After many years—so many it seemed like they would never end—and an enormous amount of stress, I am almost done. In one week, I will be defending my dissertation, the final significant hurdle to being granted my PhD.
After working myself to my absolute limit to get the writing done, I now have a brief period to breathe. My dissertation has been sent around to my committee. I just need to prepare my slides for the formal talk part, and practice the talk, and remind myself of a couple of little details that I think might come up in questioning.
I waver between serene confidence and absolute terror—so, completely normal for someone at this stage. In the last few months alone, I have had multiple panicky crises about whether I would ever get the research and the writing finished, but having reached this point, there is no real doubt that I will pass the defense. My work is solid; my advisor had some extremely complimentary things to say about my last research chapter. But the question remains: how hard will the committee make it, and how foolish will I feel by the end?
Wish me luck, readers! I will let you know when it is over.