Recently, Chemist Ken wrote a post on his blog recollecting the drama surrounding the submission of his dissertation. This reminded me of some drama related to the submission of Ph.D. dissertation. I will admit, it was no where near as dramatic as Ken's, but I was freaked out for a while.
For reasons I won't go into right now, when I left grad school I was not completely done with my dissertation. I left campus thinking I was nearly 95% done. The reality was that I was only about 65% done. One of the biggest challenges was properly formatting my dissertation.
There are very stringent guidelines that must be followed when it comes to formatting a dissertation or thesis. I knew this from my experience writing a M.S. thesis, and I was prepared. I submitted early versions through the mail to the Grad School office for inspection. I got several suggestions and made those changes. In other words, my formatting was all set and essentially approved. No need to worry about that.
In preparation to print the thing out, I had purchase 3 reams of the appropriate type of paper. I ended up printing it out on the very last night I possibly could. In the morning I had to send it overnight. If I didn't get it out I would miss the deadline and I would not graduate.
It was while I was printing it out when I noticed it: two of my reams of paper were noticeably pink!!! Not a bright pink, but compared to the white pages, they were pink. I freaked out for a little while.
I needed to print 4 copies. They would be inspected for compliance to the formatting rules. I assumed pinkish paper was NOT going to be acceptable. But, what choice did I have. There was nothing I could do at that point. I printed them and tried to not mix the white and pink paper in the same copy.
If they were not approved, I would miss the deadline, I would miss graduation, and I have to wait 8 months and another semester to officially graduate. There were job implications, salary implications, expectations implications, all sorts of implications. Yeah, I was a bit freaked out.
In the morning, I overnighted them and decided to accept my fate as there was nothing else I could do.
I waited for a few days until I heard they had been accepted. They were in compliance. I have no idea if they noticed, but I don't care.