Five years ago, when I started my Ph.D program, a dissertation sounded impossible. It seemed so big, so vague, and so out of reach. Two years after that, I got started and realized just how incredibly hard and overwhelming it was. It was hard to even know where to begin; it seemed impossible. A year after that I faced a huge obstacle, and suddenly, it seemed like my academic world was crumbling around me. I was emotionally drained and defeated; I was sure I couldn't go on. It felt impossible. Since then, I've had multiple moments where I sat at my computer, sometimes swearing, sometimes crying, burying my face in my hands, thinking, "I can't do this anymore; its impossible, I give up!" But a week from Thursday, I'm defending my disseration. Defending the project I swore was impossible, the project I was sure I'd never ever finish. It's here, its almost done, and suddenly, I'm realizing its not so impossible after all. Somehow, in those moments of impossible, I found a way to press through. Sometimes because I forced myself to, but usually because I had a loving group of people standing beside me, saying "You can do it. We believe in you." Between Matt, my parents, my brother, and my dear friends, I found just enough energy to keep going. And suddenly the impossible is possible.
Thinking about this journey and how close I am, makes me reflect on the things in my life I'm currently finding "impossible," the things I'm currently swearing I won't survive. As daunting as they feel, as overwhelming as they seem, I've realized today that I've got history on my side. Things have seemed impossible before, yet I've managed to survive and overcome. With a little bit of hope and courage, and a lot of support from those closest to us, even the overwhelming is doable. So today, I'm challenging us to take a closer look at our lives and realize that we can do it; we can make it. The impossible is possible after all.