Archives for posts with tag: thesis

Or more appropriately:

I could have talked all day, I could have presented (my work) all day, and still have begged for more,

I feel like I did spread my wings, and did a marvelous thing I’ve never done before,

Of course I know what made it so exciting, why all at once my heart took flight,

And I do know, when they nodded and smiled and signed the form, I could have talked, talked, talked all day!

In other words, I had my thesis examination yesterday, and got very excited during my presentation (my hands almost took flight several times, I guess). And after the examination, my professor announced rather dramatically to the audience waiting outside the room: “Doctor!”

And yes, last night my head was too light for me to sleep. Yet I forced myself to try to sleep, for Ascot the revision was waiting.


On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, submitted his 95 theses to his bishop. This eventually led to the Protestant Reformation. The word ‘thesis’ comes from a Greek word which means ‘position’.  For someone to say that he has a thesis means that he has a clear and firm position regarding a certain matter. Luther had such positions (he had not one, but 95 theses!) and defended them fiercely. The Pope excommunicated him, the Emperor issued a decree which put him under death sentence. Still, he did not move from his position.

Two days ago, I, a PhD student, submitted my thesis to the Registrar’s Office.  Now that I remember what thesis means, I am a bit overwhelmed. Why should the academic world adopt the word ‘thesis’? Perhaps we should find a humbler terminology. While I do have some positions that I sincerely argue for in my thesis, I am obviously not willing to die defending them. I would not insist that spatial variability must be considered in analysis of rainfall-induced landslides under the pain of death! Nor would I risk excommunication for my conviction that uncertainty is important.

Ah well, perhaps I was just thinking too much about my thesis.

These days I began to think and feel that in some ways, a thesis to a PhD student is not totally different from a child to a mother. Both are begotten through hard labour, and both make those who begot them keep thinking about them days and nights.

When you submit your thesis for examination, perhaps it feels like sending your baby for her first day of school. You sincerely hope that she will do well, that her teacher will be kind to her, yet you continuously worry that you have not prepared her enough for school.

When you receive your examiners’ review, some comments (hopefully there will be some!) might make you smile proudly as a mother to people who pointed out how cute her baby is. Some other comments (unfortunately there will be some!) might make you react as a mother hen whose chickens are threatened.