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Another frequent term I’ve been getting lately is “say a thesis prayer before PhD defense.”
I’ve mentioned before that I was born and raised in the catholic faith, though I’m going through a rough patch right now where I don’t like organized religion too much.
Seeing that Lent started this past week and the amount of times I’ve gotten this search term used to get to my blog I feel like maybe a higher calling is being made and I must answer.
Feel free to check this post on how my PhD defense DAY was … yeah, it felt like a day although it was all said and done in 6-7 hours (the defense was 1.5 hrs, the lecture was 1hr long, then the celebration took place so it was a day long process).
So, as a catholic I believe in saints, and Mary, and in asking the Saints and Mary for intervention in cases where my faith or strength doesn’t seem enough. For my thesis I remember making 2 prayers, a personal one (just a conversation with God, giving him thanks for letting me reach that point where the defense was imminent and for all the good and not so good that had transpired through the years). I also did a prayer which was given to me the day before I almost lost my life. I was given a prayer that I’ve carried with me ever since, and it talks about not dying in battle, not being defeated by enemies, etc. It’s a prayer to St Joseph. And because for me the the thesis felt like a battle, like I could fail, I made that prayer.
I don’t think there’s a formulaic prayer which will automatically make you pass the thesis. What I do believe in is asking for protection, guidance and direction, and after all is said and done, no matter the outcome, just give thanks for having reached a new stage in your personal and professional life.
Whatever you path to God, or whoever you call your Supreme Being, try to be thankful for reaching the post-thesis stage. And stay focused and breathe, enjoy every second, as it will be over sooner thank you think.
That’s a great search term. Thanks to whoever plugged it on the search engine from WordPress and got to my blog. Thinking about it, there are many things I regret about doing my PhD. I guess the most sensible way of listing them is by dividing the answer in 2 groups, personal reasons and professional or school related reasons:
- I regret not breaking up with a BF I had when I started grad school. We were tons of miles away, the magic and love fizzled. I’m not saying all people in a long distance relationship AND in grad school need to break up with their significant other. But in my case it should have been the most sensible thing to do and I could have invested more time studying, instead of shedding tears for a lost love.
- Not going on vacay more often. Nuff said. Breaks just help pump up my aspirations toward reaching a goal sooner. I did went to Europe and Canada, and I visited home many, many times, but I had friends who went to all sorts of awesome places, for vacation (and sometimes work). I wish I could have done more.
As promised before, I’m going to conclude the series on what to expect when you’re applying for grad school, once you get in and how things look toward the end by posting this entry. It’s about how my thesis defense *day* went, starting the tale from a day or two before. I’ll conclude with thoughts and a little on what transpired after, though I mentioned some of it before.
***Disclaimer: I won’t reveal too many intimate details, as I prefer my identity to remain hidden.
On we go:
I don’t remember if I’ve said this before, but attempting to schedule my defense was c-r-a-z-y …. some of my committee members were out of town, some were too busy to even bother to schedule. I had to put my foot down, write an email without my boss’s “permission” telling them I was more than ready to defend, and it was now or never. I also mentioned that I had to extend my job offer and keep being paid by my boss’s grant if they wanted to prolong the agony. It worked, and less than 48 hrs after sending that email (or ultimatum) I had 2 possible defense dates. But this didn’t mean that life was fine and dandy … having a defense date made the whole process real … it was happening sooner rather than later and I was a nervous wreck in the works … I had to practice the lecture, pack all my things, and staying on top of things almost proved too much to handle (I also had to pick up family at the airport, make sure they were all comfortable, even if all I wanted to do was cry). My only glimmer of hope was that after all this ordeal I’d be a PhD.
Following into the footsteps of one of my fave bloggers, I present now a list of cool things …, or just things, that happened during the fabulous 2009 which marked the end of my graduate career … heck! the end of my time in school as a student (oficially; unoficially I’ll never stop being a student and learning). To summarize, here are some of the awesome bits that have made 2009 a great year:
- January – came back from a vacay at my parent’s house, in my lovely hometown with my vision settled on finishing the damned thesis. BF and I didn’t get to spend too much time together as he was studying for his version of hell qualifying exams.
