Unemployed, Homeless, Hopelessly in Debt… with a Doctorate!
Well, the paperwork has all been filed, the forms filled out in triplicate. I’ve dotted all the t’s and crossed all the i’s. My thesis has been submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies! I have officially, 100% completed my Ph.D. I am officially, for the first time in 24 years, not a student! I am also officially “unemployed” and when the friend whose place I’m subletting gets back next week, I’ll officially be homeless too! I was planning to write a big emotional blog posting about how this has shaken my identity (who am I, now that I’m not a student?), but instead I’m going to write about the gong show that was my attempt to hand in my thesis. So, the deal with the thesis is that, after the defence, you have to make some revisions as suggested by your examining committee and then hand in a final, perfect copy to FoGS. Since I received a Category 2, I had one month to do my revisions and so I took a bit of a break after the defence to celebrate before I sat down to make the revisions (which were quite minor and didn’t take very long once I actually made myself sit down to do them). Anyway, when you actually go into FoGS to submit the thesis, it has to be perfect. They have a lot of very particular formatting rules that must be followed exactly. They check your table of contents to make sure that all the page numbers match up to each section, table and figure. They measure your margins. They double check that you spelled your own name correctly. So the clerk at FoGS starts looking at my thesis and says, “Your preliminary pages are supposed to be in Roman numerals.” Now, I know that the prelim pages have to be in Roman numerals. I put the prelim pages in Roman numerals right from the beginning. And I’ve printed my thesis a gazillion times (for my supervisory committee, for the examining committee, etc., etc.) and never once has Word* switched my Roman numerals to Arabic numerals. But this time it did. So I had to go all the way back to the printing place (on the other side of campus) and re-print (and pay for all over again) another copy**. So I go, I fix the pagination problem, fix the Table of Contents to match the correct pagination, I reprint, I bring it back to FoGS. And the clerk looks at the thesis and says, “Why does the Table of Contents have the “List of Figures” listed twice?” Now, this is something that I could never figure out. I used the Table of Contents feature in Word and whenever I re-generate the T.O.C., it always listed the List of Figures twice. I could not figure out what weird code I must have hidden in there somewhere that made Word do this, so I always just deleted one of the “List of Figures” from the T.O.C. after I re-generated it. But did I remember to delete it this time? No, of course I didn’t! So it was back to the printing place to re-print the T.O.C. Fortunately the T.O.C. was only 3 pages long, so I only needed to print those pages. And even more fortunately the printing place guy was kind and didn’t even charge me for those three pages. So then it was all the way back to FoGS (thank god it was a nice sunny day out, making the walk not so bad) and, third time’s a charm I guess, because everything was finally in order*** and they accepted it! But all the thrill that should have gone along with the submitting of my thesis had evaporated in the hour and a half of walking back and forth across campus and fiddling with formatting. And the whole thing begs the question: why the hell can’t we just email the damn thing to them anyway? Why the hell do they want a paper copy, seeing as they are just putting the whole thing directly on microfiche? And who the hell uses microfiche in the year 2006 anyway??
So, that’s the story of my gong show of a day trying to submit my thesis. But on the plus side, it was accepted in the end! Plus, I got a free FoGS pen (and you know how much I love free pens!) and a survey to fill out (and I love filling out surveys… second only to my love of free pens). The survey is from StatsCan and is called the Survey of Earned Doctorates****. And since I am now no longer a student and will never have to write another word for my thesis again, I felt that I needed to update my blog title, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting.
And even better than free pens and surveys and slightly modified blog titles, guess who asked me for my number when I walked by the house down the street from me today???
*Word has screwed up various other formatting issues when taking a document from my computer and opening it up on the computer at the printing place. But it’s never screwed up my pagination like this before. I’m not shocked that Word messed something up (that’s to be expected, quite frankly, knowing Word) but that Word is so inconsistent in what it screws up.
**And what am I going to do with the incorrectly paginated version, you ask? Oh, you’ll see. I have plans – stay tuned for that.
***If you would like a copy of my thesis (come on, you know you want to read 167 pages of thesis-tastic excitement), let me know and I’ll email you a copy. I would post the pdf but it’s too big of a file to post on Geocities, which is the only place that I currently have set up to post documents and I’m too tired right now to find another free site that will allow bigger files.
***I like how they point out that this is for earned doctorates — those ones you can buy off the internet just don’t cut it for this survey, bee-yotch!