On Thursday, I successfully defended my dissertation and have the approval of my committee (with revisions) to submit it to the graduate school "in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy." My committee was tremendous, offered some really great suggestions to smooth some of the rougher edges of my work, and was really supportive. I honestly believe that my greatest professional accomplishment in the past six years was having the foresight to pick an amazing group of people to support me in this quest.
The celebration was tempered slightly by this nagging head cold that I got on my trip out to defend and the fact that it really hasn't set in that this phase in my life is really coming to a close. I knew that it was ending, but even after completing my defense, it hadn't truly set in. I don't think that I really had time to step back and really realize the amount that I had learned until one of my committee members, who read the first draft of my first research paper in grad school, pointed out how much I had learned and developed in grad school that it really started to set in. I think that it is easy for me (and I imagine others in grad school) to get lost in how much we feel like we don't know and fail to realize how much knowledge and skill we do acquire. Although it seems arrogant to publicly acknowledge that, I think that it is something that we often do too little of in grad school.
I will be working the next couple of weeks to finish out my revisions and working on a project this summer that I am really excited about. Then, it will be off to Philadelphia for the next phase in this adventure!