Medical Biophysics Graduate Student Association

MBPGSA Blog

Updates, opinion pieces, and news related to the department

The Case Of The Missing MBP Grad - Do MBP Students Actually Graduate?

I must be honest, one of my biggest pet-peeves since entering this program was the fact that the majority of the students didn't know when other students successfully defended their degree: the student would enter the "Narnia wardrobe" and the rest of us would not know if he or she ever came out. Let me explain. We regularly receive emails from one of the administrators stating that " There will be a Ph.D. Oral Exam for Joe Smith or Jane Smith on Monday.... blah blah blah". Now this is great news, a great a way to inform everyone of the event, build anticipation and get the champagne bottles ready. Especially because many of us reach the highly coveted goal of completing a Master or PhD after jumping through hoops of fire (I'm serious some of the elevators in these old buildings require circus-type skills... but that's the topic of another post).

Now at this point, the curious students would wait and wonder if our hero or heroine was able to survive the "dragon's den" also known as "the examining committee". A couple of hours would go by ...and still no news. The hours would turn into days, weeks and months ... at which point the stories of successful oral examinations would be narrated by the elders around a fire or found in handwritten dusty annals ... the signs of Jane and Joe ever walking the hallways of MBP would then slowly and inevitably fade...

At my old alma mater, after the public lecture and the successful closed door examination, the supervisor of the defending student would send an email to the department inviting people to join the new "Maestro" or Doctor at the local pub for some celebration time.  Now, I'm not advocating for afternoon drinking or saying that I want to know about the failure of my peers (the chance of that actually happening in this department is quite rare). On the contrary, I want to rejoice with my peers at the news that one of us made it! The idea of people graduating is a sudden, refreshing injection of hope for all of us: a much needed reminder that perseverance does pay off.

Well despair no more my colleagues, in this month's newsletter, the last page had a list of this year's grads so I toast to them with coffee: Congratulations to the 2009-2010 MBP Graduates!

Samuel Oduneye