My confirmation of candidature was last week. Was it a big deal? Honestly, it’s hard to say. I had been reading, writing and thinking for a year. I had my presentation prepared a month in advance, and had practiced it at least ten times. I got some pretty searching questions, both in the seminar itself and as part of my committee interview. It seemed like a certified, bone fide, “big deal”.
And yet, everyone in the lead-up had insisted that this was not a “big deal”. Don’t worry, they said. It’s a box-ticking exercise, a formality, everyone passes. By the time the day actually rolled around I was sick of the anticipation. I just wanted it to be over with. And when it was over, there was no big release of the tension I’d built up. It was like getting to the top of a rollercoaster, before the drop, and then just stepping off and walking home.
So did this need to be a “big deal” at all? Looking back, were people around me doing some sneaky course-correcting on my behalf, knowing that I’d overreact in anticipation? Sometimes I wish navigating this journey wasn’t so much like tacking into a very unpredictable wind. But it’s over now, and at least I know that the thesis submission, still two years away, is in fact a “big deal”.