So You’re Defending Your Dissertation Tomorrow!

May 1, 2012


Congratulations: It’s a BOOK! Your 273-page volume–the weighty, serious, mighty tome–is sitting in the center of my cluttered desk. Since it’s bigger than everything else around it (how small and slight those 20-page student papers look in comparison!), I can’t miss it. It’ll be there tomorrow when we all meet to perform the one-to-two-hour ritual during which you “defend” your work to your advisers, your committee members, and your colleagues. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons, photocopied and given away to friends and students so often over the years I no longer have a version, was of a woman reaching across a seminar table and socking a guy in the eye in front of six well-dressed adults, with one of them commenting to the group “Excellent defense. Let’s give her the doctorate!” It won’t be like that tomorrow, I promise. You’ve already won this race; now there’s nothing to do but enjoy the scenery as you cross the finish line. Continue reading the article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. photo by Flickr/CC user suran2007

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