As of 330pm yesterday, I am now officially ABD. ABD stands for “All But Dissertation,” which is super cool academic jargon for a Ph.D. student who has completed all of the requirements for a doctoral degree other than writing and defending a dissertation. This means that the student has completed all coursework, requisite qualifying and/or comprehensive exams, and successfully defended his/her dissertation prospectus, which describes how one’s dissertation is expected to proceed.
This is exciting news, though I should (in some sense of that word) have been to this point about a year ago. The semi-official plan is that Ph.D. students will defend their prospectus by the end of their third year, which would have been May 2011 for me. I started working on my dissertation prospectus last spring, and my first official draft was submitted in July 2011. It would be another eight months before I submitted and defended a final version of my prospectus. Don’t let that fool you, though. I worked on the prospectus very little during that time. Given how minor the revisions were between the first and final drafts of my prospectus, I should have been able to defend my prospectus by late August or early September 2011. In theory, anyway. In reality, I started teaching my own courses and … woosh! … eight months went by like that. Teaching a class you’ve never taught before is, as one of my professors put it, “a time vacuum.” It’s like a 24 hour, seven-day-a-week job to prepare a college course from scratch, and you don’t really have time to prepare for it until you start teaching it. It’s rather absurd, really, and not wholly unlike speeding down a highway that you’re also in the process of constructing (all by your dang self). Things are going to get incredibly busy again, in part because of a yet another teaching gig this summer (see here), but defending my prospectus takes at least some weight off of my shoulders. It’s nice.