Monday, July 11, 2011

The M.Phil. Degree

Which one of these things doesn't match the other? If you guessed the square on the lower left, you would be quite right. I went to school today to pick up my diploma for my M.Phil. degree (Art History), which is the newbie joining my B.A. (English) on the stand and 2 M.A. degrees (Humanities and Library & Information Science) on the wall. Too bad it's kind of plain looking compared to my other degrees with their fancy Gothic calligraphy. I actually received my M.Phil. on September 30, but it took them so long to prepare the actual diploma, I had forgotten all about it. In case you don't understand how all this works, in American universities the M.Phil. stands for Master of Philosophy and is the degree you earn when you've finished all Ph.D.-level coursework and exams. It means you're A.B.D. (colloquially, "all but dissertation"). Once I complete my dissertation and defend it, then I will earn the Ph.D. and you'll be able to call me dr. bklynbiblio. But I still have more to do to get there, and Lord knows I'm working hard at it. The dissertation is moving along slowly but surely. I have a tendency to obsess over what I need to do next in my life, to the total detriment of acknowledging what I've done so far. It was a pleasure then to set the diploma on my bookcase today, and to take a few moments to pat myself on the back and think about all that I have accomplished. It felt rewarding, and I even smiled. We all need to do that a little more often.

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