I woke up excited today.
Over a month ago, I moved to CT from my beloved Brooklyn to focus on my dissertation. My family offered me a deal that would have been totally crazy to give up, and so I packed up my life and moved to Hartford. While I knew this was the right thing to do, it made me incredibly anxious and sad. The first morning I woke up, I thought I’d feel like I feel today: ready to get up and make it happen, but instead, I kinda dragged myself to the computer and I can’t really remember if anything really got done. Slowly over the past two months I’ve managed to complete most of the data work for my entire dissertation, get all the committee members, and put work into my proposal. I’ve been working on different versions of my dissertation for the past five years, so at this point, it doesn’t excite me like I wish it would.
But I woke up excited today.
As is par for the course, I’ve been incredibly anxious about my what’s next. I’ve been paying too much attention to what my rockstar academic friends have been doing and then beating myself up for not having done as much. I know, lame. But in conversations I’ve been having with my brother and some male friends, I think I’m stumbling upon my next big step. It doesn’t have the shape yet for me to describe it here, but I’m hyped about it. For the first time, I woke up (hyped) and walked to the computer (hyped) and started working (hyped). Instead of “this humongous, overwhelming paper that I don’t know when I’ll ever finish”, my dissertation has become “this thing I gotta get done now so I can do this really cool thing.” My plans after my dissertation still aren’t as clear as I’d like them to be, but they are taking shape, which is a relief. From the few people that I’ve spoken to about my next step, I’ve already received an incredible amount of support. As much as it scares me, it’s something that I can’t not try. It’s in a field and working with a population where my gender will be an obstacle and still I can’t stop.
I haven’t felt passion for a project in such a long time. I am so thankful. When facing hard realities, instead of feeling defeated, I just keep saying “there’s got to be a way to do this.” I have to keep pushing it. I’m too excited not to. Naturally, I’m terrified, but even that is serving as motivation. I’m about to make it happen.