…comes great chances of messing things up.
Never mind if I’m actually a rookie but I sat as a panel member for the defense of three undergraduate theses done by seniors. And I’d have to say it really feels different being on the other side of the room, making comments and providing criticism to what these “kids” are about to claim their academic magna opera.
But yes, it has been three years since I successfully defended my undergraduate thesis and it’ll be a year or so until I switch to being the one under the lights when I eventually defend my masters thesis. But for now, it’s all about being part of the process whether I would let these seniors get their diplomas or swat them back to the drawing board.
Earlier, I made a crucial decision whether I would let my own thesis advisee make a buzzer-beater defense or not. I had just only received the information that he was a cum laude candidate and whether he graduates with honors (or just plain graduates) rest on that decision to let him defend. It’s still a gamble whether he would be able to successfully defend or not. But I did.
Stretch as it is, I pulled a few favors to schedule a defense for my advisee. There is partly a selfish reason for my hesitation – I would have wanted my first thesis advisee to churn out a really great research. Pretty much like what I accomplished for my undergraduate years.
I guess I have to go by what’s practical and go for that chance (no matter how slim) to give someone a good start in the job market. In a country where graduates of the humanities are clearly at a disadvantage in the job market, graduating with honors has got a lot to do with how one can fare. At least in the early years of one’s career.
I just hope that we don’t make fools of ourselves next Monday.