I’ve been quiet around here lately, not because I had nothing to say, but because I was surprisingly busy in the weeks between turning in my dissertation and preparing for my DEFENSE! tomorrow morning.

In our department, DEFENSE! is a fairly un-mysterious process. This is because our DEFENSE!s are open to the public, so I’ve been able to attend several over the past few years. Having those opportunities really does make the process much less scary – and really, I think of it as something exciting and perhaps even fun. The last time I did a DEFENSE! I was finishing my bachelor’s degree and defending my undergraduate honors thesis in history. THAT was scary, and I suppose I completed it by the skin of my teeth (although I must’ve done something right, or else I wouldn’t be here about to defend a dissertation).

So I can’t wait for tomorrow. And I’m obsessed with this fun joke about Snakes at a Thesis Defense…and kinda wish it were true. I mean, wouldn’t snake-fighting make the whole thing a lot more exciting?

Then again, this is my DEFENSE! we’re talking about, and I suppose the truth is that excitement will never be lacking as long as it’s my DEFENSE!

But hey, feel free to send some snakes my way if you like – and I’ll report back soon with the results of my DEFENSE!


3 thoughts on “Defense!

  1. Good luck. INteresting that your defense is open. Here in the UK it just your, a panel chair, and your internal and exterrnal examiners. Any reason for the difference?

    • It seems to vary by institution and department. One of my committee members mentioned that where she got her PhD (Stanford, I believe), the committee members simply read it on their own and signed their approval to the form (and the form was usually mailed to each in turn for them to sign, as none were apparently in residence at the time of completion). Another committee member said, I believe, that her department at Harvard had no formal defense meeting, just individual meetings with each committee member. Other departments at my school have it just with you, panel chair, and examiners. Still OTHER departments have a two-part defense system: public presentation open to everyone, then private examination with just you, chair, and examiners. I didn’t realize until this year that my department was so different from the others!

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