This past Monday marked a monumental moment in my life: I finally (and successfully) defended my dissertation, now officially making me Dr. Johnson. Well, I suppose I technically have to walk across the stage and get the actual Ph.D. come May, but for now I’m basking in the glory of finally making it so to speak.
As I sit here pondering this monumental moment, I am left amazed. Amazed I have come this far, amazed that after five years in graduate school I have finally come to this: the end. But really, it is just the beginning. As I wrap up my time here at Baylor in the small city (town?) of Waco, I am left amazed. I’m amazed at the love and support from countless friends and family members I’ve had along the way. I have spent many a disgruntled late night studying for an exam or trying to get a data set to work or just moaning on the floor while I thought about actually having to finish the dang document (i.e., the dreaded dissertation). And all along the way, I had fellow graduate students/ friends/ colleagues and loved ones who groaned right along side me, knowing how painful it could be at times. I’m amazed at the good friendships I have made in my time here and even more amazed at how much my life has changed over the course of graduate school.
At the start of year one in my graduate program, I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a social psychologist. I was just “trying it out.” Now, five years later, I am obsessed with my job – I LOVE it. And I’ve grabbed some amazing things along the way. Most notably my best friend and dear husband, Patrick, whom I married last May. And so I sit here, ready for the beginning, not the end. I thought getting my Ph.D. would feel so final, so “end of the road,” but really it just makes me feel like a million new exciting possibilities are opening up for me. It’s a hopeful feeling.
The next step for me is to wrap up my time and life here in Waco and head to the big city (quite literally – moving to NYC) for my new job at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine as a researcher in the Cancer Prevention and Control Department. It is so weird to think of moving forward, and yet I can feel that my time here is done. Like the end of a good chapter, so is my life here at Baylor. My time here is coming to a wonderful, beautiful close. I am ending on a happy note with the city of Waco. But I am excited to start the next chapter of my life, where the girl who’s spent far too much time in an office with no windows (this still kills me) gets to see even more of the world. It’s a new step in so many ways for me. Wait a second. Come to think of it, my new job doesn’t have a window either. But you get it – figuratively I’m seeing more as I move to NYC. And there everything will be new. A new city. A new line of research. A new job. A new way of living. But I am excited. With my Ph.D. in my hand (well, figuratively), I am joyously ready for the next step in the adventure. Thank you to all of you who have loved and supported me along the way. This has been an accomplishment that I truly could not have done without each of you.