Friday, January 19, 2007

It Is Finished

This morning I successfully defended my dissertation, and I now hold a Ph.D. in Family and Child Ecology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Michigan State University.

Thank God THAT'S over.

This has been the most trying, exhausting, frustrating experience, but it now feels very fulfilling, and I'm sure it will feel even more so as I reclaim my life. I didn't accomplish this alone, though. Many people helped. I'll post my acknowledgements soon, but right now, I want to write about the defense experience.

I was extremely nervous. I have a tough committee, and they can be very picky and critical. They certainly were so today, but their criticism was nothing I can't handle. I didn't begin very well, though. I was 5 minutes late because I had problems printing and copying my handouts. I didn't mean to wait until the morning of the defense to print it, but that's what happened. The copiers in the Union were acting up, as I should have guessed they would. I walked in, began to apologize, and then set up my presentation. I started going through the research questions and my results to warm us all up. They didn't need much warming, however, as the questions quickly began to flow. They primarily asked questions about my conclusions and implications, wanting more information or explanation of statements. They wanted me to discuss the recruitment methods that were miserable failures, in addition to those that worked. They told me about ways to highlight the study's significant and extrapolate meaning from role of the study in the pantheon of fathering research and therapy research. All in all, their comments and criticisms were very helpful and appropriate, but I kept waiting for the floor to fall out from under me. I just knew that any minute one of them would bring up the dealbreaker, the issue that would prevent me from returning to Texas with a Ph.D. in hand.

That issue never came up. After our discussion, I was sent out of the room for them to deliberate. After 5 minutes or so (what I thought to be a remarkably short amount of time), Dr. Carolan came out and said, "We're ready for you, Dr. Martin." At that moment, I was informed that they had passed me and granted my degree. Needless to say, I was elated. I then sat down with Dr. Carolan and went over the various revisions that I am to do. Basically, I have to complete the revisions this weekend (I can probably finish it all tomorrow), call Dr. Carolan and talk her through them, and turn the completed dissertation into the MSU Graduate School. All of the forms are signed; they simply need to be turned in on Monday.

When they are all turned in, I will officially be done, but I have the degree now. I have relaxed and run errands today. Tomorrow, I finish the work, but as far as I'm concerned, it is finished.


Nellie said...

Cpongratulations!!! I know you are feeling much "lighter" after all you went through.

I'll look forward to seeing you soon so I can officially call you Dr. Martin. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and Amen! All of your mom's college friends have been praying for you as you have been working on your dissertation. This is a great accomplishment Dr. Martin. I know your folks are really proud of you.

Miami Chick

Mary Lou said...

Oh, wouldn't "Big Mama" and "Papa" be proud of you! We are so very proud of you too, Jason. This is a big time in your life. You will finally be finished with being a student in school. Aren't you happy about that? I always knew that you were going to be a Dr. After all Jason means "healer".
Congratulations, Son!