I’m a doctor!: What I actually ended up wearing to my dissertation defense

I’m a doctor now! I don’t believe it and no, it doesn’t feel different.

My defense went well, or as well as any defense can go, I guess, because I passed and have no revisions. But really? I think defenses just always end up feeling yucky. Having people point out potential shortcomings of your work for 2 hours and then turn around and tell you “that was actually fine, you can have a Ph.D. now” for the last five minutes doesn’t really balance out the stress.

It took me about 48 hours to calm down! Reading a book for fun really helped. Seeing my friends helped. Having lots of people express positive emotions to me (mostly) helped. It was like a reminder to my brain, “oh, yes, a good thing has happened.” Anyway. Grad school is weird. Onto my outfit!

I wore this Brass dress, plus a blazer and my trusty pointed toe flats. I didn’t realize until I got to school, but every part of this combo was great, in a sort of symbolic way. I wore the blazer and flats on my job interviews so now they feel a bit lucky. My earrings were from my mom and my necklace was a gift from a friend. And the dress is from a small, woman-owned company. Honestly? The whole outfit just felt like a hug. And I know how cheesy that is!

I was ruminating a lot about navy blue items of clothing in my first round of defense outfit picks, and it was really because I really, really wanted this dress, but I thought, at around $100, I should find something more affordable. But you know what? When you really want one thing, sometimes I think you should just get that actual thing instead of settling for several compromises.

I ended up saving some money using a discount code, so I thought I would pass it on: you can get $25 off your first Brass order using code REBECCA25.

Why Brass? Aside from being woman-owned and making ethically produced work wear, everything is machine washable, and all of it is somehow exactly how I want to look as an adult at work. I also own this sweater now and it’s the nicest sweater I have.

After my defense I swapped out my shoes and jacket and was ready to hit the bar with my fiercest gal pals, who also came to watch my defense. I had a great time celebrating with people who have stuck with me for the past 4 years and I felt so lucky. Oh, also they’re the best because they slammed this champagne bottle down on the table immediately after the defense:

So, that’s that. I’ll be grading the week away and walking during commencement on Friday. And no, I still don’t have an outfit for that 🙂 Thanks for being here through my grad school years. Onto the next steps!

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