It has been a long process. Nearly fifteen months ago I, along with five peers, began our doctoral studies. School has become our main focus and has ensured that I have seventy-eighty hour work weeks on a regular basis. But today, November 30th, 2015, is the day that I officially submitted my final course paper. I am officially done the course work portion of my doctoral studies. With this big step behind me it is now time to begin focusing solely on my research, exactly the goal of a doctoral student. I cannot be more thrilled.
My celebration was fairly tame but exactly what I wanted, at least tonight. After submitting my paper, just after 22:00, I decided it was the perfect night to turn a corner of my apartment into a Christmas scenery.
Throughout my paper on intersectionality, while reading, as well as each engaging dialogue with my supervisor and other mentors, I have been discussing my years of attempting to live in between various worlds. As many other first generation Canadians (along with immigrants and refugees) I am often attempting to balance the culture and customs that my parents raised me within and the culture and customs of the dominant Canadian community. For many years I wanted a Christmas tree in our family home. I never desired the gifts many children woke up to on December 25th but I wanted the decorations. The look of a Christmas tree has always pleased me.
It was a few years ago, when I completed my Masters degree, that my brother and I purchased the this particular Christmas tree. We labeled it the Gulamhusein tree. As we pulled the pre-lite tree out of the box, opened up the Christmas decoration balls we purchased, watched Community, and put together our first Christmas scenery, my brother and I bonded over an activity we had never experienced before. Over the years I have collected a few other items to add to the decoration. Having the tree is really for the purpose of decoration but as I reflect on my research topic, I am starting to wonder if putting up the Christmas tree has more meaning. Is it my attempt to balance my Muslim upbringing with my Canadian identity?
I suppose I could pose various questions for you to read here but then I would take away from the excitement of my dissertation to come. You will just have to wait a couple years!
The point is simple. Tonight I celebrated the end of my doctoral course work. It is a big accomplishment and I, in its rarity, will admit that I am super proud of myself. I never imagined being in this position and to be here makes me feel like I have accomplished something beyond my own expectations. For this, I am thrilled. This Christmas I give myself the gift of moving on to my candidacy exams.