Just a bit more detail here about the defense, other than "I passed." Part of my program requires us to defend our dissertation proposal which is essentially the first three chapters of the future dissertation- introduction/rationale, literature review, and methodology. My wonderful chair and advisor told me to consider it more of a working session with my committee of experts rather than conjuring up negative connotations associated with the term "defense." Even still, I lost a lot of sleep prior to the Big D and had many dreams about showing up unprepared.
On the big day, I was up early reading through my notes and printing out handouts for my committee members. I also picked up bagels, fruit, and beverages before hitting campus since it is customary in most programs to bring refreshments (bribes?) to the event. My nerves ended up being calmed a bit to see cream cheese on the face of one of my professors, I must admit...
For the most part, they asked me what I wanted to learn from my study and how I thought my methods would get at the data to do so. It was intense and I was nervous but I got a lot of great advice from seasoned researchers on things I wouldn't have thought about. It was also somewhat challenging to hear diverging or differing ideas and thoughts from some of my members but fortunately I have a great chair so that helps.
When it was over, I called Austin and tried to relax a little. My wonderful officemates ordered in pizza and we had a little party while swapping war stories. I work with nursing grad students but the overlap between nursing and (language) education is not insignificant and it's refreshing to have "different" colleagues. Unfortunately, I had to teach that evening and my mind was just not in it but sometimes that how it goes.
I was so tired when I got home and Austin and I went to a nearby Mexican place that opened in the last year. We were happy to see it bursting at the seams with many clientele speaking Spanish and a really excellent mariachi band playing. We had fantastic food and I had a margarita; perfect.
While there is still much left to do in my grad school career, I am touched by the support I received from my family and friends ahead of this big hurdle. The texts, cards, emails, and phone calls were so lovely.
I'm rested again and we're looking forward to a quiet weekend at home. The weather is great and more patio time is in order tonight; soon it will be too hot...