I can’t be everywhere at once, but I’ve got people working on it

My friend Matt had his dissertation defense today and I wasn’t able to be there. In my head, I also had it pegged as happening next week, which didn’t help. I’m upset because it drags up memories from when I was in a gang, growing up on the mean streets of Dalton, MA. The first rule of the gang: you don’t miss your friend’s dissertation defense. It’s a good thing I made all that up or I might have a contract out on me right now.

Mostly I’m disappointed because, even though Matt wasn’t very specific about it, I’m pretty sure that he was going to be defending his dissertation against ninjas. Or Libyan terrorists. Either way, I’m sure it was a show I’ll sorely regret missing.

And I understood there were refreshments afterwards. I missed those too.

So Matt, does this mean that we have a punchline now if someone asks, “Is there a doctor in the house?”

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2 responses to “I can’t be everywhere at once, but I’ve got people working on it

  1. Actually, it was worse. Libyan ninja terrorists. My committee was tough – but I managed to keep them from absconding with my dissertation. “Wait!” you say? “There is no such thing as a Libyan ninja!” Well, at least, not that you’ve ever heard of … and that’s just the way they like it to keep it – thankyouverymuch. The defense went well with minimal bloodletting. I deflected even the most pointed questions with the practiced skill of a seasoned ninja Libyan. Yes, you did miss the refreshments, but since most of the guests had not spend enough time building up an adequate immunity to iocane powder and didn’t know which of the goblets were poisoned (they all were), nobody drank anything but me.

    I’ve already told you too much as it is.

    Doc Matt

  2. The defense went really well. The gallery was mostly made up of the older drivers that participated in the study. The rest were current and former lab mates, a few other professors from the department, and Beth. All in all, about 35 people attended the defense – large by our department’s standards. Most defenses are usually just the committee and the student!

    After the defense presentation, my comittee asked everybody to leave the lecture hall – which was fine because the building has a large lobby and I had refreshments (all sans iocane, I swear). After a few minutes, the committee asked me back in and the *real* questions began – the committee had graciously allowed the gallery to toss me softballs during the Q&A period immediately after the presentation, but naturally they weren’t going to let me off THAT easily.

    After 10 minutes of ivory-toweresque grilling, they asked me to rejoin the folks in the lobby, talked a few minutes amongst themselves and then came out and congratulated me for passing my defense. Yeay!

    It’s not 100% official yet though. Two of my committee members signed my dissertation signature page (the magic document that says you passed), but my advisor withheld his signature until I had made the modifications the committee brought up during the ivory-tower Q&A session without the gallery in the room. That’s typical. Once I make those few modifications and my advisor approves, then I’ll deposit the draft and my journey toward the Dark Side will be complete!!!

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