Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why is this such a big deal?

Because a dissertation is a big deal!

"In some United States doctoral programs, the term 'dissertation' can refer to the major part of the student's total time spent (along with two or three years of classes), and may take years of full-time work to complete."

Instead Mark has done it in one year while holding a full-time job, fathering (sort of) a family of seven, and acting as the ward clerk. Plus, he's a man who loves to choose the long, careful, meticulously documented path over the short one.

Here's the timeline:

Monday, November 3
Submit "complete, defense-ready draft" to his "format advisor" at the university.

November 19
Fly to Arizona (where he's technically still been a student this whole time).

November 21, 3-5:00 pm
Defend his dissertation before a committee of 3 history PhDs. Whether he passes or fails is completely at their discretion. He'll pass, of course. The question is how many revisions they request. Because it's not done until they sign off.

November 26
The kids and I arrive in Arizona to enjoy Thanksgiving with Mark and his sister's family. If we're lucky, he'll have finished all revisions, red tape cutting, and hoop jumping and be able to drive home with us on Sunday. But if not, he stays behind.

December 6
Mark's return flight home. Unless we are very unlucky, by this date, at the latest, IT WILL ALL BE OVER! No more! No more hoops, no more revisions, no more academic requirements AT ALL! EVER!

All year long, I've let this project be Mark's project. I haven't sweated over the details or monitored his progress. But now I'm in charge of proofreading 400 pages of history with hundreds--maybe more than a thousand--footnotes. Normally an editor would get weeks for this type of project. Me, I'm at the kitchen table trying to plow through a chapter a day. Now his pain is my pain.


  1. I hope you know I wasn't trying to minimize Mark's work with that question. I was questioning the process - not Mark.

    This is a big accomplishment. A big deal. And a big triumph. Congrats to all involved!

  2. Wow. Now I get why people say "WE'RE in grad school". And also, remember why I stopped at a Masters.

  3. I feel for you. I seriously feel for you. I'm at this moment taking a break from editing a Mormon fiction book. So much easier than what you're going through.

  4. Oh I know Nanc--I just need to bludgeon everyone with the MAGNITUDE so they'll feel for me! :)

  5. good luck with the proof reading

  6. Oh so close to finishing! I hope all goes well with the finishing touches!

  7. Good Luck to all of you with all that's left. I'm sure it feels good to know that you are in the home stretch. It's great that you have family tha's been able to help you when you need it most.

  8. Oh, Angela. You're so close. We'll be praying for both of you. Wish I could email you a casserole.