Monday, May 11, 2009

Not that kind of doctor

I had the WORST hair today. It was seriously ridiculous-- flat generally, but my bangs stuck straight up no matter what I did or how many time I squeezed them between the plates of my Chi, so I had to scrape them back with bobby pins and all these little fly-aways escaped and poked out at ridiculous angles. Bad news bears.

My department likes to really ramp up the tension at defenses. I walked into the conference room to find five of my committee members waiting for me. We made awkward small talk and sat around an oblong table. Then my advisor entered the conference room from her super-secret department chair's special door and made us all switch our seats-- Robs on one side, Judies on the other and people whose names began with the letter S on the ends. Weird, but pleasingly symmetrical.

Immediately after convening the meeting, my advisor sent me out of the room, so all the professors could talk about the best possible way to freak me the hell out with their questions. I sat outside the department office for half an hour and got lots of pity pep talks from passing faculty and grad students. When I finally got to re-enter the hell room, I had to give a 5-7 minute talk about the past, present, and future of my project. I figured I could totally wing it (since this project has been dominating my every waking-- and many of my sleeping-- moment(s) for 6 years), but I drank about 4 too many iced coffees and totally lost my shit and rambled excitedly until I said something stupid that sent the whole room frantically thumbing through their marked copies of my work.

After explaining that the questions would just flow organically from the conversation, my advisor asked the first question, which was supposed to be a real softball-- what's the thesis of your project? I totally biffed it. The thesis? I had no effing clue. From the sound of my answer, I was completely unfamiliar with the concept. I even said something out of left field like, "Or that's what I would say on my blog anyway," and not only did nobody laugh, they were all looking at me with such sympathy that I blushed. What's totally ridiculous is that one of the Judies had JUST said to my advisor while I was nervously hunkered in the hallway that I totally nailed the thesis.

I valiantly wrested my head from my ass and managed to speak in complete sentences that made some kind of sense the rest of the time. There was even LAUGHTER and GAIETY, which I was so not expecting. I have to format it correctly and write some acknowledgements, and fix a few sections in the fifth chapter and the conclusion and go through the rigmarole associated with actually turning it into the grad school, but otherwise, I am done with my dissertation.

I think I might have post traumatic stress syndrome or something because I feel very nonplused.

I cannot even imagine a life without dissertation guilt. I think it might look something like this:


  1. tripod8:11 PM

    Congratulations! THIS IS SO FUNNY! Can't wait to see you at graduation!

  2. WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!! Congratulations! That sounds terrifying! Really. What the hell is with all the theatrics? Honestly. Anyway. I know you are glad it's over. Enjoy the life free from dissertation guilt. It's quite nice!

  3. Guess this means I lost the bet, you did graduate before Harry...damn! Congrats, I am so proud of you.


  4. Way to go Sarah! I think a bottle of wine is in order!
    Relish this time!

  5. Congratulations! This story was made all the more striking by the fact that, a short 8 months ago, I sat in the same room to defend my prelims. I totally know the waiting in the hallways feeling; totally know the drabness of the room; totally know the panicky "holy cats I have no clue what I'm talking about, so I'll just keep talking until my brain kicks in."

    SO happy for you!!! You give hope to the rest of us who are just starting the diss stuff...

  6. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Grampa and I are so proud of the new Doctor in the family...Bomma

  7. Anonymous10:36 PM

    congrats sarah!!! so awesome. enjoy commencement (i know you'll knock 'em dead w/ your speech), and i'll see you at the party saturday!

  8. Congrats!! Your hair, btw, looks great. ;-)

  9. Congratulations! Woooo hooo!!!!!

  10. Huge! Yea! Congrats, what an awesome achievement. And laughing during your defense, unheard of. A sure sign that if you want to be a PhD with an act in Vegas, you're well on your way :) Way to go Dr. Jedd!

  11. Congratulations! My master's defense was stressful enough. And, my adviser/committee members were not into the "delay" tactics like yours seem to have been!

  12. Anonymous9:44 PM



  13. Great work doctor!

  14. Cathleen9:10 AM

    Congratulations and happy birthday!

  15. Congrats! Must feel like a load off your shoulders. Now you have to spend alllllll your time devoted to the children. Each and every second of the day. Forever. Doesn't that make you want to go back and do more research? haha.