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behold: Candidate Brochu

It took me two years to find an area of research, two months to turn it into a research topic, two weeks to write a proposal, two days to write a proposal talk, two hours to defend it, and two minutes to pass it. But now, I’m a PhD student no more: I’m officially a PhD candidate. With all the rights and privileges thereof. Which is to say: none, other than calling myself a PhD candidate. Which I plan to, often and repeatedly. Oh, and I can teach a course now if I want.

The proposal defence is one of several milestones on the road to doctoriality. It consists of presenting an outline of what you intend to do for your thesis and what you’ve done to date, and then a fairly gruelling defence session where you stand in front of a committee of professors who take turns interrogating you. Possibly for hours (mine went for about 90 minutes). It’s not exactly adversarial, but it’s not what you’d call “friendly”, either. Though for me it was ultimately just exhausting.

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