In the Friday morning of December 14th, 2007, I woke up around 6AM and felt a bit anxious about the upcoming PhD oral dissertation defense at noon.
Well, nothing could be done much at the moment. I had submitted my 310-page dissertation to all of my committee members a month ago and I had been studying and preparing myself for the exam for a few weeks....
I read, read and read my own dissertation several times and imagined what I would ask if I was a graduate committee members. I wrote those questions down and searched for answers in available textbooks, friends, and wikipedia. :)
After that I prepared my powerpoint file.... It had 153 slides... sound crazy,eh? Only 30 of those were for a 30-minute seminar before the questioning session. And, those 123 slides were all for that session which was around two and a half hours long.
All five members took their turn to ask questions. Each of them got around 30 minutes to make my life a bit more complicated. Anyway, during that period, I guess I handled almost all of those questions pretty well.... The preparation paid off, the committee looked satisfied with my verbal responses towards those questions.
There were some of the questions that I had no ideas how to answer.... One of my friends always told me that, "If you don't know, just tell them honestly. They don't expect you to know everything."
So I did....
The last committee member who asked me questions was my academic advisor. The last question was, "If you ought to do this again, how were you going to do it?"
Well, this question surprised me a bit though---almost hit me off guard. Since I had been doing that research for more than 6 years, I wasn't quite sure that there should be another way to do it! Anyway, I improvised.... :)
After I finished answering the question, my advisor gave me a smile and asked me to leave the room for a moment to give the committee to talk things over--- whether or not they were going to fail or pass me.
So I left the room. Around ten minutes later, Dr. B., one of my graduate committee members, came out with a grin with opened arms.... I knew that it was a pass, so I walked to him and gave him a hug....
He said, "Good job, A.T. You always had great ideas". Then I followed him into the room, all of the committee members took turn and gave me a congratulating handshake....
I got a great feeling.... It's not a happiness, I knew how it feels having happiness... But this sense might be close to a sense of relieve... Finally, all commitments involving 6 years of my life and my family members' were (partially) lifted.
After the exam, I brought my wife, my kids, Jan and Larry (my son's tennis coach and his wife) to a dinner at Red Lobster.... It's not a celebrating dinner per se, I knew it.... It's just because I was too exhausted to cook and think about any other thing... I just would like to relax, sit back, have a good time and talk with people I felt very comfortable.
We went back home around 10:30PM, I fell asleep like a rock.... and woke up in the following morning... And, started to pack, pack and pack....
My wife and I spent 3 more days to pack all of our belongings into 75 boxes. On Wednesday morning, we asked our Thai friends to come over to help us loading those boxes into a truck we rented from U-Haul.
Then my wife and I drove that big truck off Fort Collins around 11AM to a shipping company in Denver. We dropped those boxes off the truck on wooden palettes and wrapped them with plastic sheet.
Expectedly, those boxes would be shipped to our street address in Thailand in the next 3-4 weeks.
In the following day, I started to revise my dissertation according to the graduate committee members' suggestions and made 8 copies of the revised version....
I still had my last assignment to finish though.... I had one accepted manuscript which needed to be revised, three more manuscripts being submitted, and one math model that my advisor would like me to finish it before we leave the US.
I still had something to do and made myself busy for a while though. :)
Anyway, the first chapter of our new beginning was now officially written and the ensuing chapter would be followed soon. :)
================================= Note: My life has been intertwined with works and many others. New responsibility has emerged, resulting less and less time for my ordinary life. Although, a love to write is still intact... But having less time is related to having less imagination.... Therefore, I could not come up with new writings for quite some times.
It might be a good time for me to leave this forum for moment.... Please take it as Mr. A.T. is having a sabbactatical leave or something like that....
As noted above, my love to write is still the same... and will not be changed. Sometimes somehow, I hope I could come back and give some thoughts in this blog once more.
Cheers, Mr. A.T. June 6th, 2008
My pen-name in Pantip is amatuer translator. Actually, I'm a lousy translator with lame translation. My pen-name is somewhat misleading, I have no background in linguistics what-so-ever. Anyway I love to read, write and communicate with people...
Reading is my most favorite hobby. I read everything from shopping bags to articles in theoretical physics. I do research and teaching for my living. So, reading, writing, thinking and doing research works are my everyday routine.
I would like to define myself as a person who is accepting new ideas and adopting those into my way of life.
I believe in power of knowledge/education. I think every society can be a better society with knowledge. Ignorance can be dispelled by it. Humanity can live sustainably and harmoniously with each other along with its biosphere with understandings in the nature surrounding it.
Apart from my philosophical thoughts reflecting who I am, I can tell you something I like or love in particular;
I love dogs.... Particularly, labradore retrievers.... One day, I would like to spend my time and life with them as a big part of my family.
Zhuge Liang is my hero. With his wisdom and faithfulness, he led a tiny army to a mighty and formidable kingdom. He left his humble residence with a hope to come back. But, sadly, he had never returned and died far far away from home in a horse carriage in a battle field. If I could choose where I would, I would say where-ever my lovely wife was nearby.
I value happiness and my family as my first priority. My profession and my philosophy come in the second. Pursuit in wealth has never been in my desire.
I'm glad to be your friend, and look forward to seeing you around krub.