I turned my dissertation draft in to my adviser shortly before Christmas. I am now waiting for suggestions, which will then allow me to finish the dissertation in January. If all goes according to plan, I will be done with my doctorate by April. The journey through graduate school will finally be over.
There were false starts in the past. Failed attempts at M.Ed programs, when I hoped to return to teaching high school. One failed attempt at a journalism degree, which simply proved to be bad timing for me physically. Now, though, I have completed my M.A. in English and my Ph.D work in Rhetoric. It was a long, long journey.
I count at least four attempts at a master's before I finally finished a program. Finishing was important because it finally meant I could teach full-time, at the community college level. My wife and my academic adviser were both equally responsible for my success. I needed her to keep me working through the rough times when I wanted to quit. I needed an adviser with faith in my abilities to do the work.
The four years I have spent at my current institution have not been pleasant. The institution was not the best place for me, but I learned how much I need someone like my wife. She kept me functioning, yet again, when I wasn't sure I could fight through the maze.
I consider myself a good scholar, a decent teacher, and intellectually qualified to be a professor. What I am not is emotionally suited to some of the ignorance and stupidity of the world. Such is life. At least I survived.
Gladly, I can focus on writing this year.