Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Closing Doors

When I walked out of my dissertation defense, and the door closed behind me on my committee, I accepted the hugs and the congratulations.  I accepted the flowers and the support of my loving husband and friends.  I accepted high praise and nice words for a job well done.

But you know the hardest part is about receiving praise and love for a job well done?  It's that the job is done.

This coming month, I face a world of changes--of doors that will no longer be open to me.  The university library is making me return all my books (sob!) and fill out a request for a weenie alumni card with diminished book privileges and no remote access to any electronic journals.  The health center wants nothing to do with me as of Friday.  No more counseling.  No more professional development workshops or writer's bootcamps or Thanksgiving student potlucks or random and often dirty foreign language film screenings.  No more picking up my bi-weekly work study checks (bearing my stubbornly institutionalized maiden name) that my department refuses to mail to my home address.  No more registration for classes or independent studies.  No more auditing classes.  No more deferring of loans.  No more loans.

As much as I really am proud of myself for completing my dissertation and defending it successfully, for meeting my goal and pushing myself further than I thought physically or emotionally possible, and for getting through all of this and still being able to stand to talk about it without having an emotional breakdown...

...I am sad that the door is closing.

I am thrilled that the closing of this door means that new ones will be ever so slightly more open to me than they would have been otherwise.  But, at the end of this week, in one hand I'll have a fancy diploma, and in the other hand, a lot of uncertainty about what comes next.  I think, even more so than having my doctorate degree in hand--literally, in hand, as I get to pick up my diploma on Friday!!--I am looking forward to the day when my question marks will be erased and I'll be able to tell you exactly which open door I chose to walk through now that all the ones behind me are closed.

(Clarification--all the doors behind me except for my car door are closed!  November 7, 2011.)