Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dr. Mommy

At the end of December, I gave a quick update on the state of my PhD. At the time, two of my three committee members had agreed to sign my dissertation, while the third (AdvisorA) was refusing to acknowledge that I'd even sent it to her. I gave her one more month to get back to me (also, I had a newborn and wasn't really in the mood to deal with her) and then, in early February, I started bugging her by email. And bugging her and bugging her. She kept telling me that yes, she had edits, but no, they weren't ready yet, and no, she wouldn't be signing until after she was done requesting changes. And then she kept putting off sending me anything. After much back and forth, she finally finally finally sent me a bunch of requested edits at the end of February. And yes, that means that I was editing my dissertation while caring for a six-week-old infant. Fun times! The first week of March, she finally sent me her signature on the final signature form. Which gave me one week to run around campus with Kermit getting the other two committee members to sign the form, doing final changes, doing the format check with the Registrar's office, and turning the whole thing in before the Winter deadline.

One random observation: when you do all this final PhD work while toting a baby who is not quite two months old, just about everybody you interact with comments on it, saying something like, "Really, you're doing all this dissertation work with a newborn?!?" Don't feel too proud of yourself, though. Yes, approximately two-thirds of those people will mean, "Wow, it's really impressive that you're finishing up heavy duty graduate work while also caring for a newborn!" But the other third of the people will actually mean, "Wow, it's really sad that you're neglecting a newborn just to do some graduate work before some arbitrary deadline." Those last third of the people will look sorrowfully at the baby and ask if maybe you shouldn't be going home and doing this PhD hobby of yours at a different time. (One of the women in the Registrar's office explicitly told me that perhaps I should come back in another few weeks, and I pointed out to her that I was there to meet her office's deadline, and she just shrugged.)

But, here's the good news: Everybody on the committee signed my dissertation. All forms and documents were turned into the university. The university accepted everything, and last week, officially conferred the degree. I am now Dr. Nicky. Mommy, PhD.

The job hunt is officially on hold, because I want to stay home with Kermit for a while longer. On good days, I tell people that I am now Dr. Stay-At-Home-Mom. On bad days, I just tell people that I'm unemployed. But either way, grad school is now mercifully over. For now, I'll be sticking with Dr. Mommy.


  1. Congratulations, Doctor! That's awesome!

  2. YAY!!!!! Congratulations! Such excellent news that Advisor A finally showed up and all papers were signed. I hope that you are planning a big celebration for later this spring.

    And now imagine running around campus with a 5 week old in a baby sling ... but you're not doing anything important like filing to graduate but just "doing a favor" and organizing a conference for the department ... such fun.

  3. Good For you! What a great accomplishment!

  4. Congratulations! Glad that Advisor A is finally out of your hair. And yes, a big party is definitely in order.

  5. Congratulations!! How does it FEEL????

  6. Congratulations! I was wondering about Advisor A, glad that is over with now. I hope you get to enjoy the accomplishment a bit.

  7. Woo hoo! Congratulations! (I know this is late, but I just found your blog after you commented on mine) There is no better feeling than having the dissertation DONE.

    Tell the neglecting the newborn people that I left my three week old with a babysitter so I could go teach a class. You had yours with you on a college campus! It's practically a cultural activity!


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