This Is Nothing

Insane Graduate School Edition

5/26/2009

The thing that took me by surprise was that it was so much like our wedding. There was all this nervousness even though all the hard work was over and the day weíd waited for had finally come Ďround. There was the split feeling of wanting to be done with the darn thing already and wanting to savor the day as much as possible. Because every thesis defense Iíve seen as a graduate student, Iíve imagined it was mine. Envisioned how Iíd do my introduction and my acknowledgments. And so this talk was the strangest of all for me because it was Andyís. Iíve seen all the work that went in to the experiments and papers and the thesis itself. Itís still not my defense, but Iím more attached to it than any other defense.

Thereís also the anticlimactic nature of it all. 6 years of our lives have been driven towards this point. Innumerable long night time walks where weíve talked over our research and the seeming endlessness of the PhD program. Like weíd never get there. And now one of us has!

I cannot lie: I am jealous. A graduate student is naturally competitive, and itís always been a challenge to share his joy when his experiments worked when mine were failing. To be happy for him as a spouse instead of a colleague. And oh how badly I want to be up there giving my defense. Acting the expert and being so beyond it all. But Iím reminded of how much work I have yet to go. How many more miles before I sleep. But I will get there.

Andyís talk went brilliantly. Today he was a scientist and an expert in his field. Iím so proud of him and I continue to feel like heís just too darn good for me, and thatís how it should be.

Now heís at home, hopefully taking a nap. He kept saying ďIt hasnít sunk in yet. It isnít real yet.Ē And I can imagine how that feels. How do you turn the corner after walking down a street for six years? Happily, of course. But the momentum of those years is great, always driving forward with no end in sight. And here it is!

It continues to be a strange existence as both fellow graduate student and wife, but Iím enjoying the challenge! Although I think I could use a nap too. . .

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