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Post thesis defense gift-giving

So, yesterday night hon and I talking as we usually do at the end of the day, when he mentions that before he goes to the airport for his defense (this week!!! THIS WEEK PEOPLE!!!) he’s going to pick up some gifts for his examination committee. We’re in different disciplines and the make up of his examination committee is totally different from mine. In grad school, my committee was comprised of local members only. I had to have a certain amount of PIs from within the department and I could have however many from departments other than mine. I gave a 1hr lecture, and immediately after that, I had a 1.5hr-long examination. My committee signed the first page of my thesis (with the condition that my PI checked that I follow their comments and include their corrections) and besides the after party, that was the last time I saw most of them (except one of two at graduation the following year).

Hon’s thesis committee is almost completely different from that of his qualifying exam, and the one he’s had for the last couple of years in preparation for his defense. Two of his usual members are part of the examination committee, a third member from the faculty and a fourth from within the university are there, along with a totally external one, a complete stranger from another uni.

We got into a tiny argument about how “rude” it was of me not to get my committee, which had been with me for 3 years, a gift, as a token of appreciation for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend my defense. I was a bit shocked, and thought that I hadn’t heard anyone, especially from my lab, do that. It’s not that I think it’s wrong, I just wasn’t aware of it, nor did I receive any indication of it. Besides, as rude as it is of me to say this, that’s part of their jobs, no? He asked what my mom had said about not giving any gifts, and I answered nothing, since my mom is always all proper and very Ms. Manners. My mom said nothing about not getting gifts, though I think she may have brought my PI some sweets my mom knew my PI loved.

The whole conversation got me thinking about gift-giving after the defense. My boss paid for her own copy of the thesis, and I placed the order, and printed all the pages to be bound. She also covered the after party and invited us over to her place for a little celebration the following weekend. No one else from my committee requested copies, so I didn’t offer any. My thesis has been freely available for the last 2.5 years. I presented in my department every time I was required (2x a year) and even volunteered to present in the lab of one of my committee members. I did send my PhD mentor a very thoughtful thank you note, which she didn’t acknowledge (maybe she didn’t get it), which is very rare, as she’s always very proper and thoughtful. She did get me another small treat for graduation, but to me, the most important point was that she was there for the hooding ceremony.

So, I have a little poll. Feel free to answer below, or tweet. I’d love to hear your thoughts:

WordPress stats and even MORE search terms

You just gotta love it … One of the nifty features of WordPress is that once you go to your dashboard (according to how you’ve set things up) you can check out how people have landed on your blog, how many and what search terms or pages were used to get to the blog. I usually get between 20-50 visits a day, especially after a new post is published. And the reason I’m glad people visit here (even if comments are sparse) is that I get this sense that the blog-o-sphere comes in SUPER handy when it’s time for your to consider going to grad school, get into grad school and scary things happen, or are almost out the door and have little to no counseling, or are afraid to ask “silly” questions (there’s no such thing as silly question … unless you’re just super clueless by nature).

I’ve done other Q and A “sessions”, or search term posts before. You can access them here, and here. And since we’re in February, which I suspect will start a new season of theses defenses, and students scrambling to get done and walk the walk, I decided to do the 3rd installment of the Search Term series. Periodically I gather search terms from those lovely WP stats and select the ones which either tickle me the most, or were similar enough to the worries I had last year as I was getting ready to defend. Or are worries I’ve heard before, and have given advice. I offer my honest opinion, and if I have no clue of what to answer I’ll say so. Without further ado … here we have the Feb 2010 installment of Search Terms.

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