Reflecting on the past
Below are some of my thoughts during the day of my final defense–June 19, 2009.
First day as a Ph.D.’er
June 19, 2009
Woke up early today to put the finishing touches on my PowerPoint presentation that was due a month ago. In total, I was staring at 56 slides and only had about 15 minutes to go through all of them (I ended up being given 20 minutes). As soon as I was done, I rendered it onto a blank disc (with an extra copy to boot) and headed off for breakfast with my mom at Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf.
In Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf, I was planning on doing some last minute reading but my mom–in her infinite wisdom–told me to “just forget about it” because if I didn’t, I would just “drive myself nuts.”
And she was right.
The Final Defense
As one of the first parties to arrive, I went down to the library in order to make the necessary arrangements for a computer and projector. It was 9:30 in the morning and my defense was set at 10 AM.
Lots of time.
Or so I thought.
10:15 AM rolled by and the projector was no where in sight.
My saving grace at this point was that my panel chair hadn’t had yet to arrive.
But this provided little comfort as my tension was slowly rising with each passing second.
As luck would have it, I found out that the technician set up the projector one floor BELOW my assigned room for the defense!
But all was not lost as the College of Education stepped up to the plate and supplied me with their own personal computer and projector.
Thank you College of Education!
The Main Event
Of course I was nervous.
I started with a prayer and thanked everyone for making the time to come over and be a part of my paper.
I was also informed that I would have twenty minute to go over my presentation.
Lots of time.
Or so I thought.
Next thing I knew, I was down to three minutes.
I rifled through numerous slides and finished off with my post conceptual framework.
At that point, I wasn’t too confident. But I thought I did ok.
After being asked to step out of the room in order to give the panel and opportunity to deliberate on my paper, I was left to sit in the waiting room of my department.
It was silent. It was agonizing.
To think, I actually fell asleep waiting!
Not long after, the panel finally called me back in and asked me a series of questions regarding certain aspects of my paper.
My mentor told me long ago that if she didn’t speak up. That it would be a good sign.
And I am happy to say that she didn’t have to speak on my behalf until the very end.
I really hope that I did her proud.
The Final Verdict
I was again sent out into the waiting room for the panel’s final deliberation.
This time around, the wait wasn’t as long and I was immediately called back inside.
The verdict: Pass with minor revision.
I was numb.
4 1/2 years of work flashed before my eyes.
The time I had always dreamed of was now here.
I was truly humbled and grateful to everyone.
Jedi Knighting Ceremony
My journey reminded me of Anakin Skywalker’s ascension from Padawan to Jedi Knight in the original Clone Wars cartoons Knighting Ceremony wherein Yoda said:
Step forward, Padawan…by the right of the Council, by the will of the Force, I dub thee, Jedi (cuts braid) Knight of the Republic.
I guess, this was my right of passage as well.