My thesis defense was yesterday. It went okay. I was disappointed by the lack of crowd (one adjunct admitted he went to the beach). The presentation was not flawless. I use Keynote, which is the Mac version of Powerpoint; I prefer it, though I have Powerpoint. The day before, when I rehearsed, Keynote had an aweseome presenter only display, where I had a clock and my notes on my screen, and the presentation on the big screen. True to how life rolls, I wasn’t able to get that back the next day, even though I hadn’t changed any settings on my compuer and no one had used the room for my presentation.

The defense part (the part behind closed doors) was intense. At least mine wasn’t a friendly meeting of professors; we were there for business and nothing nice. I have to do rewriting. Everyone has different standards; some things that my advisor had wanted me to do and loved were things the committee hated. Go figure. The only bad thing about the edits are that some of them I need to have access to stuff at school. Due to my job search and lack of job, I am moving in with a friend in Providence, RI next week sometime. I have to work hard to get stuff done all while packing.

The other thing that made yesterday rough was a friend wanted to cancel on me for moving. I was relying on this, since I’m moving within a week or so. I have since found a reasonable mover, but I now need to figure out how to move my cats. Airlines won’t let me fly with three cats or buy seats or anything like that. I’m not sure why, but that’s what I found out from customer service tonight. Anyone have any advice?

That’s where my life stands. My big relaxing stuff today (and part of yesterday when I wasn’t freaking out about my move) was eating malai kofta from my favorite Indian restaurant, playing Sims 3, and sitting around in my PJs.


Tomorrow is my defense. My advisor, the kid who defends Wednesday, and I did a dry run, along with two others.

Remarkably, my dry run was painless. I have to make some corrections tonight, but beyond that- it went well for my first, last, and only dry run. I have to admit I was nervous- I respected everyone’s opinion in the room, and I don’t have that much time to make major corrections. Also, being questioned is not fun at all. I was particularly scared when M, the guy going on Wednesday, was asked a series of difficult questions. My questions weren’t easy, either, and my advisor has one mean poker face (I couldn’t tell until I finished answering if I was on the right track or I was completely wrong). Thank goodness, I was right with my answers.

Around this time tomorrow, I will most likely have an answer of whether I have successfully defended my thesis. Please send happy, good vibes my way.

So my thesis has gone to committee. Scary, huh? I spent yesterday scrambling to get myself together; Mathematica crashed on me 5 times. While that sounds unfortunate but not too bad, Mathematica chose to crash when I finished loading all 6 sets of data. Those six sets take about an hour to load.

I’m right now saving video and putting together my talk. I look forward to it on some level. I like talking :), but I’m also a little nervous. I’m only getting one dry run through it on Monday with my advisor.

I’m also a bit sad. A few people who I would have loved to have show up will not be. Oh well. I plan on doing what a former grad student did after he got through the grilling: sleeping. I sleep terribly right now. I don’t want to do poorly. I don’t want to be stuck in huge rewrites (I learned today that a former grad student had 40 pages to add onto his). I expect some revisions, but I don’t want to get swamped. Right now, I’m simply too busy. I’m thesising, working on getting a job, TAing, and trying to plan a move. A lot for one person to get done in a short amount of time.

I defend on Tuesday. Wish me luck!

I’m just terribly busy with my thesis. My advisor thinks I can defend in approximately a month. The research section is over, now we’re analyzing the data. My life, due to the deadline, has been frozen a bit. I TA, I work on my thesis, I take a brief break at home, and I write more at home.

I have been debating about going part-time with TAing, because we has a permanent substitute TA. While I really want to earn the money, I need a break and more time. I’d gain about 3 extra hours per day, which would be nice. While that may not sound like much, at this point, 3 extra hours would be amazing to take a quick nap or relax a bit.

I’ve been trying to make a point to go to yoga and dance. However, I find myself having trouble to make the time and then occassionally turning off my brain from outside cares. Last night at yoga, it was very easy to resume thinking about what I needed to do with my thesis, even though I normally try to relax and concentrate on breathing and movement during yoga.

I plan on still blogging, but if my posts are less frequent, this is why.

My friend, K, was the last of his class to go on as a MS holder. His these was quite good. It was a short presentation (about 30 min), but it was solid.

I feel a little sad, because thesis defenses at this point are what funerals are to a lot of families: the only time we ever see each other anymore. Now that the bulk of them are finished (we have 2-3 three left, including mine), I don’t know when I’m going to see everyone next as a group. I hadn’t seen K in about 2-3 months. He isn’t my BFF, but I do like seeing him and just the old group of grad students and a former professor. There was more of a cohesive group. On a whole, we all liked each other. I could always count on having a good conversation with many of them.

While I look forward to being finished with my thesis, I didn’t look forward to everyone else being done. When I’ll see everyone again? I don’t know.

E successfully defended his thesis today. Besides not wanting to see someone fail, I was rather nervous, because E is the first student of my advisor. In other words, I had no proof that my advisor is able to get a student through the MS thesis. Although I had no reason to doubt that, it is comforting to have proof.

Part of what I like about grad school is the thesis defense. My program has very little community, so I’m always amazed to see that people come out for the defenses and that people do wait anxiously to see the defender succeed. It’s like a weird family; even if people don’t appear to care about each other, perhaps they truly do. I also like learning about physics. I feel like come away from everyone’s research learning something new.

On another note from the past two days, I found out that two jobs I had applied for in 2006/2007 are up again in the Boston-area. They upped their ante from last time; the minimum requirement is an MS and one of them has an even more complicated process.  I have to write a teaching statement and submit three recommendations. While I am indeed applying for both jobs, the cynic in believes that I will be overlooked for a PhD. In this job market, I would believe that they could get a PhD. *sigh

The funny thing about vacations is you need a vacation from them. Time to catch up on sleep, home stuff (grocery shopping, laundry)… Unfortunately, I had to jump back into work. We didn’t get home until around 10:30 PM, and I had to be at work/school by 10:15 AM. Not pleasant.

We began summer school teaching today. It went okay. I’m amazed that students sign up to take summer physics and get something out of it. My learning style involves more time for digestion; I don’t care for the quarter system (10 weeks of class, as opposed to the 15 weeks in a semester), and I don’t understand how you can learn something in about 3 weeks.

I also came back to being part of my lab. One of my favorite things about my lab is we’re a community of sorts. Everyone is interested in everyone’s research, we do at free will talk to each other about it, and there is some level of respect and appreciation there. Today’s sign was the practice run of a grad’s thesis defense. I thought it was cool that people did make the effort to show up, even if that was the only reason to be there. My advisor genuinely wanted us all to support this student. My experience at school has been- variable, but I genuinely do enjoy my lab. Today is just an example of why.

Tomorrow is yet another day of work, as well as the real run of this student’s thesis defense.