And that’s all he wrote


I suppose that it is only fitting, that after spending the last month or so obsessing over writing the single largest document I have ever written, that I am at a loss for words.  And here it is – in a snapshot.

As I handed my thesis to my committee, I found myself experiencing a range of emotions and feelings, here are some of them:

1. Exhaustion. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically.  After essentially being awake for 18-20 hours per day for the last month (including sleepless nights this weekend), my body officially hates me.  Some people can function on very little sleep – unfortunately I am not one of them.  For the first time in graduate school (strange right?) I depended on caffeine to keep me going.

2. Excitement. In the last few days, as I was writing my global discussion section and my abstract I really started getting excited about the prospect that I was almost done, but also that I have really crafted the last 5.5 years of work into a nice story.  Or at least let’s hope my committee thinks so.

3. Fear. As I flipped through the pages one last time, I got a rush of fear that I had some major errors, or that I made too many mistakes to correct at the last minute.  Eventually this specific fear abated, and a new one popped up.  What if my exam goes poorly?  Not that I really think that I’ll fail, but I suppose it is healthy to at least have a respect for the possibility right?

4. Relief. As with many major milestones in life, I dedicated a lot of time and energy into my thesis.  Too much time to have a realistic estimate actually.  I have said “No” to many social engagements, vacations, and bed times this past couple months.  And for those times that I went to dinner, visited family, or slept at least half of my brain was still in thesis mode anyway.  I am glad that will be coming to an end.

5. Gratitude. I am happy to be in the position I am in, but this feeling is more directed toward Chelsea.  She has been extremely supportive of me, my lack of desire to cook or clean, my wish to stay awake for a few more hours, and my grumpy attitude for the past month.  Thank you Chels!

And with that, I’ll leave you with a snapshot of one of my makeshift workspaces, along with one very helpful cat. I think it is time for some sleep.


2 thoughts on “And that’s all he wrote”

  1. Capital achievement, Nick. I’ll save the second congratulations for post-defense – but am confident it’s a formality at this point.

    When you’re about to whistle beef from nerves just before your defense, remember the standard advice that you literally know more about what your talking about than *anybody else in there – be confident in that. Also, the best advice given to me is that literally everyone at your talk including your committee wants you to do so well…just relax.

    And I know you’d never forget her, but remember your #5 above in your final slide of your presentation: it was my favorite of my talk.

    Light finally at the end of the tunnel.

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