Me with my grandmother

Sewing friends, I have some exciting news to share with you today.  After 5 long years, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I am now the extremely proud owner of a Harvard PhD.  All went well with my thesis defense earlier this week, which means you may now refer to me as Dr. Carolyn.  🙂

Not surprisingly, earning my degree has proven to be a very emotional experience, and I suspect it would be impossible for me to adequately describe how I feel in words.  Those of you who have gone through this process can relate to the wonderful feelings of accomplishment and relief combined with the strange anti-climactic sense of “that’s it?”  Mostly though, I feel proud and excited for the next step in my career, and I feel a sense of validation that all the years of frustration and sacrifice were worth it in the end.

I received a lot of good feedback during the defense from professors and colleagues, but the following comment from one of my committee members really struck a chord with me.  With a puzzled look on his face, he said:

“Carolyn, this was such a complicated project.  Why did you choose such a complicated project for your PhD??”

Haha, if only I knew what I was getting myself into!  He also referred to my project as an “odyssey.”  I think I would agree.

Anyway, my defense day was wonderful, made even better by the fact that John and my family could be there with me to celebrate, not to mention the absolutely gorgeous (not too hot!) weather.  My new job doesn’t start until October, so after finishing up some paperwork at the university, I’ll have a glorious 6 weeks off.  Can anyone say sewcation???  🙂

Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and support over the years, and especially during the past few months.  As I’ve said before, the sewing community is such a wonderful group of kind and generous people, and each and every one of you has helped me along this journey in one way or another.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and here’s to exciting new adventures ahead!

75 thoughts on “Commencement

  1. What a hilarious comment! But that makes it that much better. You took on a humongous challenge, you wrangled with it, you bested it, and now you’ve got credentials that really mean something. HUZZAH to sewcation!!!! Heck, HUZZZAH to some time off–you need it!


    • Thanks so much Ebi! That comment was indeed hilarious, and it kind of made me feel better after all the years of frustration with my project. I only wish someone had told me a few years earlier. 🙂 Here’s to some time off!


  2. Hearty congratulations on a Big Job Well Done!!! Enjoy your sewcation, we shall all be anxiously awaiting posts of your new makes during your time of relaxation. Unless you decide to absolutely relax and post pictures of you on the patio. That will be fine too!


  3. Congratulations! I knew you’d do wonderfully and I also know exactly how you’re feeling. Such a fabulous, rewarding but also terrifying experience. Enjoy you’re free time – wish I could say I had the same 🙂


    • Thanks Carrie, and huge congratulations to you too! 🙂 Best of luck in your new position! Even though you won’t get a break, at least you can make people call you doctor now. 🙂


    • Thanks Morgan! I feel like I just completed my impressive project for the time being – my thesis!! We’ll see if I have the mental capacity to take on a big sewing project once the dust settles. 🙂


    • Thanks so much Vaire! And thank you for your support, encouragement, and advice along the way. Now that it’s over, I completely agree that perseverance is the key to a PhD. Despite all the (many, many) bumps along the road, you just have to keep going. I feel like it’s a test of whether you have the mental fortitude to overcome obstacles rather than think critically about your subject!


  4. Well, congratulations Dr. Carolyn, you deffenetely need this free time to realize that you’re actually done with this odyssey and get ready to start the new wishes from Greece!!!


  5. Many many congratulations!! Enjoy your break, much deserved.
    Also thanks for the tutorial the other day – the sleeve head part was really clear.
    Best wishes,


    • Thanks Rose! I’m glad you found the tutorial helpful. I’m not an expert, but I think it’s fun to share what we learn along the way. These little tidbits add up to lots of sewing expertise over the years… at least I hope they do!


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