Saturday, April 28, 2007

High points

High points of my big day

The Ph.D defense consists of a ~ 1 hour talk which is public and open to all, followed by a private exam which consists only of 5 committee members and the student.

My best friend from high school was here for my defense! That meant a lot to me. She has little to do with molecular biology or gels or anything. Throughout my talk, every time I looked in her direction, I found her nodding emphatically to whatever I was saying. It was very reassuring. After the talk, she came up to me and said "I didn't understand a thing, but great job!" :D

I finally got to wear my 3-piece suit! My dad bought me this suit when he came to the U.S. as per my sister's specifications that I had to have one. I have owned this for 6 years now and never had an opportunity to wear it. Academic life gives you few opportunities to dress up- and the skirt was not the best idea for my post-doc interviews in biting cold. I am so happy I could finally wear it, and it looked great! :-) (yeah, you've to take my word for it, no pics)

The seminar room I gave my talk in was house full! About 40-odd people showed up. It was very flattering and the show of support made me feel really good.

My advisor gave me a glowing and affectionate introduction. My friend D video-taped my talk, so I have it on tape too, so I can share it with my parents.

The talk went off really well. Both my advisor and I got several huge compliments at the end of it, from students and professors alike, and many more emails later praising my talk. My advisor's words "You blew them away, you have set the bar really high for all future defenses". That's high praise, coming from her!

My advisor has been beaming like a proud mother whose first child took her first step. It is so nice to watch her like that. She was giving me a ride home at the end of the day, and got so emotional about how I had helped her set up lab and how I was now leaving.. aww. It is such a different side of her that I am seeing now.

I have always gotten emotional, and shed tears while at the defenses of my friends, when they came to the acknowledgments slide. When I came to the end of my talk, and pulled up my personal acknowledgments slide with photos of my parents, sis, b-i-l and niece, and the names of all the wonderful people who've been with me through this trip, I DID NOT cry! :-) I was so scared that I would cry, I was sobbing for 20 mins while I made that slide at home. During my talk, I did the whole voice cracking and gulping and pausing to drink water bit, but managed to hold back any tears. My best friend, sitting in the audience, apparently made up for it (my advisor told me later). :-)

My advisor hosted a party for me the next day, to which also several people showed up, including my H.O.D who made the trek from another building. My committee was treating me like an equal and it was an awesome feeling.

One of my committee members during my post-defense exam "I was really annoyed while reading your thesis. It is the first time I had to work so hard to find anything wrong". :D

Oh, but they all did find mistakes galore, and I have less than a day to fix them and turn them in, so I better get back to work. :-)


Neihal said...

Oh daktar we are all so proud of you :D
phinis the whole thing and we want the phul ishtory here. thoda thoda likhane se kaam nahi chalega. And seriously no pics?? :P

qsg said...

Neihal ki bachchi - beat me to it!

I am so darn proud of you Daaktar Lajjo.... like Sash said - saare gaaon mein ladoo baaton - let everyone gain weight - muahahahahahaha

Way to go... I am feeling so good! :)

Neihal said...

yeah Bond I beat ya :P :P:P

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

I was really considering putting up a pic- but i'm too paranoid about being "outed". so i decided against. :p

haan madam, full ishtory bhi aayega, dheere dheere.

heheeeheh make everyone fat. awesome idea! i like :)

Neihal said...

isko email id kehte hai ;)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

@ neihal
LOL! taking advantage of my good mood. :D

Neihal said...

Thankeeeeee daktarni sahiba :P

Wanderer said...

I am about to start on my journey, and your post is delightful and encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and I send my best wishes for your success and happiness in the future!

Sayesha said...

Thanks for the detailed description, was waiting for it. I LOVE EEEEEEEEEEEEET! Love every moment of eeeeeeeeeeeet! I just wish I were there to share this awesome awesome moment! :)

//I am so happy I could finally wear it, and it looked great! :-)(yeah, you've to take my word for it, no pics)

You looked great, you did. I can say that with authority! ;)

Oh maannnnnnnnnnnn this is just so awesome awesome! I'm so happy for you I feel like I got a PhD myself (not that I wanted one. Ever.)!! :D

The Tobacconist said...

General goodwill from Champaign:

Good luck with post PhD life and do share gyaan with us mortals still stuck in the cycle. :)

Congrats again.

greensatya said...

Hey, it made me feel so happy to read this post. Yeah, we are proud of you !! good job !

I hope you included us bloggers in the credit slide :)

Good Luck for future !!

Rebellion said...

It was really awesome to read all of this. Loved every bit of it. Daaktarni sahiba, we all are really proud of you. Its great to see all the hard work finally paid off :)

Would love to read the whole of it, w/o editing and also wanna see the vdeo!!! :)

Very happy for you sweets. Hope you're out of the hangover :P

Tachyoson said...

good to hear a detailed dissertation of your Doctoral Thesis - i have always wondered how it is ... and thanks for answering !

Shek said...

My RISPAAACT will be much higher if I get to see that video!

Sakshi said...

I want to see the pics too!!
And the vid :P
So proud of you. Just one day to turn it in?? I thought you have 60 days.. damn, that means I cant go with my plan of staying drink for a week ..ugh!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hi wanderer!
I'm glad this post is useful to beginners like you, thanks for your wishes.

