If you count the M.A., I've been in graduate school for nearly nine years. That's eighteen semesters, plus a couple of summer sessions, not to mention that whole "living in a 'post'-conflict zone" thing to collect data in the name of political science. It's been a long road, and while it isn't over yet, yesterday, I reached a significant milestone.
The dissertation is done.
"Done" isn't exactly "done, done," of course. I get the feeling that will never really happen. I still wake up at four in the morning thinking about little tweaks that need to be made. The committee still has to rip it apart and return it to me for revisions. My daddy, who just happens to be a retired editor, is proofreading the whole thing, including hundreds of footnotes, bless him. And then there are the tiny matters of defending it, turning it into a book, and finding a publisher.
But the hard part is over. This morning I slept in without feeling the tiniest bit guilty for the last nine years. (What they don't tell you about graduate school: all leisure time gives you a guilt complex. There's always something else you could be doing. Always.)
Many of you have asked these past couple of months what I'll be doing next year. I'm pleased to report that I'll be joining the faculty at Morehouse College in Atlanta. I'm excited to have found a tenure-track job in this economy, glad to be landing in a big city with a major international airport and a cultural life, and slightly intimidated to be the assistant professor of African politics at the only historically black men's college in America. Morehouse is the alma mater of everyone from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Spike Lee. It is a place that is very rich in tradition, expectations, and history. The men of Morehouse are outstanding students and I'm really looking forward to teaching courses in my field while helping prepare them to lead.
Assuming everything goes well with my defense in April, I'll head to Atlanta in late July. That's just in time for my parents, who are not only happy that thirteen years of higher education resulted in gainful employment, but are also excited to have a free place to stay in close proximity to Turner Field, the home of their favorite baseball team, the Braves.
Thanks, blog friends and real-life friends, for your friendship and encouragement these last few years. I'm really excited about what's next, and looking forward to catching up on sleep and everything else I neglected while finishing the diss (including a lot of emails I owe many of you). I couldn't have done it without you.