Thursday, September 5, 2013
When you work on something for a year, and then finish it, it's a big deal. To exactly one person: you.
Having worked on this project for as long as I did, you'd think that I could avoid late night, stress-filled changes and re-writes. But, you'd be wrong. My thesis adviser had been sending my drafts back with the vaguest of critiques, and, it was only the night before we left for New York that I realized that the drafts she sent back were actually filled with specific, line-by-line notes, which I hadn't seen when I only viewed the document instead of downloading it.
But, that's another gut-wrenching story.
I finished my changes, sent a final draft back to her, and we headed to New York Wednesday night. I intended to turn it in Thursday, two days ahead of time, until I called to check the office hours and discovered that Thursday was the due date. Then, I called red alert.
Edie squirmed around the hotel room and didn't watch cartoons while I scrambled to finish the last set of changes from my adviser, then Edie and I walked to the Staples on 34th street where I paid a small fortune to print two copies of my 40 page paper.
Edie fell asleep and I ate a joyless lunch, my head kind of aching and my legs jittery. We hopped on the train, the first of 3 to get down to Brooklyn College (a pain to get to from Brooklyn). After an hour on the train(s), I hauled the stroller up the subway stairs and walked onto campus.
I knew my adviser wouldn't be on campus, and the ladies who work in the English office are notoriously unimpressed, but, I think, in my heart, I expected, oh, I don't know, like a balloon drop or a confetti cannon when I walked in. Something to note the magnitude of the occasion. The secretary gestured to the row of boxes and I gingerly laid my envelopes on top, unwilling to jam them into the already full mailboxes of two professors. I walked out and looked down at Edie, who looked unmoved by the moment.
I didn't feel a noticeable sense of relief, which I wasn't expecting. I get wrapped up in projects, and it takes me time to disengage. But, I didn't feel that either. I just felt . . . nothing. I finished, and let go, and that was it.
I hadn't given it much thought when I opened the email that told me my thesis had been approved. The bum ankle kept me from doing a celebratory jump, but my dad did buy me a box of See's candy, which is pretty much the same thing.