Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{July 27, 2006}   Defences

I’ve been to 2 Ph.D. defences in the past 3 days. So congrats go to Frances, Lee & Candice on successfully defending their theses this week (I missed Frances’s, but saw the other two). My observations from these defences:

  • when examiners show up in Hawaiian shirts, things are going to go well
  • whatever you think the examiners are going to ask you about (and thus, have agonized over preparing for), they won’t
  • examiners like to ask hard questions and you are supposed to give good answers to these

None of these observations instill me with much confidence.

Courtney-O says:

I do not envy you.

But I do respect your obvious intelligence – therefore I know you will do well.

Jorge says:

I thought you already defended?
Am I on some other planet?

Sarah says:


Watch this space for updates.

Also — word about the “examiners do not ask the hard questions that you have prepared for”. Mind reading would have been handy.

Stacia says:

You get to watch other people’s defences? I seems a bit cruel. I’m having a heck of a time just getting my proposal defence scheduled. And I never know the answers to hard questions. I hate academia.

Beth says:

Yup, all Ph.D. defences are public, so anyone who wants to can show up. And the audience can even ask questions if they want, although it’s rare ‘cuz most people know the candidate would kick their ass if they ask a tough question. I hate academia too.

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