On April 30, my wife defended her master’s thesis in English literature at Wake Forest University.
For my part, I showed up unannounced holding this sign with a friend (thanks Congressman). The English department administrators made me tape it to a wall in the defense room. I’m told it helped calm down nerves.
I won’t attempt to write her thesis’ title here or explain what it means (partially because I don’t have an entirely good grasp of it, but mostly because I don’t think I could spell all the words).
The thesis committee, however, adroitly handled the work. And they loved it. Hundreds of hours of toil had paid off, and she was passed unconditionally. The committee members then signed the D-Fence sign!
My wife was thrilled, and a well-deserved sense of accomplishment began to set in. She told me about the feedback from her professors and I was amazed. “That’s your message!” I said after she retold some of the compliments she’d received. We joked that I couldn’t keep my PR-practitioner side under wraps even during such a momentous occasion.
So… I couldn’t resist. (Disclaimer: these quotes are as accurate as I remember. This is not a press release.)
1. From a tenured professor known for not giving compliments: “This is the best thesis I’ve read on any committee.” I believe he’s been a professor for eight years.
2. From the committee: “This is publishable, no changes.” This is kind of a big deal.
3. From a reader: “Halfway through reading, I forgot it was a student’s thesis, and I felt like I was reading a colleague’s work. I learned something from reading it, and I wanted to interact with the research.” Translation: better than advertised.
4. From the committee chair: “This is Ph.D.-level writing.” I’m almost tempted to shout “boo-yah,” but it feels somehow inappropriate.
Em, I’m so proud of you. I hope this didn’t embarrass you too much. You deserve every compliment.