Dubya’s Doctoral Dissertation Defense Domination: Join Me in Glory!
There is no more brutal field than Academia. The University is the only place in America where citizens can be legally treated like indentured servants for 4 or more years of their lives. When you enter graduate school, you essentially sign on to be an advisor’s lackey for what could be an entire decade of your life. The hours are grueling. The theoretical classes are beyond you. The compensation is typically abysmal. Graduate school will destroy your social life and ruin your relationships. Don’t believe me? Academic studies have revealed that graduate students are at extreme risk for depression and more than half have contemplated suicide.
If, for some reason, you’re a sadomasochist, you can sign on for a PhD. After completing twice the workload that Master’s students are tasked with finishing, your slave-driving advisor determines whether you are ready to prostrate yourself before your committee and take a Qualifying Exam. Although the form of this exam varies between disciplines, it typically involves completing some sort of insurmountable test of all the knowledge you have acquired during your entire college career. I was asked to write three major essays in a week’s time while finishing final grades for a class I was instructing, and I consider the 45 pages I wrote in a handful of days getting off easy. Particularly cruel advisors may even ask you to orally defend the probably wrong answers on your examination before your exacting committee, exposing every flaw in your thoughts and every sin you’ve ever committed in the process. If serendipity smiles upon you, you may be granted permission to complete your dissertation, a monolithic document composed entirely of brand new research in your field. Apparently the old saying of “Nihil novi sub sole” doesn’t count when it comes to your dissertation, and God help you if someone beats you to the draw. If you somehow survive the countless hours of writing and sleepless nights, you are granted the privilege of orally defending your dissertation. The entirety of your life has led up to this single moment, so you had better not blow it. One false step, and it’s back to graduate hell with you.
My brothers, by the time you read this, I will be hip deep in my dissertation defense. I have spent an inordinate amount of time preparing for this culmination of 8.5 years of hard work, so I believe I’m ready. I’ve heard it said, though, that the best defense is a good offense, so if things go south, I’ve prepared a playlist for destruction and domination. Should the moment arise, I shall not hesitate to flip on this playlist and slay with steel. My sword-hand is mighty from cutting through red tape. It is impossible to know if and when my defense will finish, but if I am worthy, I will resurface on these boards later as Dr. W. and begin the next phase of my academic career: the war for tenure. Research for the Research God. Publications for the Publication Throne. Let Knowledge Reign.
Fellow warriors, I have written this to rally the troops for my final battle. You have all supported me this past year or so with dank memes, awful inside jokes, and increasingly lo-fi metal. For that, I thank you. The Toilet has become an important part of my life, and I thank Father Joe and Masterlord Steeldragon for allowing me to share this day with you. Below, I have presented a playlist of ignorant mosh tunes and girth-enlarging pit anthems. Bring me your most ignorant jams and go slay whatever dragons you face. Together, we, the legion of the Toilet ov Hell, shall win through. Go forth, my brothers, and conquer. Know that even if I am vanquished today, I will always be with you in spirit. Semper fudge. Toilet forever.
(*Disclaimer: I have actually loved graduate school, but the risk of mental health issues for grad and professional students is real. If you are currently in grad school and need a sympathetic ear, please hit me up.)