Well, it’s done. I got “hooded” for my PhD today. It was a long day and it started early – but it was worth every minute. I had some wonderful conversations with other graduating PhDs and a few of the faculty as well. John was there clapping madly for me, and I didn’t even trip when I stepped up to pick up my large empty folder (the diploma has been on my wall since last September). I was even able to say brief hellos to a few of my colleagues – Steve, Julie, Jay, James – and to give a big hug to VA (a kind of faery godmother who told me that the dissertation was done – when it wasn’t – and made me believe that I would finish – and I did). Even the weather cooperated. The only thing I regret was that I didn’t actually see my director, who was busy handing out undergraduate diplomas. My other local committee member was very nice, and didn’t even topple the cap as he put the hood over my head (I am always amazed when things like that don’t happen at public events).
I highly recommend the experience.
Everywhere I looked, people were smiling at me. I haven’t felt like that in a long long time – it was a liberating sensation. On the way home, we stopped at the post office so that I could mail off my mom’s birthday package. Still in full regalia, I made a bit of a picture. The three postal workers all stopped for a moment and spontaneously grinned at me and started clapping. I have rarely felt such warmth in this city. Then we stopped at a gourmet-food-to-go place that I favor – partly because I have become friends with Mary, who seems always to be working there during the times I drop by. She grinned too.
I hadn’t slept much last night. For some reason I was really keyed up. My relationship with the university has had a few ups and downs, and I suppose I was a little bit ambivalent. But this is one thing that universities do well, and I wanted the ceremony and the closure and the sense of acceptance. We had to get up astoundingly early for someone of my somewhat nocturnal habits – especially since I had only slept for an hour or two and that intermittently. By the time we returned home at about 3:30 – I was dropping from exhaustion. I could have hunted up some friends and gone out to celebrate I suppose, but all I really wanted to do was drop.
So now it’s done. At last. All in all, a lovely day.