As I’ve told people who ask how it feels to be done; it doesn’t feel real yet.
I defended my thesis at 2pm on September 10th, the most stressful hour and a half of my life thus far. My examiners were tough, which I expected given my flashy topic. It’s interesting how exhausting it can be to sit and answer questions; after the first hour my eyes were glazing over and I had to ask one examiner to repeat the question, having zoned out.
When I was sent into the hall for the panel to discuss my fate, I was sure I’d have major revisions to do. I expected at least some. For a thesis defense, the panel can arrive at one of three options:
1) thesis accepted “as is” – no revisions
2) thesis accepted with minor revisions – can range from adding/deleting a paragraph, to rewriting a few pages
3) thesis rejected
Apparently, the department won’t convene for a defense if #3 is even an option; for me to have gotten a defense date meant it was good enough to pass, so it was just a matter of how much revisions needed to be done. I was nervous about this, because in order to graduate on time and avoid further tuition payments, I need my finished thesis to be in to the department by the 19th of September. Not a lot of time.
I was told I’d have to wait outside for about 30 mins, but they came to get me after 10. When the chairperson said my thesis was being accepted “as is”, I think I might have actually fainted a little bit. Not from elation or pride, but just from sheer shock. My examiners put me through the ropes, and I felt like one perticular line of questioning had me backed into a corner I couldn’t defend my way out of. I do have to do some minor grammatical revisions. As luck would have it, my external examiner was from the English department, and found issue with my gratuitous overuse of the semicolon (which I’m sure my diligent readers have noticed I like to use while blogging.)
Immediately after the defense, my supervisor took me for a few beers in the campus grad bar. Cold beer on an anxious, empty stomach went straight to my head and the rest of the evening was a blur of hi-fives and congratulations.
Now, less than a week later, I’m working on the revisions and I still can’t believe it’s almost over. I work a fair bit this week, and there’s a Basement Artists show at Babylon on Saturday night. Sunday morning I’m off to Vancouver/Victoria for a little vacation. I’m hoping that when I return home from BC, I’ll really be able to feel that my masters degree is over and done with.
Then, on to bigger and better things (?)