I’m went to a colleague’s thesis defense this week. She spent 8 years on this project. It was beautiful. She managed to condense 450 pages of text into a 20-minute presentation, complete with beautiful visual support, posters on the wall, and an excellent presentation style. It was all perfectly coherent and clear. The round of questions at the end was also beautiful, because her committee asked questions not meant to test her knowledge or challenge her work, but questions about future research projects, how she plans to disseminate her results, and other creative and respectful questions. At the very end she read out the acknowledgement section and made us all cry.
Officially, my committee has one more day to read and evaluate my thesis. I have a draft of my defense powerpoint, even though I don’t have a defense date, or any confirmation that the committee will accept that my thesis is ready to defend. I am inspired, a bit intimidated, but also excited for my turn!