one step closer

This past Tuesday, I successfully defended my dissertation proposal (not to be confused with the actual dissertation). Basically, that means that I am officially now a PhD candidate; all that separates me from graduation is a publication or two that will form the basis of my dissertation.

I have to say that I feel a tremendous sense of relief having this milestone behind me. I started writing the proposal in early November, so my anxiety about the public defense has been accumulating for the past three months. I’m the type of person who really suffers mentally when a to-do list item is left undone, so having this giant “check mark” really is quite wonderful.

The questions I received from audience and committee members were an interesting mix–none of which were the ones I thought I would receive, of course. Some I had a good, solid answer for (e.g., Is beta-hydroxybutyrate the only ketone?), while others I simply had to say, “I don’t know” (e.g., What physiological processes occur to allow blood lipids to decrease on a high-fat diet?). I felt my performance was a bit sub-par, but my adviser assured me that I did well (but she has to say that, right?). Regardless, the end result was the desired one.

I’m looking forward to breathing a little easier for a while. I have quite a few ideas for future blog posts, so I hope that I’ll get around to writing those in the coming months.

Now I’m off to read a few books with Caleb before bed!

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