I\’m Too Sexy for My Master\’s Thesis

thesis defense

Posted in history,scholarship,thesis by Rae on 28 July 2006

So, my thesis defense yesterday went swimmingly. I was so used to my count-down (two weeks till defense, one day till defense, etc.), that now I’m doing a count-up (one day since defense, so far).

Was I nervous? Not until the morning of, when I couldn’t do anything but think about what would take place at 3pm. Plus, all the phone calls I received from friends and family (to ask if I was nervous and to wish me good luck) left me feeling a bit anxious. But, not so anxious that I wasn’t able to take a nap little more than an hour beforehand. That was nice.

I arrived a little bit early and was happy to discover that the room reserved for my defense was the first room I had had a class in, in grad school (yes, had had, in in). Quite appropriate for what I consider a life cycle event. Within a few minutes, the three committee members were filing in and smiling. I was immediately at ease and chatted about my upcoming move to Europe with a professor I took a seminar with this past spring semester. After a moment, everyone was seated and we began.

It’s hard to believe that all that hard and steady work culminated in a few minutes of discussion. It was a bit anti-climactic, in a way. There were no major criticisms, just suggestions on ways I could strength things here and there, plus ideas for future avenues of research. All three committee members were fascinated by my topic and stated every few minutes how well-written and well-researched the paper was. They said that they weren’t able to put it down once they started reading — not bad since it’s 85 pages.

At the end of our discussion (which lasted under 30 minutes, I believe, though I was told to plan for an hour), I left the room for their brief deliberations. Upon my re-entrance, I was greeted with congratulations and handshakes. Even after the handshakes my committee was recommending additional research ideas and places to pursue research.

I still have some paperwork to complete and fees to pay, plus I intend to make a few changes before submitting the final copy of my thesis, but I had that sense of completion as I walked back to my car. I couldn’t stop smiling for an hour, and I can’t remember the last time I felt that way.

So, what’s the first thing I did after my defense? I returned all those library books! And then I went home and had a beer.


4 Responses to 'thesis defense'

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  1. Brett said,


  2. Linda said,

    yay, congratulations! Never a moment’s doubt in my mind. I, on the other hand, am writing and cutting like a crazy woman. At this point it is meaningless but must still make sense somehow.

  3. Rachel said,


    Linda, I understand the “crazy woman” thing. As someone who has a compulsion to write, write, write, I am perpetually working against a deadline of some sort. Even though the thesis is done, I still have a bunch of projects I’m working on (not to mention I have to make a few minor changes to the thesis). Good luck with your end-of-semester flurry!

  4. lenina said,

    well done – I’ve got my PhD defense coming up in a couple of months’ time… I’m looking forward to feeling elated 😀

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