I did it. I talked for an hour with my examining committee. I had answers (be they good or bad) for all of their questions. I never felt like I was floundering although sometimes I felt like we were wandering a bit away from the point. And maybe best of all, I acted calm even though I didn’t feel very calm. Even the shaky hands passed.
On top of that, I had a great audience. Friends, family, classmates. On some level, I was just really grateful I didn’t disgrace myself in front of so many people I love and respect. (Epic celebrations followed, too, complete with thematically appropriate thunderstorms.)
So I’m happy but not quite yet triumphant. A few reasons for this:
Because of the way the college operates, I don’t officially know how I did yet. I’m pretty sure I passed, but beyond that, I can’t say. So one of my goals this weekend is not to think too hard about that. But I think I will feel better when I have an official resolution.
It’s also really hard to go from high levels of anticipation and anxiety back to normal. My brain is working to get back to equilibrium, but I still feel kind of twitchy. Plus I lack the will to do much or think that hard about anything. I’m hoping I will feel less tired soon.
There’s also that feeling of a big project being over. This essay has been such a constant part of my life for the past eight months. It’s strange to think of not meeting with my advisor or grumbling about Rousseau or extolling Shelley’s genius on a weekly basis.
That said, I definitely need a break from all this. It’ll be nice to pursue some other projects for a while (like writing fiction!). It’ll be nice, too, not to have such a major event hanging over my head. I did it. It’s done.
That just needs to sink in a bit more. Process. Always process.