This morning I successfully defended my second qualifying paper, “Near-Mergers in Cowlitz County, Washington,” which means I’m officially a doctoral candidate! (Okay, actually, a couple forms need to be signed, but that’s no biggie.) What an important step for me!
"Doctoral candidate" just sounds so much cooler than mere "Ph.D. student."— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 4, 2017
I like my new title :)
The paper I defended was essentially what I presented at the ADS conference in January and at DiVar in February. I presented some of my data that I collected in Washington State and discussed the Mary-merry-marry merger (or lack thereof) and a collection of mergers involving higher back vowels before coda laterals (pool, pull, pole, and pulp). I got some great feedback from my committee.
What are my plans for the rest of my schooling? I’m still deciding if I want to finish my dissertation and graduate next year or the year after. I’ll start things up and see how I’m feeling in six months, but I’m on the fence. On the one hand, while I will probably be able to secure funding for my fifth year, no matter what it is it’s probably going to be less pay than a real job, so I’ll want to graduate after my fourth year. On the other hand, giving myself two years to finish will allow me to really put a lot of time into the dissertation, as well as the couple other sizable side projects I have going on, thus beefing up my CV before graduating.
I’ll have to weigh my research goals against my personal, familial, and financial needs and make some decisions at some point. But for now I’m just happy to have made that leap to ABD.