“What do you want to have at your graduation party?” Mom asked me last weekend.

“Um …” I replied. To be honest, I haven’t really felt like celebrating the end of my graduate degree, at least not yet. I know, I know. My advisors bought everyone beer after the defense, my friends and colleagues toasted me with the free champagne that Valhalla gives to every successful PhD, and I drank deep from the margaritas we grabbed at Chuy’s. But once the initial rush was over, a dull calm has settled over me that I haven’t been able to shake. Yet.

To be sure, this feeling of calm is infinitely better than the stress I endured for the past 7 years. Once I finished my defense, every illness that my body had kept at bay during the last push attacked me at once, leaving me unable to smell or hear for about a month. Now that I’m (physically) better, I’m left with the post-PhD blues. But I’m not so much sad as relieved. Or am I restless? Perhaps I’m reflective. But I’m certainly not rejuvenated or refreshed.

All the same, I recognize that my journey to the PhD was not a solitary one, and doesn’t my family deserve a party, if not for my sake, then for theirs?

“Bar-B-Q,” I said. “And Shiner.” Where there’s good food and good company, good things are sure to follow.

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