Thursday, February 05, 2009

DotT: Defense of the Thesis

Since moving to Banilad we've been (forever) unpacking box after boxes of our stuffs. Among my cluttered treasure chests I find my notes (photocopies) from college AND whaddaya know - my thesis notes too. Though I can't imagine what good it would do for me to still keep them. Looking over the still neatly packed papers I recall the day of our defense the actual thesis-making: trust me when I say it was hell on earth! I almost didn't graduate along with my batchmates.
Anyway, I don't really wanna relive the horror of such things as friendship-betrayal and stuffs. That's not why I'm blogging bout my thesis notes (that can wait in better, yet juicy gossip coloumn for whoever wants to hear it *bwahahaha*). These notes just made me remember my friends who are now in the same "dilemma". Now I'm not an expert but some things I can think of to help ease you up a bit on the day of the defense are:

1) KNOW YOUR BOOK - I guess this one is pretty obvious because this is what your whole thesis is about. Defense would basically be about telling the panel what your work and research is about, what's essentially written in your book. So if your book is confusing and you just typed anything in there just to make it a hefty read, then...

2) MAKE HANDY CUE CARDS - If you know the flow and content of your book like the back of your hand, you could very well do without them. But for that extra security you just might want something to hold on to. Oh and something about cue cards; from the term itself they're to help you remember cues in your report. Allow me these snaps:

DO make your cues in BULLET FORM - the cards are the outline of your report. Writing everything down with perfect paragraph indention defeats the purpose. You might as well just photocopy your book and paste them unto the cards if it'll make you feel better but will make you just as loss for words.

DO number your cards correctly, this will be good for when a fidgety, nervous-wreck you should, heaven forbid, drop and scatter everything on the floor before your prestiged panel.

3) PRACTICE - you may feel stupid infront of a mock panel but trust me, practice does make perfect (as a dancer I know!). Or at least this will help you gain confidence in speaking before a number of people and it will also help you cinch your flow and pace. Who knows, some of your friends might actually be able to point out a thing or two concerning your actual content (this actually happened to our group -Thanks to Sir Alvin we were able to work up a ready answer).

4)KISS - KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID - yes the straight to the point cliche has never been so useful than in a defense. The more precise quick and crisp your report the better and faster you get out of the panel's scrutiny. Don't dwell, lest they actually do see something wrong. You'll also sound confident, exact and sure. Sweet escape.

5) And when a question or more so a correction has been raised by the panel, thank them. And if you want to defend your point do so but don't get into a discussion where, as the panel points out something relevant you start to defend your thesis using a different view everytime - you will only look like you're going thru a multiple choice of answers hoping the next arguement is correct, especially if the arguements you're stating are not even relevant to each other. (a groupmate did that too until we all silently told her to shut up).

6) And lastly as corny as you all may think it is, PRAY. After going thru all your years in college your success at finishing might come down to this, wouldn't you want the Higher Up to nudge you in the right direction if it were truly yours to have?

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