Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

Flashback Friday – My Ph.D. Defense Doesn’t Compare To This

on February 3, 2012


My defense form was signed! I passed without revisions!

About this time last year, I was preparing for my Ph.D. dissertation defense.  Many times I had heard people say, “There is no reason to be nervous.  You know your research better than anyone else.”  I was nervous because I didn’t know entirely what to expect, and making all the arrangements from over a thousand miles away was a challenge, but I was also excited to tell others about my work.  My aunt and uncle listened while my husband entertained Clara outside the conference room.  Other students came.  (They can get some seminar credit for attending defenses.)  The forty-five-minute presentation went quickly, without a hitch, and the committee’s questions were fair and very helpful.  My committee signed my form, passing me without requiring any revisions to my dissertation!

Yes, I was the one who had spent hours gathering data, cleaning the dataset, running SAS code and analyzing the results, creating organized tables to display the data, making conclusions, creating helpful charts, and writing page upon page to explain the problem, methodology, and the application of the results.  I had presented at national conferences, local research meetings, and in my own classroom.  Despite all the time my advisor and I spent discussing the work along the way, no one knew this research better than I did.

Yesterday,  a couple of thoughts hit me.  One came as I was driving home from the university with Clara that was a small wish that I had time to do some research still, but the inclination was small.  Later, as my husband and I retired for the night, I told him how much I treasured the fact that no one knows our toddler better than I do right now.  She is my research project right now.  I know her sleeping habits, her toy preferences (though they change often), her abilities and limitations, her patience level, her language, and I delight in that!  And I’m excited to study the new little one who, Lord-willing, will join our family in about six weeks!

Passing my defense without revisions last year is nothing compared to this!

~Dana

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2 responses to “Flashback Friday – My Ph.D. Defense Doesn’t Compare To This

  1. Marla says:

    Great post! And, you did a great job explaining why I slowed down my dissertation work to be a mom. It is going to take 2 years longer than I had planned, but I would not give up the time I have with my girls for anything!

    • Dana K says:

      Marla, having more time with your family is totally worth a later graduation date. Delaying graduation may also be a good strategic move, depending on what your goals may be for your degree!

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