Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another defense

In the last two years, my department has graduated six students, three of them folks who had come to the program in the mid-nineties and drifted around a bit, changing topics, working fulltime, having children, getting other degrees in the meantime (basically, having a life). I expect once the cohort of older students graduates, the five-years-and-out model will reign, and the new students will graduate quickly and on schedule. The rate at which we graduate students factors into the kinds of grants the department and its students get and the rankings of our program, so it's in the faculty's interest to keep us moving.

Today another student who had been on a longterm timetable defended her diss, I'm sure successfully. Her work is very interesting, about Czech engineers, scientific management and rationalization in a number of different political contexts. The defense itself took place in a room almost hidden among the engines on the top floor of the ME building, and there was no coffee or pastries, no powerpoint, just the student and some overheads. Her work is so strong no coffee was needed, I think. But I wonder what my defense will be like: I do worry about the appearances, the right room to hold it in, having coffee etc, a nice presentation on the computer (and I do need the internet to show my nice interactive maps). I'll probably be a total wreck from the organizing of food and having my dad around as much as from the presentation and examining itself.

If I had been on track to finish on my earlier timetable, I would have been the youngest person to graduate from our program, and, though not the quickest finisher, but up there. Now I'll tie for youngest with G. At this point I don't need any titles, just to be done.

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