Thursday, April 30, 2009


ABD. Three letters. Just three letters. Three measly letters that mean *so* much.

Over a year and a half of readings for comps.
Four years of doctoral studies.
Six years of graduate work - including a Master's Thesis.
Ten years of undergraduate and graduate work.
Twenty-two and a half years of being a student.

And more prayer, tears, stress, and doubt than I ever thought possible.

But ABD now belongs after my name. I had my PhD oral exams today. Three hours with five professors in one small room. I had no idea what to expect, or how to prepare, and so... I didn't. Last night I made K go get ice cream with me after my advisor told me I wasn't allowed to study. :-) The only thing I did was skim over my written exams this morning once I got to work. And prayed a lot.

It was actually enjoyable. I had a few times where I honestly had no idea what to say, and floundered on a few questions, but overall it was fairly easy to answer their questions. One of the other profs in the department, Dr. M (whom I love; it's hard not to love her, honestly) had seen me before and after the orals, and said she was impressed with how calm I had been. (So not like me normally... I can only speculate that all the prayers I had coming my way were being answered.)

After the three hours, they signed everything, my advisor gave me a huge hug, and we went to lunch. And I got at least two more hugs. :-)

And, finally, I am ABD. It feels kind of good.


More Than Science said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! I've never seen ABD before but I'm guessing it's a PhD!!!!!!!!!!!
I know you've worked so hard for this from your days on xanga.

Rachel said...

ABD means, "All But Dissertation." It means that I have completed all of the requirements for my degree with the exception of the dissertation itself.

I've heard that in some countries, they grant a "Masters of Philosophy" at this same stage. But most US universities mark this point - the end of coursework, the passing of written/oral exams, and completion of all other earlier requirements (like language exams) - by granting the unofficial title, "ABD" and changing the nomenclature from "Doctoral Student" to "Doctoral Candidate."

So now I have to get my research done and write the book!

Thanks for your support! I hope things are going well for you, too!