Once I was held up at gunpoint in New Orleans. Somehow, I simply gave the guy my wallet and managed to walk away. In Egypt, I was kidnapped and only released once I gave my money over. While these were trying moments for me, they do not compare to what I am willing facing in the near future.
On the thirtieth of June, 2009 at 3 pm, I will defend my dissetation against a committee of people who all are far smarter than I am. For the very first time in my life, I am scared. Failure alone does not scare me. For the longest time, I never worried about anything. Failure was not a problem.
For the first time in my life, I really did everything I could. I've given everything I could to this work. My thesis represents the very best of who I am. In a week and four days, I show the best that I could ever do. On Tuesday, the thirtieth of June, at 3 pm of 2009, I present and defend my thesis. Six years of my life has gone into this moment. I have made my life about it. I have sacrificed good jobs, a life most would kill for and often my own pride for this moment.
In 2003, with a degree in physics and computer science, I would have had the world in front of me. It would have been easy. Today, I face the worst economy in any of our lifetimes and my only fear is going in front of this commitee. This group is made of my friends. I have played dungeons and dragons with one member. I have spent hours with the others. My own advisor, I have given him beers he didn't know were possible. These all hold no water. I trust these people to give me no ground for these things. I would not ask a single one of them, all five dear friends to me, to give me any slack in what I am about to face.
These are the smartest people I have ever met. I want desperately to stand amongst them. I want desperately for them to give me the recognition of those who understand the difficult path I have faced. This is one of the only two things I ever wanted.
I wanted my wife to marry me. I wanted to know we would forever be together. In this I had certainty. The other thing I want, is to be allowed into the ranks of the academic - not just aiming for it, but accepted into it. I know, for me, this is pure irony. I am the iconoclast. I strive against the normal. Yet it is still what I desire. I desire to be so recognized. It is for me the proof of my professional quality. I want the title. I want to be allowed to be called doctor.
This goal is the second most important thing in my life. The first is my wife. I know absolutely that I am the luckiest man on the face of the Earth to have my wife, who will stand beside me no matter what happens. Still, I can only think of fulfilling this goal I have set for myself.
I only hope I can live up to the expectation I have set for myself.