Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Suburban Matron, Ph.D.

Y'all! I finally finished my Ph.D. in British Literature. I filed my dissertation last Friday. That errand was the reason for my sudden trip to California last week. It just all came together: my professors approved it all right as the deadline for a September degree was approaching, so I saw my chance to skedaddle out there. Did you guys know I was working on a Ph.D? Probably only if you've been around here a while.

And even though it required crazy last-minute travel arranging and logistical wrangling, somehow it all worked. I had to meet different professors in different cities at different times and using different modes of transport. I had to collect their precious Original Signatures for my title page, in accordance with the extensive, subtle, and baroque thesis submission guidelines set out by the UC graduate system.

It's My Diss in a Box
It's my diss in a box!

My awesome friends in California helped me at each point in the mission, providing schlepping, gossip, advice, lodging, encouragement, and then, after it was a done deal, champagne.

Champagne
Oh yum.


Lucky Candles
And lucky candles can't hurt.


Wigging
And why not a celebratory wig?

Friends, would you believe me if I told you that I started that Ph.D. program just shy of nine years ago? Laura was a baby. I so clearly remember being anguished about leaving her with a baby sitter so I could go to my classes. And now she is a big tall sassmouth. Amazing. Actually, if you know anything about the stats on Humanities Ph.D.'s, you know that nine years isn't that long, but it has been a whole season of my life. A whole, full, joyous, complicated, formative, and crazy season.

My friends who have finished their degrees warned me that the actual moment of turning it in would be anticlimactic. You hand your dissertation to a person in an office and then you walk out the door. There is no brass band to play you on your way. But I just felt pleasure, pure relief and contentment. The campus of UC Santa Cruz had never looked so gorgeous or seemed like such a charmed place. It was a happy day.

Now I'm back and I think it will take a while for my brain to figure out that I don't need to feel slightly guilty at all times that I'm not working on my dissertation. So what am I going to do now that I'm not? I'm going to celebrate for, like, a month. Bring on the dancing girls! Then I'm going to:

  • Watch the entire series of "The Wire," which I've never seen
  • Play Lego Harry Potter on the xbox with Hank, without feeling like I'm wasting time
  • Pick back up a needlepoint project that I started early in the summer as a last ditch procrastination tactic
  • Put more energy into this here blog
  • Read a ton of stuff for pleasure
  • Do some deep organizing of a couple rooms in my house
  • Read books that Laura is reading
  • Watch HGTV like it's my job
  • Look for an actual academic job
  • Drink more champagne
  • Maybe start a book club, either in my 'hood or on this blog or both--interested?
So that's what's going on over here. Holla!

If you want to come help me watch "The Wire," drink wine, and/or shred, please notify me at your earliest convenience.

54 comments:

Roving Lemon said...

Congrulations! I haven't done it myself, but my husband has, and I well remember the feelings of relief, elation, and disorientation that followed submission. I vote for watching 'The Wire' in full *before* beginning a job search, 'cause that's a whole other can of worms to open.

Julie said...

Congrats Dr. Matron. I love the idea of a blog book club, btw.

Judy said...

No, No, Becks! Don't shred!! Wait for cool weather and burn every blessed page of notes/rough draft/research, page by stinkin' page. It feels good both emotionally and physically, as it provides warmth for the chill. It took me 9 years, also, and the feeling of relief upon completion is bliss. Congrats many times over!!

Andrew said...

Congratulations! I need to come down there and get that couch, probably next week, so I would certainly be interested in Wire-watching-with-wine then.

Amy said...

You know, I got a little teary over this. Because it is huge for you, and to stick with it with all that having two kids (not to mention cancer) entails... well, good golly. Phenomenal, impressive, wonderful!

But, um, dancing girls? Can I put in a vote for dancing BOYS??

(my verification word is "squze," as in "squze me; don't you mean dancing BOYS??") xoxo

Jenni said...

I too am a little weepy on your behalf. I think I told you my husband has his PhD and I know that it really is a labor of love. And sometimes, with no love. So congrats to you for making it through.

Love the wig! I'm all about a blog book club. Lets do!

Jenni said...

I too am a little weepy on your behalf. I think I told you my husband has his PhD and I know that it really is a labor of love. And sometimes, with no love. So congrats to you for making it through.

My husband didn't know what he was supposed to do with all the TIME
after he finally finished.


Love the wig! I'm all about a blog book club. Lets do!

Amy said...

