A couple of weeks ago, it happened.
My defense was open to the public, so I invited my closest family, friends, cohort, and a few colleagues to attend the big event. I spoke for about an hour on my topic, Exploring Trauma Therapists’ Perceptions of the Risk Factors and Protective Factors of Secondary Traumatic Stress. Around 25 people listened attentively, or at least it seemed that way. My committee asked me several questions about my research, including a few questions I did not expect. I felt confident and surefooted in my replies, and others said I looked comfortable. A little over an hour was complete, and I finished my lecture and had navigated the Q/A time. That’s when my committee dismissed everyone to outside the room while they deliberated on the decision on whether I should pass. Everyone seemed confident with cheers and congratulatory hugs while we waited 10 minutes for them to make their final decision.
That’s when it happened…
My advisor thanked everyone for coming, and then said it, “I’d like to be the first to introduce you to Doctor Keith Myers!” Applause and noise-makers commenced…these sounds were produced by little hand-clapping wands that were secretly provided to the crowd by my wife. I passed my final defense. It’s nice to say it aloud and to type it. Many asked me how I felt and it was usually a little mix of pride, relief, and like I had accomplished something of significance (not sure the last one is a true feeling but was present nonetheless).
After this, my wife and a few of my cohort and colleagues celebrated nicely with food and beverage. After three and a half years of this journey, I am now referred to as Dr. Myers.
All of this, just in time for my new post that begins next week. I’m very grateful to my wife, family, friends, cohort, and God who all held me up along the way. And thank you for sitting beside me in my journey to become a counselor educator. I appreciate all of your encouraging emails, thoughtful comments, and a couple of you commented at conferences, “Oh, you’re the one with the blog.” That’s been nice.
Some questions to ponder: Where will this blog go from here? Should I keep blogging about my academic journey as an Assistant Professor? Would I give this blog a different name entirely or keep it the same? I’d enjoy hearing your feedback…and until next time, Happy New Year!