It’s been a little over week now, when I had the chance to live the day I have been expecting the past couple of months with mixed feelings of anxiety and joy, and which I set as a goal ten years ago as an undergraduate. I was counting the days the entire summer, trying to keep myself occupied by renovating and moving to a new apartment, by long walks with the pups and by ranting to my partner in life (sorry!). And then the day arrived. I managed to get some sleep despite the +30 degrees in our hotel room (with no sound proof whatsoever, luckily I’ve taught myself to sleep with earmuffs), and rushed to the hairdresser early in the morning, craving for a large mug of coffee.
I had not met my opponent Stine Gotved beforehand and an hour before the defence we shook hands and I felt immediately at ease: there’s nothing to be worried about, this woman has a great sense of humor.
Then the defence began with my lectio precursoria, which was in Finnish for the audience (Stine had a printed version in English). I haven’t presented anything about my work in Finnish for such a long time and I felt like the words were not mine, but someone else’s. My friends told me afterwards that the second I had the chance to speak in English they could see “the real Anna” come out.
The defence itself, or the debate, discussion or what you call it, was splendid and I enjoyed every second of it (which I heard was obvious for the audience). The questions and comments from Stine were deeply analytical and it was clear she had read my work thoroughly. Mostly we discussed about the matters that were on the external assessment letter, which I thought was good, since I had the chance to review them thoroughly. There were also some errors, which had slip my eye, and gave me a good laugh, since one of them undid the entire main statement of my thesis: online mourning is empowering for the bereaved. Oops!
Then it was over and my heart almost burst from joy. I did it! I DID IT! I was overwhelmed about the entire situation and couldn’t stop smiling. I watched the audience which was mostly my friends, family and colleagues, and could see the same smile on their faces as well: such joy, such happiness, wow.
Now there is officially a doctor in the house!
The clip from Supernatural TV series below has been a true inspiration before the defence. (I also used a Supernatural reference during the debate when I referred the water on the table before me as not ‘holy’ or that I’m in fact not a demon, silly me..)
You can find tweets about the event from Twitter with a hashtag #memoriavirtualis and the entire thesis can be found free from our university library: https://www.doria.fi/handle/10024/5798/browse?value=Haverinen%2C+Anna&type=author