Defending my dissertation was my priority for this week. Up until Monday morning I was still in semi-limbo as to who will my panelists be or even whether my defense will actually push through at all. So yesterday, when it finally happened, a big thorn was finally taken off my chest.
I had my usual classic bloopers (misspelled title slide, no page numbers in my paper, etc) but at least I survived. I have been having nightmares over it for the past week already and I was starting to even somatize colds, headaches and fever. I was getting panicked as each day went by.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. My panel had a number of questions and issues with regards to my conceptual framework but they were generally helpful. It helped also that my friends were there to support me (My phd comps gang--bopeep, fr. cha & mira; My notetakers-Mardet, Cha, My photgrapher-Karen & the tape recorder--Peter). Their presence helped boost my sinking morale during the course of the defense. There were moments there that I felt I couldn't answer anything anymore and it was the presence of my friends that helped me rally that much needed energy to keep up with the questions.
After nearly 2 hours of presentation and questions, I finally got to sit down. I plopped beside Peter and took my first real relaxed breath in more than a week. It was finally over. My audience and panel had a nice merienda (Cara and I teamed up to make our meals match) but I still couldn't eat. I was just too tired. After clearing up the room I headed to Ves' condo to celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, I was up only long enough to eat some dinner and greet her. I was asleep by 8:00pm.
Now the real work begins. I have to start gathering data and begin my dissertation. And hopefully finally defend the full study by my birthday in February. I hope so.
One thing I learned about this entire experience is the fact that I am loved by so many people. And even if the world turns against me from time to time, I will always have angels to see me through hell.
Thank you. It meant a lot to me--more than you'll ever know.