Yesterday was a long time coming. 13 years of primary and secondary education, 5 years of undergraduate education, and 5 years of graduate education…and now I’m done: Ph.D. achieved.
Different graduate programs carry out their various processes in different ways, but the way ours works is that you complete a Preliminary Dissertation (e.g. “comps”) after 2 years in the program, then you carry out your research, write up a Dissertation, and then defend it. In the Pharmacological and Physiological Science Department at SLU, you have a “Private Defense” between you and your Committee, the individuals that have been evaluating you since the Prelim to determine when you’re ready to be done. The meeting was scheduled for 11:00 am and, while it started a little late, it only ended up lasting an hour. After completion of the Private Defense, we moved on to the “Public Defense.” This one was a separate presentation of, essentially, the “story” my Dissertation told. Anyone is allowed to attend this presentation and ask any questions they want, although typically, there aren’t that many questions asked. I had a few and answered them accordingly. After all this, the ballots allowing my graduation were signed by the Committee and I was then granted the Doctor of Philosophy.
After the Defense(s), we had a lovely reception in the main conference room of the department. Food was eaten, beers drunken(?), presents given, and memories remembered. All in all, it was a great experience. I’m certainly sorry to leave SLU, and I’ll miss all the friends I’ve made over the last 5 years. However, it’s time to move on to the next stage of life.
Now that I’m out of school, after 22 years, one could argue that I’m finally ready to join the “real world.”
And I get to join the real world as Andrew J. Linsenbardt, Ph.D. 🙂