Saturday, January 21, 2012


Give me a D-D-you got your D-you got your D
Give me an O-O-you got your O-you got your O

On December 13, 2011, I received my O (toward DOCTOR).  As a reminder, each letter represents a significant accomplishment (i.e. requirement or hurdle) in this PhD process.

D-publishable paper prospectus defense (check! April 8, 2011)
O-publishable paper defense (check! December 13, 2011)
C-prelims (May 2011)
T-oral defense
O-dissertation prospectus defense
R-dissertation defense

So let me give you a little run down of what this defense looks (or is suppose to look) like.

After having done the prospectus defense, your committee gives you permission to actually do your research.  Then, when you've finished the research and written it up, you go back to your committee to defend your findings.  Normally, when you enter the room, the committee asks you to leave to discuss their initial thoughts.  You then return and defend your findings, and then leave again so that the committee can again discuss...and determine if you 'pass' (e.g. your study is solid enough to pass the requirement).  They then invite you back in and (hopefully) say, congrats, you passed.  Mine, however, went a little differently.  After we all got in the room, they just asked that I start (no leaving the room).  Then after I was finished and we had a discussion about my paper and ways to improve it (mainly for publication purposes), Dr. Cooper (my advisor) said to my committee, 'so are you all okay with Shannon and I continuing to work on this'.  They said yes, and then it was over.  No leaving the room, no official congrats...I was confused.  You see, there are three levels of responses you can get...pass, pass with revisions, and fail.  I was certain I had not failed, but not certain I had passed without revisions.  Obviously, I knew I needed some revisions for publication purposes...but for the program requirement, I wasn't sure.  Needless to say, when I saw Dr. Cooper later, I asked her about my confusion.  She affirmed for me that I had indeed passed!

Woohoo, I got my O!

This publishable paper process has been a learning experience.  Hopefully, I will take many of those lessons learned into the dissertation process.  So what's next?!  Prelims will happen in May, and I am beginning my first few chapters of my dissertation.


The weekend before Thanksgiving I went to the Association for the Study of Higher Education.  It was the first time I had gone to this conference and it was a-maz-ing.  I LOVED it.  I walked away with lots of things to think about, things to read, and a slew of ideas for research topics.  Yes, it's a conference for nerds.  :)

The conference was out in North Carolina and since Kristin was going to the conference, it only made sense for her to drive back from the conference with me and stay for Thanksgiving.  We had a good time!  A few days were spent writing, reading, and doing other homeworky sorts of things (since we are both in PhD programs).  But we also took a trip to Atlanta, rummaged around Athens, and had Thanksgiving dinner with friends here.  What a good time with a great are some highlights from Kristin's visit!
 I usually set up my Christmas tree fairly early so as to enjoy it before I leave for break.  This year it didn't go up until Thanksgiving (like normal people).
 On our trip to ATL we stopped at Olympic park.
 And checked out the gigantic Christmas tree.
 And who doesn't love CNN? (rhetorical question)
Kristin's cousin lived out in ATL, so we visited with her; she's a hoot and took us to a wonderful place for dinner (it was yummy!) AND their menu was on a wine bag.  So trendy.
 While in ATL, we also stopped at the botanical gardens light show. What a fun light display!
 We look ghostly.
The tree didn't hug me back. :(
 Beautiful lights!
 Random frog
 The arch (not arches, just the arch)
I've been wanting to make an advent calendar for some time, so after searching pinterest for ideas, we discovered this fun little one with cookie sheets and magnets.  We were up late (til 3am) the night before Kristin flew out make these little gems.  I was a fun project, fun memories, and I enjoyed having it this holiday season!

Here we are with my table in the middle of my living room! I love crafts!
Here's the final product!
  And to keep with tradition, we got a picture with a bulldawg.  (yes, I look tired, I was, it was early in the morning before Kristin's flight back to Colorado...and we were up late making advent calendars). 


My sister has been hounding me for the ... oh since before Christmas to update my blog.  She didn't like that I changed the theme of my blog to look Christmasy, with no posts about Christmas.  Thus, I promised her that I would post some updates this weekend.

And that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Because...hey, there's a wonderful thunderstorm outside, a Baylor basketball game (soon) on inside, and...because I promised her I would.