Blogging from A to Z Challenge: D is for… (#AtoZChallenge)
Welcome to my April 2023 Great and Powerful Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
I’ve revealed my theme (My life in first drafts), but this year, instead of pretending there were ever plans, I am unashamedly blogging my theme letters on the fly. So, here goes nothing!
So, without further ado, D is for Defense of Thesis.
For those of you who don’t know, I have a Master of Arts in Linguistics which I completed, well, a really long time ago. Part of the process of getting a Masters degree is defending your thesis, a long paper that is usually not as long as a PhD dissertation, but longer than your standard course essay. Mine was long. Longer than normal because of what I worked on, which I am not going to go into here. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t seem important to this post.
Anyway, the defense. Another one of those war metaphors that we like to use in English, like battling cancer or being on the warpath about something that you don’t agree with. We do like our fight expressions.
My thesis defense consisted of all the professors in my area, plus another one outside of my area, the head of the Graduate Studies department, or I guess the Dean or some such personage, as well as someone who was an expert on my topic from another institution. I was really lucky in this last as I got the true expert to come up from the states, and I don’t think anyone else getting a Masters in Linguistics was granted that privilege after that. But I could be wrong. I only know I was lucky.
The defense started with me being pulled out of the room by the Graduate Students dude to give me a pep talk, which didn’t leave me feeling very peppy. Then I went back to the room and gave a short presentation. I was told ahead of time that I had 20 minutes (I think that was the amount of time) and if I went over, I would be shut down. I was SO nervous. I have never been so nervous for anything and my voice shook – I’m surprised anyone could understand me. There was no PowerPoint back then, it was just me and my notes at a podium speaking to a room full of straight faced men. I don’t think there was another woman in the room, come to think of it.
I finished my presentation and sat down at the head of the table and the questions began. I think the external dude asked the first one, and I answered it! I remember the relief washing through me as I realized, hell, I knew what I was talking about!! All those years of study were actually still there in my brain.
And then I was ok. I was questioned for, well I don’t remember for how long. One hour? Two? But the moment I remember the most was when one of my professors (not my advisor, but another one) asked me a question about something he had asked me to change in my thesis before hand that I refused to change because, well, he was wrong about it. He asked, and I was about to answer when the external expert chimed in and said “Actually, Emily is right about that.” Boo and Yah! I wanted to fist bump right then and there, but I maintained my decorum only grinning to myself inside.
And then, it was done. I had some things to revise, they threw a party for me, and I got my Masters. Almost a let down because the adrenaline had been pumping for so long, and I spent so much time working on the damn thesis, that now I felt like I had nothing to do. Luckily having several jobs and beginning to teach classes took care that that feeling.
So that is the story of my thesis defense. I want to thank myself for taking me back through those lows and highs. Glad I have no intention of ever doing this again!
Thanks for visiting my 2023 A to Z Challenge – Letter D. You can find links to more blogs participating in this challenge at Letter A, A to Z 2023 Challenge Master List (Google Docs).
Guess I’m kind of a rebel too…although I do like using the “official” letters…