My thesis is written, my diagrams are prepared; I’ve got my results plotted into nice little pretty point-graphs of in the complex plane. I have made the revisions my supervisor requested, rewritten entire chapters for comprehensibility, and broken-down all of my derivations, step by step. I even wrote-out a lovely dedication earlier this week. For all intents and purposes, I should be done, submitted and ready to defend.
But of course, I’m not. Because as I was in the process of writing my thesis, what did I notice but that one of my mathematical derivations didn’t quite work-out the way that it should have? Suffice it say, I picked at it a bit and found that in fact I had been ignoring a critical detail which rendered the approximation that I had been using completely invalid.
Now…this was not, mercifully, my main result which came undone. Indeed, this result is completely tangential to the main thrust of the thesis, and is something which I just did, essentially on a lark, for fun.
My supervisor, however, is of the impression that if this result is not included, I don’t have enough “new material” to justify submitting my thesis. This being the case, if I want to graduate this year, I essentially need to resolve this issue within the next week or so, and then hammer-out a chapter on how I did it. Not finishing according to my schedule would constitute a serious blow to my pride.
In many ways though, it seems like being forced to register for an extra semester may constitute a blessing in disguise. As I have said, my thesis (other than this one irritating little issue) is basically complete. If I were registered for the next term, I would be paid a full graduate student salary for very minimal work that actually needs doing*. You may also recall that according to my five year plan, I was going to spend nine months working after finishing my Master’s so that I could start Economics (or whatever) in time for the new school year. This would spare me such a necessity.
However, one of the reasons that I am so anxious to finish this degree in the first place is that I am sick of skulking around. I hate having to get changed and pretend to be a man whenever I go to teach a lab or meet with my supervisor; I hate having to ‘neuter’ (read: masculinze) my gender expression whenever I’m out on campus in case any of these people see me. I want to be done with this bullshit, once and for all, and I don’t think I can keep it up for another semester.
Anyways, the way that I figure it is that I have to deal with either one of two competing necessities: either I find out how to solve this damn differential equation within the next week, or I come out to my supervisor and department administrators. There’s no other option.
*If you think this is bad, I should inform you that I have nominally shared my office for the past two and a half years with a woman who has actually been in maybe two dozen times out of all of this.