To all of the December graduates, congratulations on successfully completing your PhD.
For the upcoming May graduates 2012 is your time and date to finished. This might be the last Christmas that you have to spend writing your dissertation. Just imagine that this same time next year, you will be relaxed and really able to the holidays without a sense of guilt. Are you really ready for spring graduation. Graduating with a PhD is different from graduating with a bachelors or Master’s degree. Part of the pomp and circumstance requires that you have a mentor or advisor present to “hood you” during the ceremony. This means that someone from the faculty will be required to place the hood over your shoulders, turn your tassel, and congratulate you. To get someone, generally your advisor, to perform this part of the ceremony you need to keep abreast of the requirements and deadlines. I let my advisor know early enough that I wanted to participate in the graduation ceremony. He was able to check his schedule ahead of time to tell me that he was going to be out of town during graduation. I then went to another committee member to ask him if he would be willing to participate. He agreed but I knew that it was my responsibility to make it as easy as possible for him to help me out. I made him aware of the deadline for ordering his cap and gown. Because I appreciated how busy he was, I brought the form to him for us to fill it out together, brought a tape measure for him to measure his head for the cap, and returned the form to the university bookstore. What are you willing to do to graduate? Remember that the ceremony is not for you it’s for the family, the people who supported you during this long journey. They are proud and they want to celebrate even if you are too tired and exhausted to enjoy it yourself.
Beyond writing the last draft of your dissertation, to graduate in May there are a number of dates and deadlines you must remain cognizant of. There are deadlines for filing for graduation, a dissertation defense, dissertation announcement, making revisions, ordering a cap and gown, depositing your dissertation, sending the dissertation out for binding, filling out the Survey of Earned Doctorates, paying all of your outstanding debts, etc. Do you know what the deadlines for your university are for 2012? Do you have them posted on your calender or in a prominent place to jog your memory. Missing a critical deadline can have negative emotional as well as financial consequences. It is your responsibility to be aware of these deadlines not your advisor’s. Get the calendar out and start the new year off right by writing down these deadlines.