May 26, 2010 - 2:30 PM
Every morning I wake up around 7am and assess what I have ahead of me that day. Usually it's just a quick subconscious assessment, and then I go back to sleep immediately. However, this morning I came-to and realized: today is my thesis defense!
Eyes wide open, I sat up and reached for my notes and thesis to do some final review before my 10am defense. I ran through my presentation several times, ate breakfast, and dressed for success (I went with a business casual look). Ready for my defense, I trekked off towards PLC 448. I made sure to arrive early to give myself ample time to set up and get comfortable.
I walked up the four flights of stairs in PLC, walked down the hall to room 448 which has a placard reading "English Conference Room," and turned the knob. It was locked. Slightly perturbed but not too alarmed, I made my way back downstairs to the English office to retrieve the key and returned to the conference room. I got into the room and arranged the comfortable leather chairs to accommodate my committee and audience.
Before long, I heard my roommates Jamie and Jeff's voices in the hall and I invited them into the room. Their encouragement and joking helped keep me loose and calm my nerves. My other friends and roommates came in as well, and my committee (made up of Professors John Gage, Louise Bishop, and Nathan Tublitz) also filed in as the clock struck 10am. We almost always have warm, friendly relationships, but today my professors were all business. After some quick introductions, it was time for my presentation.
I presented my thesis, giving a thorough look at my analysis and plan for improving dialogue in University of Oregon classes. Following my presentation, my professors asked me questions about my thesis, focusing on precise points, asking for clarification and further detail in places where I was vague or they didn't completely agree. I felt like I fielded the questions well, and I was confident and effective in my presentation. As the hour came to a close, my committee kicked me and my friends out of the room, and they collaborated to decide my fate.
My friends and I stepped into the hall, and I took a deep breath. I thought the defense went well. My roommate Margo presented me with a t-shirt that she had stenciled with my own face on it (she was also wearing a t-shirt with my likeness on the front). I was very lucky to have my friends' support, and it made the experience that much easier to have their backing. We conversed in the hall, and before long my committee called me back into the room.
Professor Gage broke the news: "we're passing you with honors." My smile spread from ear to ear. I could hardly contain my happiness, and the stress that had been weighing on me was instantly lifted. I thanked my professors and made my way out of the conference room and joined my roommates to celebrate. It has finally hit home: I'm just about done!