So, if you didn’t already know, I passed my qualifying exam today. Also I feel the need to post in my tired, and post-barhopping state. So I apologize for spelling and grammatical errors.
Basically, the situation is all to surreal to feel right now. In some way the success of me passing (a good thing) yields a predictable path that my life will take for the however many years. However, if I had failed (bad), then my life may have taken a more interesting and unexpected turn here in a few days.
Yes, failing would have called into very question the nature of any and ALL of my academic pursuits. It would have meant admitting that, once again, other people are unfathomably smarter than me. And rather than dealing with them, I would have likely ran away again. Shit is getting real in Austin anyways and it is time to step up or ship out. But back to the main point.
Passing my quals, in some very large sense, while opening up the option to continue on with my PhD here, closed off the multitude of other options that are ANYTHING ELSE I COULD HAVE EVER DONE WITH MY LIFE. Maybe this is being over-reaching, but on some level I find this kind of sad.
Back in August I promised to give this second round of testing it’s fair shot. Which I think I did. My mom took this to mean that I had basically given up. But really, I think it meant that either way I would have been satisfied with the results, knowing I had given it all I could reasonably give it. I was prepared to be content with the outcome.
And now, more than anything, I am tired.
But don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I am not happy, it isn’t that I am not exciting, it isn’t that I am not elated that I am actually going to get my doctorate! But truthfully, it didn’t really hit me until I talked to my parental unit. My mom was thrilled since I will be the first one in her line to get a doctorate (though not to become a professor). My dad called me from India to wish me congratulations. My grandmother used three contiguous exclamation points in an email she sent me!!! Maybe this was worth it.
Lastly, I am thrilled that my life will finally be unpaused. There are all these little details I can now worry about again. AND I can forget about all of the big details I can do nothing to change. THAT was the real success of the day.
Needless to say, it takes a village to get through this sort of thing. I would like to thank every member of the tribe (local & virtual) that helped me get through this trying time. I know the past 5 months have been no easier on you than on me. In any even thank you all for your support, especially considering the lack of a sole personage dedicated to the task. You did great!