There were times when I never thought this day would come. I know people say stuff like that all the time, but really, there were a lot of bad times when I never thought this day would come.
So much has happened since I started dental school back in 2006. Engaged, married, pregnant, Caroline's birth, my year off, separation, divorce. But my trainwreck of a personal life aside, I passed all those classes, took all those exams, cared for all those patients, finished all those requirements, passed all those boards.
I finished my requirements a few weeks ago, and last week I tied up all the loose ends, transferring my patients to third-year students and completing all my paperwork. I cleaned out my desk and brought home all the piles of dental stuff in my lockers. (It sat there in boxes on my living room floor for a few days... burs and fake teeth and impression material and spatulas and wax and drills and dental instruments... before I finally found the space to stash it all away.) I did my exit counseling for my loans (and man, was that ever depressing), squared up with the prosthetic lab and the bursar and the record room. Signed out, officially. No more responsibilities to the school. Ever.
It made me feel sadder than I expected it to. Don't get me wrong, that entire program was immensely stressful, and I am glad to finally have gotten through it. But I guess I'm a nostalgic kind of person and I will miss all the people that I will never see again. Of course I'm starting there as a resident at the end of June, so I'll be right back in the same space, but most of the people won't be there. I was originally pretty upset about switching classes, but I really, really like my "new" class, and I will miss them.
Regardless, I'm still so excited for Sunday that I could jump up and down and scream. I've been wearing my cap, gown, and hood around my apartment for the past entire week. (Which is normal.)
My degree. Doctor Julia, DMD. It is so close, I can taste it. It is something that no one will ever be able to take away from me.