Monday, December 03, 2012

I Am a Doctor and You Are (Probably) Not

The suckers I was able to con into giving me a degree
According to the 2010 census, a mere 10.6% of the adult population over the age of 25 has a graduate or professional degree. Figuring out the percentage of those that have a doctorate involves too much math for right now, but suffice it to say, when you remove the master's degrees and whatnot from that number, the percentage of those with a doctorate has to be in the mid-to-low single digits. Point being, it's not something that many people do, relatively speaking, but now I have done it.

As Dad would say, that and a buck will get you a cup of coffee.

This is also the reason for the continued radio silence on the ol' blog, as it turns out they don't just hand these degrees out, but instead expect you to do a fair amount of actual work. And a shitload of pointless paperwork, but that's a post for another day. But now that it's all done, it feels more anticlimactic than anything. After all, nothing has really changed; I still have the same work to do, the same class to teach, the same syllabi to prep for spring, the same research to keep up with, etc. All that really changes is that I get to call myself "Doctor" now (though don't get me wrong, that's pretty fucking awesome and the novelty of it has definitely not worn off yet).

That being said, it is a relief. Maybe I'll be a bit more jazzed about the whole thing once I don't feel so damn exhausted. As you can see in the pic there, my distance-running advisor gifted me his finisher's medal from the 2012 TC marathon (as well as the sweet game-worn Twinkies hat also in the pic). As Chris explained, all dissertations are like marathons, but it may have been especially the case with a project like mine, which definitely took a little bit more legwork than the average study.

I feel like the marathon analogy is a pretty apt summation of the dissertation process, and getting the medal was easily the best part of the defense. I feel like every doctoral defense should end with a medal; it feels way more official (I may or may not have continued wearing the medal long into the night of drinking that followed). Sure, I may personally not be able to run more than a mile or so, but I sure felt like I earned it.

So anyway, there's really no point to this post beyond bragging about having finally accomplished some sort of goal in my life and explaining why I haven't been blogging.

But if there's any point, it's that, while again maybe this will all feel a bit more momentous when I've caught up on my sleep and don't have piles of tests to grade, I will say it is cool to have finished if for no other reason than having achieved something relatively rare-ish. Even if my life completely crashes and burns from here on out and I never accomplish anything ever again, at least I can say I'm a doctor.

It'll still take a buck or so to get that cup of coffee, though.


John Wozniak said...

Good news! Once you are a senior citizen, the coffee is only 50 cents.

Your thesis research was a project of epic proportions and the results certainly contributed to the growth of knowledge in sociology. Well done!


B-Derps said...

You rule! It must feel amazing.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! A lot of people say sociology is just a stupid field with no real career prospects, but you've proved them wrong by finding a job in the field.