My defense was on Monday and it was wonderful, albeit draining. I usually feel pretty confident in my oral presentation skills and I also have learned to trust my ability to think on the fly. But lately I've been sleep deprived. Emilia's teething and going through some developmental leaps that have made her more wakeful the last few weeks. And because I've needed every spare minute of revision and prep time, I've regularly been up of my own volition until 2am or later. So I was nervous about my brain's ability to perform in the moment. That said, I'm sure I would have been nervous no matter what. Thankfully my worries were for nothing. After all (and as I kept reassuring myself), I was the only person in the room who studied the topic with the amount of detail required to write a dissertation!
My family, including my parents, siblings, two parents-in-law, husband, and daughter attended! I wasn't sure whether I would want them there but my advisor encouraged me, saying it would be nice to have them be a part of what he felt was going to be a positive, memorable day. He was right and I'm glad I listened to him! I will always remember taking a deep breath before I began my presentation, and pausing to feel my throat tighten with emotion, knowing that the day was even more special because the room was full of those who rooted for me all along. Afterwards, Chris called me "Dr. Jesspgh" on twitter and many friends have repeated the joke since.
I wore an outfit that ... fit (Kate Spade dress, J. Crew cardigan). Years ago when I envisioned my defense, I had very specific ideas about what I wanted to wear. But when it came down to it, all the ideas suited cold weather (something wool to convey a professional vibe but still interesting, like this blazer but in an army green color), without the constraints of breastfeeding (that said, it is rare that I need to nurse Emilia when we're out and about... she's easily distracted and I had a bottle of pumped milk so my sister could feed her in the hallway if she fussed). So I went with what is familiar and comfortable and special enough. It didn't occur to me to snap a full outfit shot. But it's a repeat anyway. The day was special enough without a new outfit.
I am wrapping up a few minor revisions so that my document suits the (surprisingly draconian) requirements for ETD, then I have a huge backlog of reviews, outfits, and a sweet skincare giveaway to post. I'd like to get the giveaway up this weekend, if all goes well. Stay tuned!