As of July 2, 2012, John has earned his doctorate. Wow! Let me just say that again. John has finished his Ph.D. He did it! We did it! Cue the happy music and dancing!
Not only has he finished his Ph.D., but he did it in 4 years! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it generally takes 5-6 years to finish a Ph.D. if you’re a full-time student.
1st Year: We got married. He was a full-time student, taught a statistics lab, and worked in the tutoring lab. He earned “Top 1st Year” in his department.
2nd Year: He was a full-time student, taught a statistics class, and worked in the tutoring lab. In the fall semester he took his oral exams and in the spring he took his qualifying exams. Basically, the oral exam is when the student stands in front of the department, and the professors fire questions at them. The professors intentionally try to trip the students up and fluster them, but John knocked it out of the park! The qualifying exams are written tests covering everything from the previous 2 years. That summer we drove to JSM in Vancouver, B.C. and John won the “Stats Bowl.” He beat other graduate students from TX A&M, NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, Carnegie Melon, etc.
3rd Year: Again a full-time student, taught a statistics class, and worked in the tutoring lab. He completed his Preliminary Project Presentation. The PPP was basically an independent project he had to complete and defend before being allowed to start a dissertation. He won “Top Overall” in his department that year. He applied for a summer internship, but was offered a full-time position instead. We moved 2,000 miles away to WA.
4th Year: He worked a full-time job, wrote a dissertation, defended his dissertation, accepted a prestigious postdoc at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Baby Boy was born.
It is finally all over. We made it. We can stop marking time by each graduate school hurdle. He can be home for dinner. He can be home for dinner and not have to turn around to go back to his office until the wee hours of the morning. The only reason he’ll have to wake up at 4:30 am is if Baby Boy needs him. He might start returning phone calls and texts. Perhaps he can take a real vacation without having to work while on it. Maybe. I’m not going to hold my breath though. Sure, it will get easier, but you don’t accomplish all this without a serious work ethic. John loves what he does, and crazy as it seems to me, he has fun with it too.