Turning Corners

Posted: October 11, 2011 in healing
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It feels like I’ve reemerged from a dark room. A very, very dark room.

It has been a long last couple of months.

I took my written preliminary exams about two weeks ago, and when I wasn’t consumed with studying for them, I was occupied with freaking about about them.

I never believed I would actually pass them, but I did. With flying colors, apparently.

“Your answers on Colonial America and Slavery were some of the best I’ve seen,” my major adviser wrote.

I cried. (Out of joy and relief).

“I thought your Slavery answer went a bit outside the bounds of the question, but your response for the question on Reconstruction was very strong,” another professor informed me.

I smiled, nodded, and scribbled notes as he answered my follow up questions.

“I agree, this was overall the best exam I have ever seen,” another member of the exam committee told me in a meeting I arranged to discuss my answers.

Cried some more.

Now I’m studying for my oral exams, which I take in a little less than two weeks. Having a little bit of a hard time believing that time is finally here…I’m almost done. One dissertation proposal and one actual dissertation and one more defense, and I’ll officially become a doctor.

I have never been prepared for being finished with school before. I’m still not sure that I’m ready, but I feel more optimistic and hopeful now than I have…ever. Everything that has happened in the last couple of months has made everything a little more clear, and a little more manageable, in a strange way.

I didn’t think life was going to go on if anything ever happened to my band. It did.

And I strangely feel more hopeful now than I did when I thought I had everything I wanted. I miss being in a band immensely, but for the first time, I feel like it’s okay for me to set my own time line and move forward on my own. The whole process of surviving the last couple of months has been like it’s own little epiphany: I learned just how much I was relying on other people to help me move forward and achieve my dreams. I’m learning now that it’s okay to do it my own way, even if that way looks different than what I might have expected.

I’m in a different place now than I was ten years or five years or even one year ago. And that’s okay, maybe for the first time.

I’m gearing up to compete in National Novel Writing Month for the first time since 2007.

I’m considering a move to another city.

I’m accepting, for the first time, that being a professor might not be so bad.

Best of all, I’m looking forward.

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