Monday, June 20, 2016

I am PHinally Done!

Well I'm back friends!! 

Looking back, April, May, and June all seem like nothing but a blur. I was so busy and immersed in my dissertation I couldn't even tell you where the time went. BUT.....

I AM NOW DR. MEREDITH MCQUERRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right!! A little over a week ago I successfully defended my 365 page (yes, you read those numbers correctly) dissertation in front of my doctoral committee members, colleagues, and friends. 

I gave an hour long presentation on the last two and half years worth of work...yes, just an hour...that was a challenge believe it or not...could have talked all day! After that, the audience asked a few questions and then it was grilling time. My committee members went question by question and asked me to recall any ounce of information regarding the field of research I studied during my PhD. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I was able to sufficiently answer their questions and they deemed me worthy of earning my doctorate! 

It still does not feel real...I don't really think about it much...but, for the last week I have felt more like myself than I have in years...seriously. All of the hard work, dedication, discipline, rigor, and intrinsic motivation basically went by the wayside and for the last few days I have been doing good to get myself dressed...for the pool! LOLololol

All kidding aside, I did give myself a period of grace this past week to relax...aka binge watch Netflix. SIDE NOTE: you must go watch Peaky Blinders right now! So good! And then OITNB what's a girl to do?! ;)

I still don't think I'm far enough removed to have really reflected on all this journey has meant to me...because that's exactly what it is...a journey. It's one of survival and to be honest, there were a few moments (or many) where I really didn't know if I could do it. In fact, I knew that I alone could not do it and it was strength from the Lord alone that carried me through. Although I don't like to dwell on those moments, I think it is important to look back and realize all that I overcame to earn this degree. Not just the last few years, but all the years before including my Master's, undergraduate, and even the mindset I developed in middle school after giving my life to Christ which was to do my best at anything I set my mind to. That attitude has definitely served me well in life.

I feel the need to keep constantly thanking my husband, parents, brother and family and friends for their endless support. To my husband, I absolutely would not have been able to do any of it without him. He relocated for me, 8 hours from home, started a new job in a new city with new people, just so I could pursue my dream and our dream. From the beginning this has always been our pursue careers that we love and are passionate about so that we can settle down and be financially secure to start a family. We are so excited for the future and what is to come!!

Before Travis, there was my parents who set forth and lived out the best example any child could ask for. They are both independent, hard working, humble, ambitious, caring, compassionate, and most importantly, God fearing. They have supported me in every way imaginable, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and financially. My parents made sure college debt was something I never had to take on. That was one less worry in the back of my mind as I pursued degree after degree (although the last two were completely funded by government grants) that no matter what, my parents had my back and would be there if I ever needed them for anything.

Then there's my best friend who happens to be my brother. Although we fought tooth and nail as kiddos I am so thankful for the close relationship we have. It is one of laughter, respect, and understanding. We celebrate one another's accomplishments and look up to each other. Thank you for always being willing to listen on the other side of the phone no matter the time!

Finally, there's my one true bestie who God graciously blessed me with almost a decade ago before we even started our college journey together. She just gets me...and is always there to listen and give me the best advice. Most importantly, she's my prayer warrior. Knowing she was praying for me in every stressful turn of this journey gave me strength!

Lastly, I have to thank my wonderful colleagues. They are too numerous to name them all but the lunch crew (you know who you are) kept me sane through this crazy time. I will miss all of them dearly as I will be a lunch party of 1 very soon :(.

This is now reaching #longestpostever status and I'm sure there aren't too many out there who really care to read if you're still must be really bored ;) But thank you for reading. It has been therapeutic to put all of this into words (now that I can finally think about writing again...just a little). This probably isn't the last you've heard of my PhD journey but for now, it's all I got!

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