? What if my committee sets my dissertation on fire in front of my eyes and then laughs at me? What if, what if, what if…). But I do think about how it will be to have time and all the mental real estate that I’ve devoted to the dissertation back again. What will I do with myself?

The list of possible answers to that question is long and getting longer by the day. I’ll paint! I’ll read the giant stacks of books I’ve bought and set aside for the last three years! I’ll write a book! No, two books, no, a series of books! I’ll learn to sew and kayak and cross country ski. I’ll write a book about sewing and skiing and kayaking!

I’m reminded of when I was pregnant with my first kiddo and I made myself a giant to-do list of all the things I’d accomplish once I had three glorious months off of work. I had so many projects planned.

And then I had a kid and my to-do list became things like “shower” and “wear clean pants”. I wonder if I’ll actually do all any of the things on my dream life after dissertation list. More likely is that the rest of my normal life will just fill in the spaces left by the dissertation.

But maybe with more reading at least.

One thought on “Life After The Dissertation

  1. Kristin says:

    Congrats! What a great accomplishment! I defended my dissertation in Dec. 2013 and it took me awhile to acclimate to real life. I definitely had no interest in reading academic journals for awhile. The nice thing is I have made progress reading real books again. It’s been so nice! Good luck on your defense!

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