Saturday, February 12, 2005

In Memory of my Thesis

Today is the one year anniversary of my thesis defense. My thesis was called The Rhetoric of the Frontier and the Frontier of Rhetoric. It was about frontiers...and rhetoric. There were some women in it, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. There was also a lot about Mormon women and polygamy actually being liberating for many of them. Or something. It's hard to remember that far back, though at the time it was my life's work.

I'll bet you can't guess what I was doing the night before my thesis defense. Was I

A) In the library, drilling myself on possible questions.

B) At home, taking stock of my life and relaxing with family and friends.

C) Frantically running around the mall trying to find the perfect shirt to wear under my olive green Banana Republic suit, and spending too much money on impulse purchases that would become "lucky charms" for my big day.

If you guessed "C", then you'd be right. I was NOT studying. I was NOT relaxing, or fasting and praying (though I did that at one point). I was shopping.

And I also was lying to this lady from our ward who works at Nordstrom. I went in there as a last resort, foolishly thinking that they'd have something I could find quickly. Lady from my ward tried to help me, but I HATED all of her suggestions. I didn't want to tell her this, of course, so I lied and said that her store was my first stop and I wanted to run through the mall before deciding. "I'll be back, though" I said, reassuringly. In reality, her store was my last stop, and I had no plans to return there at all. I think she could sense this. But oh well.

I did finally find the right shirt, and in addition bought a purse with a red "C" on it, and some perfume from the GAP.

My defense was at nine o'clock the next morning. Mike and my mother came for moral support. The lady who had criticized my eye shadow was on my committee, and she asked some real tough questions. My thesis chair, I believe, had actually never read my thesis, so he was on my side (cause he felt ashamed), and the other member of my committee was really picky. In fact, at one point she found 26 things wrong (one thing for each letter of the alphabet) with my first chapter, alone. But it went okay. At first I couldn't talk and had to keep clearing my throat. Thesis chair felt sorry for me, and ran to get me some water. Two hours later I had passed my defense. It was all over. I celebrated by going to Mimi's and cancelling my English 315 class.

A little later on I found out that my thesis had been nominated for some award--my guess is thesis chair felt guilty about not reading it and decided to nominate me to assuage his gnawing guilt. But I'm grateful, really. And Mike asks me at least bi-monthly when I am going to turn thesis into a publishable book. "Yeah, right. I'll get on that ASAP" is my usual response. Who can think about publishing a book when they have so much to blog about?


  1. Oooh, I'm so happy for you and so jealous too. You've given me hope that I too will actually defend my thesis and be done with it. Some wonderful wonderful day. I only hope to find a cute suit to wear to my defense! Congratulations!

  2. I really don't think that I could handle the pressure...

    Especially if one had criticezed my eyeshadow. I AM JUST TOO FRAGILE! ;)

  3. I'm so glad to know that other people put as much stock in "outfit confidence" as I do. I can't tell you HOW many times I have run around the mall and run up my card to have the perfect outfit for the go girl... oh, and it's awesome that you have a Masters and all...I know you were well dressed to defend it...

  4. Well, having a good appearance and looking good when presenting and defending the thesis can really be a thesis help because it would boost your confidence. And from the sound of your story, anyone can really look good and feel good while wearing what you wore.