Friday 12 May 2017

Thank YOU!

Dearest Family and Friends,

This is it, I think. The last time that I will be writing as a "student." Technically I am already done being a student, but I want to indulge that identity one more time. After this, I know that I need to shake of this student mindset because I need to go on the job market as a scholar, not as a student. I've written a lot throughout this journey to earn my Ph.D., and I welcome you to look at past entries on this blog to see some of the highs and lows. What I want to say here, though, is thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for being kind and supportive and funny and tough and lovely. Thank you for sometimes asking me how my work is going and thank you for sometimes not asking me how my work is going. Both are very appreciated.

I wrote my dedication and acknowledgements for my dissertation a few months before I actually finished writing my dissertation because I needed to take a break, but also because I felt like I just had so much to say and I wanted to make sure I had the time to get it right. Though I find my dissertation to be fascinating, I know that I am in the minority and that many people may not actually see the acknowledgements that I wrote about them. I wanted to offer you the opportunity to read them from here. Please know they come from the heart.

I feel both obligated and afraid to list people by name. I really want to individually recognize and thank the people who have loved me and helped me, but I am also afraid to miss people that have been important to me. You know who you are, wonderful people. Academic mentors and friends, I have listed some of you in my previous advice post as well as my acknowledgements, so please take a second to read my words there if you'd like.

Amazing #30Days Gifts
I do want to say a special thank you to the people who participated in the #30DaysofKay countdown that my mom organized. You all are so kind. Words of affirmation are my primary love language, so you can believe that I felt incredibly supported and special throughout the last month. The time, effort, and/or money that you spent congratulating me is so appreciated. Thanks Mom, for organizing this special effort. And thank you to you, Tim and Britt, Brianna, Kari, Tom and Karen, Becca, Caitlin, Brittany and Jadon, Leanne and Bill, Tony and Janelle, Uncle Scott, Josh, Sarah, Alix, Jess, Rebecca, Nana, Uncle Keith and Aunty Janet, Jennifer, Kat, Hannah, Martha, Tanja, Tim, Uncle Bill and Aunty Linda, Shannon, Isaac, Grandma Zietz, Jessica, Laura, Abby, Joel and Candace, Jehla, Bethie, Debbie, Trish and Chris, and my parents. Thanks also to the MANY other people who offered congratulations through Facebook, Instagram, text, email, or in person. You all are the best. How did I get so lucky??

Sweet #30Days Cards
In addition to all of this, I thank God. My faith in him and community found because of him have upheld me through this experience. I also have to thank Wade. He's just the best. Aside from being slightly annoying by asking me, "did you finish your dissertation today??" everyday for the past three years, he's been incredibly patient, kind, and loving as I have worked towards this degree. He's cooked dinner, taken care of the dogs, held me as I've cried, purchase lavender oil (even though he thinks I'm addicted to it), and done anything else in his power to make this journey just a little easier.

It can be easy to look back at experiences like this with rose colored glasses. I want to recognize that it hasn't been easy. That there have been (many) times that I've thought about quitting. I also have some apprehension looking forward. I don't know what's gonna happen next or what opportunities will be opened because of this degree. What I do know that is that I could not have done this alone. By being my friends and family you have supported me, whether I see you every week or every year.

One of the most influential books of my life has been The Awakening by Kate Chopin (though it is not a story I intend to emulate). I read it in Africa in 2010 while going through what I would call "an existential crisis," and Chopin's words often return to me in times of change or uncertainty. In this novel, Chopin writes, "one must possess many gifts, absolute gifts, which have not been acquired by ones own effort. And moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul." You have been those gifts to me. God has given me courage through you. Thank you.

All my love,

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