I’m planning a party for myself to celebrate finishing my Ph.D. I decided to do it because my family and friends have been so important to me the past few years and I want to celebrate with them rather than, for example, having a really nice dinner with Paul and my parents.
A friend generously offered her house as a hosting location and I was off on a party-planning To Do list. Invitations, announcements had to be sent, inventory taken, shopping lists made, table and linen rental plans. Because of my years in residential life, I’ve planned a lot of parties (though usually with the university’s money). Everything is getting done. Except , as of a week ago, I stopped being as able to plan and get things done. Why?
As I sat in therapy yesterday, rattling off the things I had yet to do, I realized why. I feel self-conscious and selfish about planning a party for myself. Given that I don’t have a job after August, it feels self-indulgent to spend money on a party rather than saving it for the rainy days that might be around the corner. My friends didn’t have parties when they finished, and they finished long before me. Part of me feels I don’t deserve this.
But having said all that, I’m going back to some comments made by a more senior scholar about marking milestones. He didn’t walk in his graduation, didn’t mark his milestones until his wife planned a party for him to celebrate his tenure decision. He talked about how healing it was to celebrate.
I may never get an academic job or tenure but this is a milestone. For the first time in 15 years, I’m not going to be a student. I have all the degrees I’m ever going to have.
Besides, I’ve already sent out the invitations. People I love are coming.