November 4, 2010
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Over the past year, I’ve found that completing my doctorate resembled a process, rather than a moment or event. I submitted early this year, but that wasn’t completion, as the thesis still needed to be examined (in Australia, examiners are external). I’ve had the examiners’ reports back for some months now, and they required no corrections – but that still wasn’t completion, as there were various mechanical and bureaucratic tasks to complete before I could submit. I submitted the archival copies of the thesis some weeks back – but that wasn’t completion either, since a committee needed to endorse the submission… A couple of weeks ago, I finally received a letter (with a holographic seal, no less), telling me that I am now allowed to assume the title of “Doctor”. Arguably, this isn’t completion either – I still haven’t actually graduated – I believe that happens in December… But perhaps I am far enough along the process that I can now draw a line under it and declare the doctorate complete?
February 28, 2009
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So just a quick update that yesterday afternoon I fulfilled the requirement of holding a “successful” Thesis Completion Seminar – basically, a one-hour presentation and Q&A session which is a hurdle requirement in order to become eligible to submit the thesis for examination. So: hurdle jumped.
I wanted to thank all the folks who came to lend moral support during the presentation (you guys didn’t all have to hide in the back, though, you know 🙂 – they would have let you sit up front 🙂 – but seriously, it was really good to have you all there).
Because this is a new requirement, I hadn’t known what to expect. It didn’t help that a certain sometimes commenter around these parts led the way with an absolutely terrifying presentation of their excellent research. I had been planning to speak much less formally – and, in fact, I did speak much less formally. But I spent several hours worrying about how bad a decision that might have been, having rocked up to the event intending to ad lib a presentation, rather than giving a formal paper – because the opening formal paper was, in a word, perfect.
That said, perhaps best in that context not to do something too similar… 😉 So when it came my time, I basically stood up and ranted at everyone for half an hour. I felt like something out of a Zizek video… The questions were extremely generous, giving me an opportunity to expand on many points that by rights probably should have made their way into the original rant… The atmosphere was extremely supportive – a really nice way to bring the project publicly to a close.
Now for the actual completion – which, in true dialectical fashion, unfolds as a process that follows the presentation of its results… ;-P
February 8, 2009
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I have been editing the introductory chapter of the thesis (I’ll put this online with the others soon). This morning, editing was taking place with my son bouncing up and down all around me on the couch, chanting various things, clambering up my back, and generally doing the sorts of things kids do when adults are visibly concentrating on other things. At some point, he plonked down beside me to read the text over my shoulder – out loud. This resulted in an extended period of having the text read out to me just as I typed it in, which… had a bit of a surreal effect on the editing process. At some point, he paused, confused, and asked: “Where is the other person?”
“What other person?” I asked, confused myself.
“Who are you talking to? Is it Jessica?” he wanted to know.
I suddenly realised he thought I was chatting with someone else online, and tried to explain, “No no – I’m not chatting with anyone. I’m writing. There’s no one else there.”
He mulled over this for a while, looking increasingly puzzled, and then, in an uncertain, quavering voice, slowly asked, “So… are you? Are you talking to yourself?”
Hmm… Good question…
February 6, 2009
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The printer in my office has broken down while trying to print the current draft of my thesis. What error message is it flashing?
Page 21 is too complex.