So. Last week, this happened.


That, friends, is a finished dissertation. Printed, bound, mailed off to advisors so we can all prep for my defense, which is next week.

I’d like to have deep thoughts and beautiful words for you all about it right now, but I’ll just be honest: I spent all my words, I think, and I need to recharge. So. In the meantime, I present you with this.

My dissertation in lists

People I’ve been jealous of in the last few weeks, part two:

  • People who read novels without post-it notes at hand
  • The people playing croquet in the park by my office at 1:45 on a Friday afternoon
  • The barista at the Coffee Bean
  • People who have never heard the Giant theme music
  • People who cannot honestly answer facebook’s “What are you doing?” with Despair-eating an entire block of Boursin cheese while thinking-not-thinking about my dissertation.

Ten places I have written my dissertation:

  • a Starbucks in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego
  • every coffee shop within a 10 mile radius of my house
  • the Denny’s on Indian Hill
  • the Academic Computing Building at school. Over and over.
  • the airspace over the American Southwest
  • a tiny one-bedroom house with black and white checkered floors in Austin, Texas
  • the floor in a conference room at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas
  • my desk at work (um, hey, work!)
  • the Pitzer Writing Center, in between talking thesis students off ledges
  • beddesk. Always beddesk.

Four things that have instantly reduced me to tears:

  • Camille St. Saens’ The Swan
  • Ave Maria, played behind that yule log DVD
  • A greeting card with a graduation gown on the front
  • Pictures of other people’s completed dissertations

My dissertation, by the numbers:

  • Number of times I annotated the same copy of Catcher in the Rye (with a different color ink for each time): 4
  • Number of times Holden Caulfield made me giggle uncontrollably: 78
  • Number of times I said curse words at books for being dumb/badly written or researched/not saying what I wanted them to say: None, MOM. Geez.
  • Number of times I finished watching Rebel Without a Cause: 0
  • Number of pages I wrote about Rebel anyway: 3
  • Number of times I watched the creepy scene in Giant where Rock Hudson says he’s glad a baby didn’t die: 8
  • Number of times I forced other people to watch this scene with me: 3
  • Number of times I cleaned my bathroom in the first four months of 2013: 2
  • Number of times I sat in my car outside the computer lab telling myself I would go inside in just 5 more minutes: 13
  • Number of times I overdramatically complained to any human being within speaking/texting distance about blah blah blah whine gag: approximately 6 per page of dissertation
  • Number of #deathbydissertation tweets: 37
  • Number of instagram photos of books, beddesk, and other dissertationy things: 15
  • Number of decaf iced lattes with which I bribed myself to do work: probably 50 this year alone
  • Number of books checked out from the library at this moment: 118
  • Number of words in the complete manuscript: 74,781
  • Cost to print and bind four copies of the manuscript: $74.01 (so, almost a penny for every 10 words? Where are my math people?)
  • Number of ridiculous sentences about toast intentionally left in the dissertation, just to see who reads every word: 1
  • Number of pages written before February 2013: 50-ish
  • Number of pages written since February 2013: 200
  • Total number of pages: a secret number only the above-referenced math people will be able to figure out
  • Number of times that, in spite of the above, I felt that life was amazing and wonderful and I was the luckiest person in the whole world: at least 8

I promise to have more things to say to you later. So many more. I still have all those ideas I talked about before. But in the meantime, it’s Friday, so have a look at this picture of a panda researcher carrying a baby panda while wearing a panda suit, and then let me sing you out: