Monday, August 08, 2005


So I just scheduled my dissertation defense: Tuesday, September 13 at 3PM.

I can already feel the acid rising in my throat.

I'm not too worried about it now, actually, but I'm sure that will change in the days leading up to my trip back to Boston. What's astonishing is that the defense just lasts two hours. Two hours to talk about something I spent three years on!

I have a feeling that I will be criticized not for what I put in, but for what I left out. I have to find a diplomatic/scholarly way of saying "Well, my topic was too big and I just couldn't track down every little thread that came up." I guess I can always say that it's something I'd like to put in the book version of my research or something.

Okay, got to spend the last drops of my funding on a plane ticket and something nice to wear. And maybe some Valium.


Blogger Porkorama said...

Yeah! I wouldn't worry about the defense. They might ask you some annoying or difficult questions, but from my experience of this (for my exams and chapter defense and from what others tell me of their diss defense), they feel like that's what they're required to do. Otherwise, why have a defense at all? So if you keep in mind that it's mostly an act, and that (unless they are completely incompetent) they wouldn't let you schedule a defense if they didn't think you'd pass it, it should be less stressful.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is sort of off-topic, but does anyone have comments about recognition for committee members after the defense? Are gifts appropriate? Some sort of token of appreciation? I don't want to make a deadly mistake.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous hell_is_sweeter said...

The main purpose of the defense is to demonstrate your mastery of the subject; caution: automatic approval is a misconception. Saying "I'm not sure" during the defense is (can be...) an admissible answer. People are more or less gifted to explain, to talk or to convince; the committee know that. Now, if you have done (or not!) your homework, they'll also know. So, play the Devil's advocate in front of the mirror: that's the game to get prepared for. And forget the flowers and wine, unless that's usual in your lab/dept. You see, this is not exactly a social meeting...

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy? You've been not updating your blog for such a long time now. What's been up? It wouldn't hurt if you post new dissertation here because the readers miss you a lot!!

4:31 AM  
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