How You Know You’ve Been in Grad School Too Long

As I was graduating one of my favorite professors took me aside and told me a story,

Realizing you’re finally done can take a while. When I was walking across the stage on my commencement day I remember shaking the hand of my doctoral advisor and only thinking one thing: I know she is going to ask me to redo the 15 pages of references in my dissertation.

She didn’t of course and it was ridiculous for me to think that, but anyway, that’s how immersed we can get.

I love that story.

It’s been almost a week since I graduated and I have definitely felt my mind opening up and relaxing quite a bit in the past few days.

But last night I had a dream and it reminded me that I may have a little ways more to go.

Polar Bear Diagrams

In the dream I’m sitting down with one of my campus advisors and she says, “We need to talk about your paper.” The yellow cover of Leading Happiness is sitting on her desk and she opens it up.

I am filled with dread and confusion. I thought I was done days ago.

Inside I see diagrams and photos I never put in the paper. On several pages there are drawings of polar bears sleeping, eating and doing other fun things that polar bears do. “I wanted to tell you that I loved the improvements to the paper,” she says, “they make it much easier and more fun to read!”

I agree and take the paper to look through it. It’s littered with nonsensical diagrams and in the back section there are a few pages with coupons for combos at McDonald’s.

I hand it back to her, “I think my paper has been hacked.” I say something along those lines, not sure if plagarism includes adding coupons and polar bear diagrams to someone else’s thesis.

I sigh and realize I’m going to have to follow up on this and figure out who has done me the favor of making my paper “easier and more fun to read.”

As I woke up this morning dread turned to relief.

Pending surprise polar bears, my paper is just fine.

What’s Next

Several people have asked me, “What’s next?”

That’s a great question.

I’ll have a detailed answer for you on Friday, but for now the answer is… sleep.

Obviously I still need a little bit more.