I just registered for my classes this semester, and had a moment of “whoa.” It seems that despite my spending a year in a different program with totally different requirements, I’ll be done with my coursework this fall. Since I’m also taking my qualifying exams in November, I’ll be ABD this spring.
(Okay, okay, technically there’s one course I may have to take next semester instead of this semester, if I can’t get my adviser to sign off on a waiver. But still.)
I’m not quite sure how this crept up on me. I’ve been feeling like this PhD business is enormous and overwhelming and that I’ll never make progress. And then suddenly something like this happens, and I say to myself, “Wow! Slow and steady isn’t so bad after all!”
When I try to be rational about it, I know that I’m doing well in my program. I’ve been teaching for three semesters and have designed two of my own classes - including one that’s now in the permanent catalog. I’ve been presenting at conferences since my first year. I’ve got one publication already, even before starting my dissertation research, and I’ve got two more in the pipeline (including one in a major research journal!). And I’m doing well enough in my classes and research to rate another year of full tuition support, which is both flattering and financially crucial. But with such a huge, multi-year project it’s easy to focus on the feeling of, “Wow, I’m no closer to my goal today than I was yesterday,” instead of feeling good about what I’ve achieved.
Well, today, at least, I’m feeling like I’ve achieved something. In just a few months, I’ll be ABD - and I’ll make sure to celebrate before facing the brain-destroying beast of the dissertation.