Hold on to your butts!
For all of my friends facing proposal defenses, dissertation defenses, or other stressful events (for example, the impending delivery of a baby), I thought this graphic of stress-to-expect might be useful.
For you non-academics, proposals, theses, and dissertation defenses are the stuff high school anxiety dreams are made of. You spend about a year developing a presentation of the next 5 years’ work (or what exactly you’ve been doing for the past 5 years). You present this information to your entire workplace, in front of whom, you really, really, would rather not appear stupid. Then 3-4 faculty members subject you to an old-timey police interrogation to determine what you don’t and don’t know (hint: you will never know everything).
In the words of the immortal Samuel L. Jackson, just remember:
hang on to your butts.