Yay!! So proud of and impressed by you. Well done!! This definitely calls for a celebratory trip to TJ Maxx.

Book club? Yes, please!

aimeewrites said...

Wow, congrats!!! Yes on the book club, please.

And thank GOODNESS I didn't have a drink in my mouth when I came across "My diss in a box."

Messy Mom said...

I don't Know how you do it all. You are amazing! Congratulations.

puncturedbicycle said...

Congratulations! A month of celebration feels about right. That not feeling guilty about not working on the diss is going to feel extremely flipping sweet I should think.

We've got The Wire on standby for after we watch the last of The Sopranos (which I must admit I can't bear to think about - it's just that good).

And now I need to go and find your post on grey-market Indian Retin-A as I have just come home from a drunken ladies' conflab on the deleterious nature of being all middle-aged. We are chipping in on a case of that and how.

mmeperpetua said...

Congratulations! So, so awesome. I can't believe they made you fly around the country collecting signatures. You mean you can't just mail that sheet back and forth? Dicks.

I say yes to the book club too, and I also request a post on "how the hell I got my dissertation done while raising kids," for those of us who are, um, still working on that one.

Camp Papa said...

Two kids, the cancer, AND the transcontinental move! You must have had great familial support.

I would join in an online book club, if you would treat me more gently that you do with our online Scrable games.

Mrs. Smith said...

Congratulations from Big D! I, too, would love to join your book club blog.

Rebekah said...

Awesome! Your "diss in a box" is about the funniest thing I've ever seen. Sloan will love it. You inspired me to get the shred and I started the other week also. I would love to come celebrate with you. I think you're entitled to a 1 year celebration period. U Rock!

Rebekah said...

Awesome! Your "diss in a box" is about the funniest thing I've ever seen. Sloan will love it. You inspired me to get the shred and I started the other week also. I would love to come celebrate with you. I think you're entitled to a 1 year celebration period. U Rock!

Jessica Gottlieb said...

What a wonderful accomplishment.

Dr. Matron.

mbaumbick said...

Congratulations! I am so excited and really proud of you!! You know I will take part in any shredding, wine drinking, tv watching and book clubbing...anything I can do to help you celebrate!!

My word verification is "setted" - not very Ph.D.ish if you ask me...

etheljr said...

Congratulations, Dr.! What a huge accomplishment. And your blog is doing very nicely already, thankyouverymuch. A blog book club sounds fun!

Pamela said...

congrats, dr. bad ass.

Elle said...

This new wig needs a name. A stage name. If I come up with one, I'll let you know. Long ago I worked with a young lady who picked the stage name "Manatee." I did not set her straight. In my defense, neither did anyone else. Congratulations on completing yr very large paper!

EdgyJuneCleaver said...

Congrats! I hope you spend more time with your blog.

Lena said...

After eleventy hundred years of reading blogs, I can tell you in all sincerity that "It's my diss in a box!" is THE BEST line ever written.

Commence preening and martini shaking!

missynall said...

Who knew? The Suburban Matron's done got her book learnin'! So proud of you Becky or should I say Dr. Becky? WAY TO GO!

Stephanie said...

Dude! That's awesome news. Brass band can be arranged. I know a guy who knows a guy who has a cousin... Briarpatch Book Club, y'all.

A Day That is Dessert said...

My goodness, congratulations!! I remember you were working on it, but assumed it was back burner for all the obvious reasons. Woo hoo! And count me in on the online book club.

Beth said...

You go, docktah. Whoopie!

I'm so into a blog book club I want to punch someone.

I totally concur about your diss in a box. CLASSIC.

Elizabeth said...

Wow! Congratulations! What was your dissertation about? I'm in for everything: shredding, book club and The Wire.

Rick Dakan said...

Awesome indeed! Many congrats! Now, as a bonus perk, when someone's being snooty to you, you can say, "It's Dr. Woomer. And yes, we would like to be seated now."

Star said...

Congrats! Sounds a bit like my story, but without the kids.

(Hand-done) Needlepoint? Did I hear someone say "Needlepoint?!!!" Oh Yeah! Me, too! I love to share my passion for, designs for and thoughts about needlepoint on my non-commercial blog, in case you're interested:

http://arsacupicturaestellae.blogspot.com

Thanks for your post. It brought back such fond memories.

Star

Michele R said...

Congrats on accomplishing your goal! I'd definitely do the book club and I keep meaning to put back in that Shred dvd....