- February – I think I had a seminar of some sort at the beginning of this month … though my mind is usually nebulous as I had one thing in mind .. well, make it two things which would happen in March.
- March – I submitted my application for 2 postdoc interviews, one at a fairly new lab in the field in which I did my PhD, the second one in a lab that has been established for some time but in a completly different topic and technique from the one in which I did my PhD. I nailed one of the interviews and I got the job offer even before I interviewed (at the second lab with the totally unkown technique). Secondly … the reviews from my first author paper came back a month after submitting it, I would only need to wait 2 more months to have it approved and select the date for my thesis defense.
- April – Finished up chapter 5 of the thesis, only one more chapter (and the approval of the paper) to poll my thesis committee about defense dates.
- May – Got the flu (not the H1N1, thanks), on the same day I think I’m dying because of the coughing, sneezing and pressure on my head my boss calls me to tell me I can schedule the defense whenever the hell I want … the friggin’ paper has been accepted within 3 months of submission and I am finally getting out! Last but not least, the BF passes his qual .. meaning that he’s well on his way to earn his PhD.
- June – Finished writing the thesis, but need many corrections as the last chapter (chapter 4, second thesis aim) is still out of shape … also, polling the committee regarding defense dates yields some uncomfortable results, meaning that I’ll upset a few of them if I want to be out by August. Also … chose the date for the defense by pulling major strings and begging more than a dog.
- July – turned 28 (my goal for defending was to do it prior to turning 28); defended, but mommy and BF seemed not to get along very well days before the defense which greatly upsets me. Packed up my things and left for my Canadian adventure.
- August – Start in the new lab, realize I have to relearn biochemistry and catch up with years of not doing it. Oh … also we moved twice in a 2 week span … thanks!
- September – got my first paycheck as a postoc …. a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Oh, the boyfriend goes on a school trip and while I plan to clean the apartment, cook him a delicious dinner and be super productive my sister calls me to tell me she’s pregnant … on the same week of my parent’s wedding anniversary. I should mention that said parents are VERY conservative … this move will ensure many, many tears and LOTS of drama just as I’m adjusting to my new job … oh, the joys of having a family many miles away.
- October – purifying lots of protein, on my own, using uber-expensive equipment.
- November – because the boyfriend is a TA at Big Name Canadian U and because I’m afraid of traveling without him I push him every day to the edge while asking when are we going to buy tickets for our X-mas vacay (he reminds me every time that he has to grade finals and can’t leave until Big Name Canadian U posts exam dates … hate, hate, hate undergrads so much … ok, BNCU for not being efficient). I want to go home and celebrate freedom from grad school.
- December – ahhhh, it’s been almost a month since we booked the trip to visit our families. We’ll get home (parents home) at an insanely early time, but hey, we’ll free from school for 3 weeks! Currently purifying tons of protein to stock up for sequencing and future biophysical experiments. I officially have over 70 pages of protein purification profiles, gels and protocols, but really no results to speak for all I’ve been doing during the last few months. This business of being a postdoc is sometimes frustrating … but overall I’m trying to stay positive and remember that it took me almost 6 years to generate a thesis full of lovely drawings, tables and diagrams and I’m still learning in the new lab, so no reasons to be all frustrated … yet.
Peeps of the Interwebs, amigos todos …. one of my girl crushes fave-awesome-totally-wicked bloggers invited her readers to share their worst dating stories … for reals peeps. I decided to share my tale from hell and she featured it today. Go over to The Naked Redhead (nope, absolutely NO porn) and check it out!
While you’re there, feel free to explore her blog and read up on the other horror stories!!!! Each and everyone of them is SO awesome, incredible and hilarious … or creepy … you just can’t have enough. Enjoy!