This week, I defended my dissertation at Ball State University. After seven years in a PhD program, I am finally Dr. Rachel. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to complete this project without some serious help from people I love. The joke of the academic dissertation has always been the Acknowledgments page. “Not even your committee reads it!” So the saying goes. A depressing prospect, especially since (as another joke goes), the odds of every member of your committee reading your entire dissertation are slim.

But this changes today. Below, I am publishing my Acknowledgments page, as it appears in my dissertation (names have been redacted). There are more people responsible for my degree than I even mention here, but I want to make sure that the people I love, who are primarily responsible for me finishing (and for maintaining my sanity throughout the finishing process), get at least some of the meager accolades they deserve. I love you all.

And to those whose names are missing from this list, including all of my readers here: Thank You. You have allowed me to continue this, my creative outlet, which has been essential for reminding me why I do what I do. Your readership and your responses. They have sustained me. They truly have.

Acknowledgments

I owe the completion of this dissertation to many people. Firstly, my incredible committee, who fought alongside (and with) me throughout this process to make this work a true showcase of my theoretical and academic ability. I am especially grateful to my directors, Dr. M and Dr. C. You gave me tough love when I needed it, and showed me support and encouragement even when I didn’t deserve it. Coffee, pastries, gossip, hard questions, mixed tapes, and Dylan lyrics. These are the things I will carry with me from our time together.  And I will cherish them.

My parents, R and C. I told you at the age of seven that I wanted to get my PhD, and you have since taken it as a given that I would one day succeed.  You are eternally on my side.  Mom, you showed me as a lived example what a feminist is, and what a working mother could accomplish.  You taught me to never be afraid.  Dad, you gave me poetry, and taught me how to gaze at the stars.  Both of you taught me that passion and beauty are only as valuable as the hard work I put into them.  Thank you for that.

My siblings, M and M. You taught me how to be myself, and to laugh at myself.  That laughter is why I succeed.

My in-laws, B and S.  I will never forget your generosity, and the example you have set for my family for hard work and self-reliance.  I’m proud to be “the doctor” in the family.  I’m proud to be your family.

B, my husband, you have listened with unending patience to my rants, my ideas, my heartbreaks, my accomplishments. You have taught me to never know quit.  You have given even my wildest ideas careful consideration.  You gave me a plan when I had none.  You have pushed me, held me, dragged me, supported me, watched me weep.  And, somehow, you still seem to like me a whole lot.  You once told me that you wanted to make me smile every day for the rest of my life. Eleven years in, and you haven’t missed a day yet.  Thank you for being my partner.  I choose you. Every day. For forever.

Finally, my girls.

If anyone asks, I did this for me.

But, really?  I did this for you, dear S and M.

All for you.

To the moon and back. To the Sun and back.  To the stars and back

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