Thesis Defense

Friday, approximately 5 o’clock in the morning. I am awake. My stomach is crumpled up in some corner, rejects food. Anyway, Mr Nicolaus forces me to eat a little. Stomach is in a snit. I have a lot of time to kill. Lucky Mr Nicolaus, he has to work. So he dresses up and leaves for office.

I start running around in my appartment. Feed the budgies. Clean the communal arears in my house. It’s 8 o’clock and I still have 7 hours to go. I try surfing the world wide web. Can’t concentrate on what I read, it’s not as distracting as I hoped. Half past 9: I decide to get dressed and to put on make up. Start running around in my apartment again.

Half past 10: some vacuum cleaner salesman tries to talk me into buying a new and very expensive vacuum cleaner. I tell him, I don’t have the nerves to listen to him now. He takes a closer look and apologises. He clearly thought, I had to attend a funeral. What did he see? Me, clad in a long black skirt, black blouse and corsage, no make up yet, so I was really pale and had dark rings under my eyes. *gnihi* It was really hard not to laugh out loud after I closed the door.

Half past 11: I am done. Make up covers the most telling traces of nervousness and fatigue, I did my hair and pinned it to my head, so it would not do the Medusa during my presentation. Ample time to run around.

Half past 1 pm: Mr Nicolaus returns from work. He higs me and kisses me and tells me, everything will be aright. THANK YOU 😀

3 pm: I start my presentation. During the first few minutes some members of my chair at university come in – they are late and I am fucking nervous. Them being late does’t make it easier. I start to shiver and hold to the desk, because I am afraid of collapsing right after the beginning of my defense. My knies tremble, my hands shake throughout the presentation. Professor started with: “I have to ask: are you alright, do yopu think your health allows you to give this presentation?” – I shortly consider, I should have answered “no” – I had just nodded because I couldn’t speak… The questions afterwards aren’t too difficult, still I can’t answer them all because my mind is completely blocked by being nervous. I feel like crying and running away. I try to supress these impulses and my aswers become somewhat snappy. Try to supress anger, too. I hate this situation: I understand the words, but I can’t make any sense from them. I am totally devastated, when we are sent outside, so the examiners can discuss my grade.

Half past 3 pm: it’s over. My grades are great. I finally relax. Luckily, I stop trembling without collapsing right in fornt of the examiners. My back and my shoulders are completely tense. Mr Nicolaus promises massages. Still looking forward to those 😀

Monday: lots of people addressed me as “Dipl-Ing”. I am soooooo proud. I can’t wait to be handed my certificate. Studies are over, work begins in June. I am on holiday right now.


About Being Nervous

Tomorrow, 3 pm. Final step in getting my Diplom Ingenieur degree: presentation. Standing in front of my supervisor, my professor, the examiners, my future colleagues, friends, family. Telling about my thesis. In English. Everything about the thesis has been in English so far. My supervisor does not speak German. So I currently *think* in English when it comes to electronics. I am really afraid, I’ll mess up.

Today, now. My stomach feels like a crumpled bit of paper. Tries to hide somewhere. I don’t know if I am hungry or not. I am just fucking nervous. I cleaned my flat today, so it is ready for my relatives coming tomorrow. I don’t even know what time they will arrive. I still have to iron my clothes for tomorrow. Do I put on something more female or something more male? That is: corsage or tie? Both go really fine with my blouse and long skirt. I am wearing a studded dog’s collar quite regularly in every day life. I know it is most unappropriate  for the occation, but it has always given me a strange feeling of security. I’d like to wear it, but I really don’t think I should. After all, my attire will be “gothic” enough to make people wonder, if it is appropriate at all. People who know me know I can’t choose, don’t want to choose. Dressing up as a fashion victim with high aspirations for a career isn’t me.

I was unusually calm today. Felt like the calm before the storm. Right now, I think that’s exactly what it was.

I. am. fucking. nervous.and afraid. And I would prefer not to be alone tonight.

Presentation II

I am still sitting here, jostling pixels on my presentation slides. The slides are fine. Must be fine. I don’t know, what else to do. My stomach feels like it is crumpled in a small ball. I am fucking nervous.

