Archive for the ‘defence’ Category

2009 in Review

DH and I got back from our Christmas vacation last night. It was nice to visit with family and friends, and it gave us some much needed time away from home. But, it’s definitely great to be back!

2009 has been one exciting year for us! There has been a number of big changes, with still more to come. Here is a review of the past year:

The Big 3-0: I turned 30 in March, and instead of being a scary or sad time, it was actually quite liberating!

Career direction: I (finally) decided what I want to do when I grow up. Education and outreach is my passion! Now I just need to find a job…

The PhD thesis: I spent much time worrying about my thesis defense (hence why it was the second most popular subject I blogged about in 2009), but got it done on July 20th!

Dream vacation: two weeks after finishing my PhD, DH and I went on a dream vacation to Brazil and Peru in August.

Comin’ out: after a year of blogging pseudonymously, I “came out” and now blog under my real name.

Published author: two papers from my PhD thesis were accepted and published in 2009.

Paper anniversary: DH and I celebrated our first year of marriage on September 13th.

Settling down: after much anguish and waiting, DH took a permanent position right here in London at the end of September. He got his first ever car too!

Comet: to commemorate my PhD, I got another tattoo in October.

Try, try again: DH and I started “trying” in the fall, and found out we were pregnant in mid-November. Unfortunately, we lost the pregnancy about 8.5 weeks in. Not a great way to end the year, but we hope 2010 will bring us more luck in this department.

Well, I think those were the major happenings in our lives over the past 12 months! It has been an amazingly crazy year, with many ups and downs, but we made it through and are excited to see what 2010 holds for us: a house? a job that I love? perhaps a baby? what else?

Happy 2010!!!

More Details

Okay, now that I have food (and drink) in my belly, and had a good sleep, I’ll expand a bit on my last post.

My talk was supposed to begin at 9:30am – at that time, only two of my examiners had shown up. The third (the university examiner) came in shortly after 9:30, and the fourth (my external) came in about 10 minutes late. He told me the reason after the talk, and it was reasonable – so I couldn’t be too mad!

My supervisor introduced me – saying lots of great things, and it sounded like he even did a little research about my masters project! He specifically talked about my two outreach programs, which was nice since I don’t really get a lot of recognition for those.

I started my talk, and then it ended. I can barely remember giving it! It went well though, apparently, and I felt calm during it (once I finished the first slide). I had 3 questions from the audience (which was one of the largest anyone has seen at a PhD talk!) – I answered those pretty well.

We had 30 minutes between the talk and the defense, so the committee went and grabbed some coffee and snacks while I chatted with various people. Then I made my way over to the defense room.

The room was incredibly small – the table just barely fit in the room, and there was just enough chairs for me, my supervisor, the four examiners, and the chair. There was absolutely no air flow, but we couldn’t keep the door open because it was along a busy hallway, and right across from some bathrooms 😛

We did the intros, I stepped out of the room so they could decide who asked questions when, and then it began.

My external examiner asked questions first, and they were pretty reasonable. That continued around the table – everyone was being reasonable, I couldn’t believe it! There were two rounds of questions, it lasted for 1.5 hours, and there were only two questions where I said “I don’t know” (although a couple others I didn’t know either, but at least I had the right idea).

Overall I thought it went pretty well. I went out of the room and sat there for 30 minutes while they deliberated – that was the worst. Apparently, they weren’t discussing if I should pass or fail, it was what corrections I needed to do (I guess they all had different opinions).

They called me back in, started shaking my hand, but didn’t say anything – so I asked “Does this mean I passed?” and they said “yes”! It was a very odd feeling! All of that stress and nervousness did not just go away – I was not relieved or anything! I guess when you live with those feelings for so long, they almost become a way of life 😛

My supervisor told me that every one of the examiners said it was the best written thesis any of them have ever read – so that’s a good feeling (and a boo-yeah to the reviewer who said I needed to get a native English speaker to proofread my paper!).

I called DH, who was with my parents. They met me at my office and we went over to the grad club to celebrate (and a bunch of people were there already). My parents gave me a beautiful bracelet (that my mom actually made!), and DH gave me four books! The four of us went out for dinner that night to a great little bistro that DH and I will be sure to go back too.

I’m soo sooo sooooooo glad it’s over and would not do it over for millions of dollars. It was the scariest day of my life, hands down.

Today I spend with my parents (they go home tomorrow). Tomorrow I start on the corrections and will hopefully be able to hand in my thesis before we leave for South America on the 1st!

The results are in…

…I’m a Dr.!!! I so cannot believe it!

Now, off to the grad club to celebrate!

Home Stretch

Well, it’s the Friday before my defense. Three days to go. One more weekend.

My parents are coming to town for it, and get here late Saturday night. It’ll be nice to see them, and hopefully having them here will calm me down a bit (or at least take my mind off things)!

I have one last meeting with my supervisor today. Actually, I think it’s the first one we’ve had since I submitted my thesis six weeks ago.

I humbly ask of my readers to send lots of positive thoughts my way!


I finished making my slides for my defense talk last week. I thought it’d be pretty good, but I knew that once I went through it once I’d have to edit it.

Well, I did it this morning, and it took me 45 minutes to get through the intro/background stuff! LOL Half of it was me just pontificating longer on things than I should have. Then there was a bunch of extraneous stuff that I had included, and I was having some issues with some transitions.

I have edited it down a bit now, and the whole thing took me 47 minutes this time. Not bad. It’d be nice if it was a bit shorter, although I think that will happen as I practice it a couple of times and refine some transitions and explanations.

I got to admit, this part is kind of fun.

Official Freak Out #1

I was doing so, so well with not being nervous about my defense since submitting my thesis. I have been relaxed, calm, and even excited from time to time about it all.

Then yesterday, I finished making my presentation. Then I started thinking about all the questions people might ask after the talk because there’s so much I can’t put into it. Then I started thinking about all the questions my examiners might ask. Then I started to cry.

Holy crap. 9 more days…9 more days…(then I promise I will write about something else!).

In other news: I very might well buy a bikini for the first time in my life today. Maybe.

Two Weeks

I’ve been talking about my thesis and defense a lot over the past couple of months, and frankly even I’m getting sick of it. But, since it’s in the front of my mind practically 24/7, it’s just something we’ll all have to deal with for another couple of weeks!

Two weeks from right now I’ll probably be puking, curled up in a ball in a corner, crying, repeating “I don’t wanna!!” to DH….or most likely all of the above. It’s funny though, because right now I’m actually more excited about it than nervous. Let me clarify: excited to be done. Although, I am kind of excited for the talk, because that’s something I enjoy doing.

My studying is going alright – slowly, but definitely in the right direction. I made a list of concepts I needed to brush up on, and now I’m just going through that list and making notes. My supervisor also gave me a list of questions, and I will go through those as well.

My goal this week (i.e., before next Monday) is to have all my notes written up for those questions (both mine and supervisors) and to have all my slides done for my talk. That way, I can just spend next week reviewing the notes and practicing my talk 2-3 times.

The parental unit arrives on Saturday night before the defense (late – I’m not sure if I’ll even see them that night). So, on the Sunday I hope to just relax with them – hang out, eat, talk, etc.. They leave Wednesday morning, so I won’t even think about doing my corrections until then.

It’ll be good to see them – this is the second time my dad has visited me, third for my mom (she came on her own one time). My brother is contemplating coming as well, so that would be awesome since he’s never been here.

Anyway, back at it I suppose.

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