Meghan said...

Woohoooo! Amazing stuff, hands down. And who knew you were an Emily?! Why yes, I did read that dissertation cover. Because it is 9 years of your life and is worthy of examination! :) Congrats!!!

Dancer said...

I've only recently started reading your blog. Found i on the Bloggess whom I found on Hyperbole and a Half whom I found on Red Means Go. Anyway, I started reading the whole breast cancer saga (I'm a nurse so that sparked my interest) and went on to the stories about your neighbors (after 16 years I still hardly know mine - there's Norway for you). Anyway I want to congratulate you on the PHD. What a milestone! I just finished my graduate work to become a nures anesthetist and it nearly finished me! Congratulations! you deserve to celebrate and feel elation!

Andrea said...

Congrats on the PhD!! That's quite an accomplishment. I've only been working on my undergrad degree for...let me count on fingers and toes...started 15 years ago (damn kids getting in the way). Some year though I'm going to get there!

I would definitely be interested in a book club here or elsewhere.

anna said...

ZOMG WE CAN DO THE SECRET HANDSHAKE NOW!

Congrats! Congrats! So happy for you!

Michele said...

congratulations! It must feel great to be done.

It past the ruler test and everything. Formatting seems to be the hardest part. Did you upload it into ProQuest and with CDL? Or are you pending publication? Yeah, I could totally geek out on the Open Access piece of this pie but I'll try not to.

Go drink some more champagne...You deserve it!

Megan said...

Congratulations, Dr. Swag! Holy crappola, what an accomplishment! ("Crappola" is actually an homage to a former coworker. Her first initial was "C" and her last name was "Rappola" so her email address was crappola@employer, I s*** you not.)

The wig is very cute and sassy! Can we have a naming contest for her?

Bring on the book club!

clear screen said...

congratulations!! that's great news! Are you on the job market? What happens next? You should have a spin-off blog about life on the job market, with detailed descriptions about how it's done. Inquiring minds . . . (with a link to your diss uploaded on the internet!)

Jody said...

Wait, wait!!! Who knew your first name was Emily? This surprises me....have to ponder.

Juliet Grossman said...

Congratulations! By the way I went to high school in the Santa Cruz area and my parents live there today. I took classes at UCSC during my senior year. It is indeed a unique place.

Becky said...

It really is, isn't it Juliet?

Thanks for all the congratulations guys! Every now and then I'm like, I am so glad that wasn't all a dream!

And yes, my first name is Emily but nobody has ever called me that except doctor's office receptionists. I've been Becky since the first minute of life, I think.

Anoushig said...

Big congratulations! I am starting my ninth year, also at a UC school, also finishing up from cross country. I hope to be in your shoes in June! I had better be, anyway.

angelasw said...

Congratulations!!!

Jane said...

Congratulations, Becky! That's fantastic! I'm very happy for you.

P.s. Can I be in your book club?

Keely said...

Well, I'm a little late, but, CONGRATULATIONS! That's some kind of awesomesauce.

Also, "diss in a box" made me burst into hysterical laughter. It's 1am, so I think I woke someone up. It was worth it.

gretchen said...

I'm SO proud of you! I really am. I hope you did some grand celebrating and relaxing! I'm sure somebody else has asked this, but does the new wig have a name? I think she's very sassy.

confused homemaker said...

Congrats on finishing!! I completed mine in December last year, now I make strangers call me Dr. for no reason except I can. It was both exhilarating & a total let down--mostly because there was NO dance off at the defense. I had convinced myself life is like a 80s movie. I know, I'm crazy. I wish I had gone for a wig instead :)

Congrats again Dr.!!

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

The Wire is phenomenal! You will be hooked. I watched all 5 seasons in a week.

Solid said...

Congratulations, Becky!

curiouslystrong said...

Congratulations!

Dave said...

Congrats, Dr. Sis! Sign me up for "The Wire" and wine! As for shredding, uh, I volunteer to be motivational coach again, with wine in hand.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Yes to bloggy book club.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Hooray, hooray, hooray! And mmm, that Sofia is good estuffa!

Seriously, congratulations, Becky. Very proud of you!

janimal said...

Congrats! I just found your blog today and have nodding-head-agreeing-comments on practically everything I have read. So maybe just imagine me saying "WORD" after every post.

I fell asleep during the first episode of The Wire. Twice. But the 3rd time I tried to watch it I made it through, got hooked by the 3rd episode and totally recommend it!