What Grad School Meant to Me

This essay is really about what writing a dissertation meant to me. For me, the dissertation process was a microcosm for my entire graduate experience, in which I spent the majority of my 20s (5.5 years). I have been writing this since a month after my dissertation defense (several days before receiving final approval from the University of Oregon’s Graduate School). I am finishing it now in the hope that other doctoral students may use it as the starting point for discussion, and that it may contribute even minimally to normalizing discussion around the psychological and spiritual consequences of one (albeit of many) flavor of PhD experience.