I’m a tad obsessed with Broadway musicals. There are many cast recording albums that I have on repeat (Wicked, In The Heights + now Hamilton). It may be weeks or months since I’ve last listened, next thing I know I’m belting out at the top of my lungs one or two lines. Which then sets me down a path of listening to the album in it’s entirety a few times over. Anthony can only shake his head at me, laugh + then proceed to make fun of me. We have a good relationship like that. 🙂
In The Heights was my first musical on Broadway, we saw it in December of our first year in Jersey. It had won best musical that summer, so I asked my mom to get tickets for when they came to visit. It was spectacular. I was on the edge of my seat, listening to every word that was sung. Without a doubt, Lin Manuel-Miranda is a genius.
I remember scrolling on FB (cause let’s be real, after seeing In The Heights, I followed several actors + Lin) when Hamilton was Off-Broadway at Public Theater thinking I needed to see this show. At this same time, we were scrambling, trying to figure out what our future would entail. Fast forward to 2016, when Hamilton received all those Tony’s. It was impossible to get tickets!
I spent months entering the daily #ham4ham online contest, to win 2 tickets for Anthony + I to see Hamilton. I would get discouraged every time I received that rejection email. Then after spending a little time on the Hamilton website, I realized I could sign up for the email blast when they release tickets for 6 months out. So we didn’t pay a ridiculous amount of money for these tickets. If you want to see the musical in NY, I’d highly recommend signing up for that email.
All my ramblings to say that we saw Hamilton for our anniversary (or maybe it was for my birthday…or a Christmas gift…I did buy the tickets so long ago!). It was everything I thought it would be. I was a bit surprised that there is no dialogue beyond what’s on the cast recording. This was the first musical we’ve been to with that being the case.
WE DID IT!
I’m about to demystify the truth about getting a PhD + wanting to work in academia. We get this question *all* the time…”So has Anthony started applying to jobs?” We both know that it comes with good intentions but it’s also a lack of knowledge about the field he is going into.
Universities + colleges answer to a board of trustees, that typically meet quarterly. In the 2nd quarter meeting they discuss what faculty positions need to be filled for the NEXT academic year! Then the jobs are posted in late September-early November. You *typically* know by mid-March if you have a job for the fall.
We’ve been through the job search process for YEARS. Of course it’s “easier” to get a job once you’ve successfully defended your dissertation, but there are some places that will take a chance on hiring you without it being defended. Many times once you have a job lined up, the faculty will do everything in their power to get you to finish your dissertation + defend. Because if their graduates are able to get a job, it makes them look better.
What happens when you defend your dissertation + there’s nothing lined up? You have a pity party…or two…or three, you cry *a lot*, then you suck it up. The last thing I want for my husband is to be jobless, but sadly at this time, he doesn’t have a job.
My suggestion when you hear this is to not say “It will all work out” or “God has a plan for you”. That, unfortunately, isn’t helpful. Saying you’re sorry and praying for us is enough for both of us. We are acutely aware that a door will open, most likely the door will come when we least expect it. Neither of us have given up hope, I can promise you that.
The academia world moves at a different rate + pace than any other field out there. Hopefully this will help all of our friends + families understand a little bit more of the process. Prayers that a job will open for Anthony is much appreciated.
Many many thanks to our families for supporting us this entire journey. Having them come up for Commencement was incredibly special!
On Monday, March 27th, 2017, Anthony successfully defended his dissertation in front of his committee, several other faculty, + a few dear friends. I wish I would have gotten a photo of everyone that attended in the “galley” but alas it didn’t happen. See, a snow storm blew through New Jersey on the original date of the defense. I had a girls weekend in Atlanta scheduled + then I was going to stay there for a 3-day YMCA conference. Anthony told his advisor that there were several dates that wouldn’t work. But the 27th was the only one that worked for the faculty. I scrambled to get the conference switched to a different city + changed my flight before all this happened. This may be why I have more gray hairs on my head!!!! There was basically no way in hell that I would miss this big day. We have both worked extremely hard for this. It was 100% a joint effort, even if I didn’t write any of the words. The morning of the defense, I hopped onto a Southwest flight to only be told that we all had to de-plane, go to a different gate, + board from this other plane. Cause a windshield wiper wasn’t working. Okay, legit reason, as it was raining in Philadelphia. BUT DON’T THEY KNOW I HAVE A DEFENSE TO ATTEND!! Our flight was delayed by 30 minutes, which was cutting it extremely close. Luckily, Cammi + I both had carry ons (for this exact reason!). We grabbed the car + I sped on 295 to get to the seminary with moment’s to spare. I was on edge, Anthony was *really* on edge. It’s a miracle I even took some photos!
The defense was open to the public. We sat toward the side + got to witness Anthony have a true conversation with his professors on this topic that he’s spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours researching, writing, re-writing, researching, re-writing, + re-writing. One of our friends, Artie, kept going on + on about how knowledgable + smart Anthony is. He knew it but it was confirmed that day.
I’m extremely proud of this major accomplishment. Anthony persevered through battling Ulcerative Colitis, a whole lot of pushback + adversity, to get the paper finished. To successfully defend. On this day, Anthony officially became a doctor!
Do you see that dissertation? That is 400+ pages on special linen paper, ready to be bound + held in the seminary library!
In 2012, I was approached by Laura, an individual that worked part-time with the SKOR/SOAR programs at the Hamilton Area YMCA, to see if I would be interested in teaching Zumba to special populations. Um, yes please! I have met absolutely incredible people while teaching them to dance. I love when the question is asked of me about what is “wrong” with my students, because I can say happily that it doesn’t matter, they come each week, give me their whole hearts. I don’t see them any differently than any other student of mine. To me, it doesn’t matter what disability they have, they are worthy of loving!
The reason for this post in the first place is because on February 23rd of this year, I sadly stopped teaching my once weekly class to kids + adults alike. There were lots of factors into this very difficult decision, but I leave them as their instructor with a whole new perspective on life.
Celebrating Ashley’s birthday at Red Robin in January 2015.
Watching Hope compete in the New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games in 2015.
Dancing at the Rock Brook School in Princeton.
Look at me, all awkward stance. You’d never know that I position individuals on a routine basis to make them look good in photos!
Last dinner at Red Robin as their instructor on February 23, 2016.