Monday, July 24, 2006

Murphy’s Law reigns

Thursday I was feeling on top of the world. I had finished my thesis revisions and emailed them to my thesis chair before he got back in town Wednesday night. I had a good workout at the gym that morning and I was getting chores done around the house. Life was good. Then I checked my school email. There, in the midst of e-newsletters about online marketing tactics, was an email from the dean of the graduate college telling me I missed the deadline for getting my thesis to the dean and would not be graduating.


I almost had a coronary there on the couch. From the thesis guide I downloaded, it said the thesis was to be to the dean 21 days before graduation. I might not be good in math, but counting on the calendar, that was Friday. A million things ran through my mind, including the fact I am supposed to be the speaker at graduation, my parents were coming to graduation and am teaching four classes in the fall. I immediately emailed my thesis chair and graduate advisor. Then I tried to calm down. Breath, breath, breath, I kept reminding myself. Once I felt calm enough to talk and not just babble incoherently, I called the dean’s office to talk to the person listed on the email. She told me the deadline had been Wednesday and when I explained my chair had been out of town, she said I could get an extension and he would simply need to email her.

Long story short, my chair requested and was granted an extension. He approved my thesis revisions and I could take my thesis to San Marcos on Friday. Still, Mr. Murphy and his Law were working against my frayed nerves. Friday morning I woke and started printing a copy of my 85 page thesis. With 10 pages left, I ran out of black ink. That’s okay, I told myself, I’ll get some more and stopped into Office Max on the way to the gym. Once there, I realized I had forgotten what model printer I had. I spoke to a sales guy, who thought he knew what it was and gave me the appropriate ink. I went on the gym and worked out. Arriving home, I went to the printer and realized wrong model, wrong ink. I had a C-84 and the ink was for a C-80 and unfortunately, didn’t fit. I took a deep breath and then jumped in the shower. I then headed back to the store for an exchange. This time I came home with ink for a C-84, but opening the package, it didn’t look like it fit – it was much wider than the cartridge already in there. Another deep breath. Okay, I thought, this is working against me. I will just go to campus and print it out there. Maybe I should have done it in the first place, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

By this time it was 1 o’clock Friday afternoon. I jump in the car, heart still racing from the day before, and I’m ready to lay rubber for the 42 miles on I-35 from Pflugerville to San Marcos. Unfortunately, the traffic didn’t agree with me – it was crawling, stop-and-go all the way through downtown Austin. “Can’t you M-F’s go any faster?!” I yelled in my car as I pounded my steering wheel. Calm down, I told myself, the last thing I needed was to be in a wreck. Finally I made it to campus found both parking and an open computer lab, printed out the thesis and delivered it to the dean’s office. For the first time in 24 hours I was able to take a deep breath.

So now the dean is reviewing it and I should hear back later this week if there are any changes. Once approved and I get his signature, I have to make several copies on bond paper and take it to the library by Aug. 3. If this doesn’t happen, I don’t graduate. Now, there really shouldn’t be an issue at this point, I’m as good as done, but given Thursday’s email, until I get the dean’s approval and deliver the thesis to the library, I’m going to be on edge. Already today I’ve checked my student email five times, as if between 2:30 Friday afternoon and 11 a.m. Monday, they would have read my thesis. Given the way Murphy’s Law has been, it will be the morning of Aug. 3rd before I hear anything. Until then, I just have to keep reminding myself to breath.

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