Two years ago today, I walked into a room at Northern Illinois University, butterflies in my stomach. Jim, Izzie, and Sophia walked with me as we entered the room. Small and cozy, a long table filling most of the room, with chairs all around. A computer on a small desk and a screen where my presentation would soon be for everyone to see.
I nervously said hello to my advisor and put down the treats I had brought for my committee. I helped to get the girls settled, taking my mind off of what was to come, even if just for a moment. Then, the preparation for sharing my presentation. The work of the past 10 years all came down to this one moment…dissertation defense.
The presentation went by in a blur. I remember standing up in front of my family and committee, holding the clicker to move from one slide to the next. I remember falling into a rhythm of talking as I knew my presentation. I had practiced and practiced; I was ready. I remember finishing the presentation and being called Dr. Michelle Olson. I remember seeing the smiles on my girls faces, smiles that I had seen over and over as I worked. The same girls who knew how to say “dissertation” and knew it was a book I had been writing.
I am so proud of this accomplishment and grateful for the opportunities that have come as a result. Dr. Michelle Olson will make her mark in the world!