Apologies for this way tardy update: it’s done. The thesis defense last month was an oddly pleasant experience and the committee passed me with a handful of revisions to the paper. They asked a few tough methodological questions, which I handled decently enough, and – in the end  – they were rather complimentary of the biostatistical and data managerial depths I went to for this project, as well as the off-the-cuff handling of the epidemiology quiz questions thrown my way. Thanks, all, for your support during this angst-ridden and overdrawn process. Perhaps, now, when you ask me how I’m doing, you’ll hear something else come out of my mouth besides, “Oh, school stuff…” – like maybe, “Oh, job hunting stuff…”

Anyway, since the defense I’ve been spending a lot of time with friends, and with my damnself, reflecting on a few things. The upshot of which is something I’ll now refer to as resigned optimism, which should be distinguished from the cautious and blind varieties of optimism. Resigned optimism, as I’m experiencing it so far, has to do with exhausting your reserves of doubt to the point of accepting optimism as one would accept death. Hit me, Dr. Kübler-Ross:

  1. Denial – “There’s no way I’ll fashion a satisfying career out of these two mildly related master’s degrees.”
  2. Anger – “WTF, optimism? I’m in my mid-30’s and I’m STILL talking about fashioning a career!”
  3. Bargaining – “Okay, just let me devote a couple more years to finishing that doctorate I started 10 years ago, then it’s back into the doubt-free pipeline!”
  4. Depression – “What’s the point, expectations are premeditated disappointments.”
  5. Acceptance – “Maaaaan, if I can’t carve out some awesomeness for myself, I’m truly a moron.”

I guess that last one assumes that I don’t really think I’m such a moron. Certainly, I criticize myself for a lot, but it might be a stretch for me to adopt ‘true moron’ as a personality characteristic. Errrr, how about I close out with another list.

Ten things that have made post-thesis resigned optimism all that much better:

  1. Amazing night of bad sweaters and acoustic music with extended band family
  2. Another great Thanksgiving weekend in L.A. with Jeff and Liz involving late evening gang-walk of Hollywood Hills, Brazilian lunch next to Casey Affleck, Venice Beach clusterfugg, my first Wii-ing, and hysterical pictionaries
  3. Insanely fun rehearsals and bombastic performance with Andrew, Trevor and Colin as backing music for local fashion show
  4. Re: local fashion show, being amongst some beautiful hipsters for a night of laughter, flirting and escapism
  5. Finally figuring out how to get my ailing bass rig to sound good (i.e., put a good speaker in the old cabinet, ignore the impedance ratings and let it roll)
  6. Driving stick in my German automobile (hecho en Mexico)
  7. The internet: streaming TV, epidemiology/statistics/science writing blogs, Huffingtonpost, Slate, Economist, New Republic, BoingBoing, Lifehacker and associated Gawkery, FunnyOrDie, the Onion…
  8. The return of lost roommates and felines
  9. Movie nights, beautiful friends
  10. Feeling like myself again

Not bad; I can think of worse ways to close out the year. In store the holidays: road trip to my homeland, Blagojevich territory, for nephew-time and old friends.



~ by TGV on December 15, 2008.

One Response to “Stages”

  1. Congrats on finishing! Enjoy your trip to the land of Blago! I’m heading there myself in short order. Happy Holidays!

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