Last night my thoat got sore. It hurts a little when swalloing. At the back, on the right side of my throat. I had an infection, which put me out of work for over a week earlier this year. I am afraid it might return. I have to hold a presentation next week. I am afraid I won’t be able to talk, afraid I will be in so much pain, that I cannot give my presentation.

I am really really fucking afraid.

I’d like to cry – anybody out there, who wants to hug me?


Next week my last universtiy exam will take place – not the last one ever, but the final for my studies: I have to defend my thesis. And I am damn fucking nervous! I don’t feel like this is going to be “just a presentation” as my supervisor likes to say. He is really a great guy, he tries to comfort me and reassures me. I think seeing me panick in the two weeks before handing in my thesis must have been a little scary. And he only got the light version.

My big, very, very BIG problem with exams is: I am horribly afraid of them. I am good, maybe very good at what I am doing, but still having exams looming on my agenda gives me the creeps. I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. My mood will oscillate between deep depressions and euphoria. I can fly into a rage for litterally nothing. I am hard to bear with for those around me. At least the rage thingy didn’t show that strong. Any bad news can make me go into deep despair with a whole lot of crying – and I did a whole lot of crying in those weeks before handing in.

Before all my exams I had during my studies, I would get completely panicked. I would only study and sleep and study more for days and sometimes weeks, and when trying to show my knowledge – I would just fail. I simply could not tell people all the information stored in my head. I looked at examples I calculated just a week ago – and I was not able to redo those calculations. I was not able to draw circuits from my mind correctly.

Now I am kind of afraid. I have to defend on Friday afternoon next week. I am already nervous. My parents are coming and are bringing at least one of my sisters, too. That does not really help me to calm down.

What, if I forget about all the things I want to tell? The things I should tell? What, if I have a black-out? It’s so fucking scary…

You know, you worked too much on your electronics thesis…

… if you try to write an email to a friend and you use […] instead of […]
Well, that’s actually not the worst it could possibly get: You don’t understand, why the email is not delivered.

… if you submit a post in a forum in correct latex formatting. – And you are wondering, why it is not displayed correctly.

Hopefully _not_ to be continued 😉

Remark: I wrote this at the beginning of April an forgot to publish it. *narf*

UPDATE: May, 6th, me chatting with my sister – sorry folks, but it only makes sense in German. I wanted to find out whether her new crush is a smoker.
M(e): rauscht das Objekt deiner Begierde auch?
M: -s
S(is): 😀
S: freak

Thesis Update

My big day was April, the 28th: I handed in my thesis. 6 months of often hard work dcoumented on slightly more than 100 pages in total, nicely printed, with a burgundy hardcover binding and with a golden impression to the cover saying “Diplomarbeit”. I. am. so. proud.

Putting the final version together was really strenuous with last minute modelling and neverending changes to some sections. But honestly, I am no good at writing a motivation for the thesis, because my very personal motivation does not count. See, I am an engineer. I design a circuit, because “Yes, I can” do it, and because I love designing circuits, and because I have a big chance of designing a good circuit (at least I think so). But the motivation for the thesis has to be more from an economical point, like where can we use it and why should we use it instead of other approaches. Difficult, but I finally put something together.

Final step for my studies will be the presentation of my thesis next week. I am looking forward to it, although it also makes me nervous. But people here try there best in not letting me get too nervous. Another thing to look forward to: vacation! After my presentation I will be on vacation, visiting my relatives, have some nice time on somebody else’s sofa and just relax.

And from the beginning of June I will start working on my PhD thesis. Good thing, because I will stay at my university and did not have to write job applications 🙂 Lucky me!

Print to File

Printing documents from the Acrobat Reader can be a real pain in the rear end. My thesis has some pages at the beginning, which do not have page numbers and the Reader simply cannot handle printing those pages correctly.

But I noticed, you could print to file. Cool thing – and for free and without additional software. Nice guys over at Acrobat – at least I thought. Big BUT: the file is a page maker file. Guess what: Software to open this file is not for free – of course.

Thesis update: printing first preliminary version – still a looooooooooong way to go. Anyway, 70+ pages are 70+ pages. Could be worse.