:-)) aww babe! it amazes me how much happiness we can share with someone we've never met. :-) thanks

hey Tobacconist,
thanks. I will put up some "gyaan" posts in due course, stay tuned. :p one week back, I was another mortal, stuck in the cycle and bitching to my heart's content. it really does come to an end, i promise you. :)

thanks man! :) well- i strongly considered including the blog & its readers- but again my paranoia of being found out held me back. :( sorry. that is why i wrote you all that post below- i have to keep this whole "Affair" under wraps. ;)

& welcome back again!

abbe yaar! i was sober when you called me! yeh kya hangover laga rakha hai! :p
thanks dear. it's nice to share this with all of you.

you're welcome. the talk-exam system are not the same everywhere, i must add, different universities, have slight modifications..

dude. show _some_ rispaact! and take my word for it. :p

i should've guessed you would all start harassing me for the video. my bad.(sigh)
and the one day thing is probably different for different univs. the deadline here is 30th april to turn in final dissertation for may gradn. and i chose to defend 4 days before that, so it's my doing, really. :p

sd said...

Wonderful. I hope you do realise that after 4 days you will run out of excuses for not posting "very frequently":) Congrats again!

bhakit said...

Please accept my congratulations and wish you all the very best for future.

A fellow graduate student,

Twilight Fairy said...


Havent we met earlier at Satya's blog?

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

Oh man! yeh to maine socha bhi nahin. :o. thanks again. :-)

hi bhakit!
thanks very much. the blogworld is extending my celebration and it feels great! best of luck to you too!

hi twilight fairy!
thanks. :-) and yes, i have bumped into you @ satya's

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Clap clap .... well done, ma'am! Have a great time ahead!

Ashutosh said...

Many congratulations! Always an achievement, and a reward for perverance above all.

Sunil said...

congratulations and good luck to you on what ever you do next.

heh.....i took out my 5 year old jacket too for my defense, for the first time in those years, only to find that it didn't fit me any more, so I had to go without it :-)

उन्मुक्त said...

बधाई - Congratulations

Shripriya said...

Aww... what a great post! Made me tear up just reading it. So glad you are done - now you can blog and IM and drink and party and all those other things you'd been denying yourself!

SO, SO, SO happy for you!

Good luck with all the next steps!

Chimera said...

A big Congrats, had I known that the advisors were so encouraging I would've willingly gone through the rigour of it. But not in microbiology me thinks :)

sunshine said...

Congratulations !!! Though I do not know much about you, I certainly feel very proud of you.

Sujatha said...

Congratulations... First time here and looks like i've come on a very memorable day...

Anonymous said...

Louuu u... and why was I not invited for the defense????? I demand to know!!!

shub said...

woohooo!! congrats girl! awesome post! ( I'm away for a bit and you finished your defense! Damn! why didn't I go away earlier?! ) I'm extraaa proud of you for holding back those darn tears, i know how tough it can be :D tiiiight hug! :D Prouuud of you! And wah, glowing compliments too! :) AWESOME!

M (tread softly upon) said...

CONGRATS! Dr TGFI. And how wonderful does that feel! This is such an awesome felling and you deserve all the happiness that you are feeling right now. Enjoy it. And this post just brought back memories of my thesis defense. Thanks for the post!
and GL with whereever you are going next :)

Tejal said...

heyyy..came here thru Sayeshaz.... Congrats! amazin to hear such a success story ya! :D
u're an inspiration girl!!

Revealed said...

Awwwwww. Congratulationssssssssssssssssssss.

Sakshi said...

@TGFI - Still waiting for the vid on you tube :P

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

:) thank-you

hi ashutosh!
many thanks :-)

thanks. and that's funny that your defense made you bring out your jacket too- and thanks for telling me that- i am even more happy now that mine fit after these extra pounds. :p
(am sure you just grew taller or something) ;)

उन्मुक्त ,
dhanyavaad! :-)

heyyy shripriya!
gee girl. thanks! thanks much for sharing my joy. yes i can finally live my life!

hi chimera,
advisors can surprise you, y'know. four years ago, i had very different things to say about my advisor. :p, and i also got my undergrad in micro. :)
thanks for stopping by.

thanks girl! :)

indeed a memorable day it is. thanks for dropping in.

abbe yaar- tere liye thoda mushkil hota woh sab. :p (hugs)

(hugs) and thanks. :-) i am beginning to grin all over again.

m (t.s.o),
thank-you, thank-you. :-D. it feels awesome! it feels so light and euphoric. i am totally enjoying this state. am glad the post refreshed your memories- i don't think i'd have done so much self-dabba anywhere in real life- it's much easier to do it on a blog- and i can always go back to read it.. :p

and GL with whereever you are going next :)
thanks :-)

hi tejal!
thanks! happy to inspire! :)

thanksssssssssssssssssssssss :)

abbe koi video shideo nai lagne waala. u tube par! :-0
will put rant soon, though. abhi shoulder mein pain hai. ;)

bilbo said...

Got here from desi pundit.
Congrats on getting that PhD. Am in the grad program and while I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I am just hoping it ain't an incoming train.

Take care and , once again , Congrats

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hey bilbo!
thanks. from what i've been told, there is some time to enjoy the light in all it's glory before the incoming train hits you! so i hope you get there soon too. :)

Mosilager said...

Wanted to offer my congratulations to you Dr. TGFI. Sorry saw the post very late.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hey Mosilager!
you're right in time- i just turned in the corrected thesis yesterday- now i am done done done!! :)
thanks :-)

Annitya said...


The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hi annitya,
thank-you! :-) and best of luck to you too. :)