Thursday, April 05, 2012

Heading Back In

My last class of the doctoral program starts on Monday. Though long anticipated, I'm feeling kind of shocked that it's actually arrived. I started this journey in September of 2010 - not all that long ago. I've taken two classes each quarter and while deep in the depths of study - papers and textbooks and articles and group projects and discussion boards piled high - I thought time had never moved so slow. Now, looking back, it seems like it passed in a blur.

It has been quite a journey, challenging, stressful, thoughtful, and amazing. There were days I didn't think I'd make it through, and even though I've come this far, I find myself with the same scared and fluttery feeling at the start of the new quarter that I've had each time. I'm giving myself little pep talks every day, reminding myself of my success thus far, telling myself that I will do just fine. Then I think about what is to follow - the big D - and I try not to think anymore. Only problem is, this is the last class of the research series, and all the research classes are about the big D. I have to think about it! There's no more hiding my head in the sand, I will be writing a doctoral project proposal, I will be submitting it and anxiously awaiting approval, I will be conducting a study, and I will be writing a dissertation. And then, I will be in Boston defending it.

It's been easy to ignore those facts, but not any longer. The time has arrived. I'm starting to think the classes have been the easy part. Hard, because someone else is setting the parameters and the deadlines, but easy, because it's all laid out in nice and tidy rubrics - all I have to do is meet the expectations. But after this class, it's up to me. My parameters, my time line, my responsibility. Many people fade out at this stage of the game - I don't want to do that. I want to finish what I started (does that sound familiar to any one who's run with me?)

So, here I go, heading back in. I've had a few days off to regroup and reflect, now it's back to the books. I'm hoping to come up for air on the weekends, maybe have some time to spend with friends and family, run a race or two, go on a couple trips...it's only one class, right? And then, I can set my own schedule, right? As long as I'm done in a year, it's all good!

5 comments:

scott said...

Hmmm... you are right, an ABD is a DNF, and I never thought about in those terms. However, after reading about all your accomplishments, this is 'just' another marathon, an academic marathon. Have fun with this last lap, savor it because unlike many of the races you've completed multiple times, this one will not be repeated!

lizzie lee said...

you'll succeed like in all your endeavors!!

Scott McMurtrey said...

You're doing awesome and you'll continue to do awesome. :)

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Michelle,
Just like training for that very first marathon, you have hit mile 20. Push through be ause the end is in sight! Hardest part, but also the most worthwhile. Wish I could come hang out during my spring break this coming week!
Jenny

Olga King said...

An unbelievable journey for you, an example of so many who claim "too late". Never too late. Way to go, Michelle!