Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I assure you, the snakes are very real.
November 24, 2010 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Most graduate students are surely aware of the many rigors and regulation of thesis preparation. For example, here is a FAQ on preparing for the "snake fight" portion of your thesis defense.
posted by jjray (28 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just the right blend of absurd and serious that I needed. Good fun.
posted by twirlypen at 8:12 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Although if you get a poisonous snake, it often means that there was a problem with the formatting of your bibliography.

Okay, that got a guffaw.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:12 PM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Q: So then couldn't you just fight a snake in lieu of actually writing a thesis?
A: Technically, yes. But in that case the snake would be very big. Very big, indeed.


Thank you. This is just what I needed.
posted by verb at 8:17 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


My snake was very large, but also very sleepy and lacked venom. Can I use the second part to console myself about the first?
posted by amelioration at 8:20 PM on November 24, 2010


My snake was very large, but also very sleepy and lacked venom. Can I use the second part to console myself about the first?

Yes. nice work on the bibliography, by the way.
posted by verb at 8:25 PM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


The piece was funny on it's own but I have no knowledge of academia. What is the snake a metaphor for?
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:26 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metaphor?
posted by verb at 8:26 PM on November 24, 2010 [22 favorites]


I assure you, the snakes are very real.
posted by oddman at 8:44 PM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Academic politics are so vicious, precisely because the snakes are so small.
posted by dhartung at 8:48 PM on November 24, 2010 [63 favorites]


Mouse over for joke-ruining spoiler
posted by shii at 8:50 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Truth be told, much more disturbing than the snake during my dissertation defense was the clown (also the departmental wine steward).
posted by Wash Jones at 8:54 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


For once, it didn't get overdone at the end; it just kept up the premise all the way through. Well crafted. You, McSweeney's contributor, get a very small snake indeed.
posted by davejay at 9:12 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Honest truth: a day after my defense I got horrible food poisoning. Come to think of it, my bibliography wasn't awesome.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:21 PM on November 24, 2010


Based on the stories I've heard from someone who went to MIT, this isn't far off.
posted by Xezlec at 9:23 PM on November 24, 2010


Man, totally hilarious. Thanks for posting!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:05 AM on November 25, 2010


Winston, unless it's really you, that's just begging for a mythic serpent.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:36 AM on November 25, 2010


It's a very amusing article, but I think dhartung just won the internet.
posted by nowonmai at 3:11 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


My defense was a scant 2 weeks ago, and I'm still smarting from the time I split the snake in two, and the tail grew a new head! (that and the stats prof on my committee bringing all her colleagues with her to grill me with additional questions -- not cool!) Still HAHAHA! Thanks so much for this!
posted by bluefly at 5:13 AM on November 25, 2010


Question for the veteran academics: how often does the snake win?
posted by sammyo at 5:21 AM on November 25, 2010


This is not a metaphor: I defended my master's thesis during a tornado. My PhD defense was tame by comparison.
posted by willF at 5:21 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is funny, also it makes me really glad I am writing a thesis at SJC and not MIT etc.
posted by MNDZ at 6:03 AM on November 25, 2010


Wow, standards at the Ivies have really declined. At University of Chicago we had to defeat our colleagues. Man is the most dangerous game (and some of them were armed with snakes).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:36 AM on November 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Q: So then couldn't you just fight a snake in lieu of actually writing a thesis?
A: Technically, yes. But in that case the snake would be very big. Very big, indeed.


I think that that is what Wittgenstein did.
posted by carter at 6:49 AM on November 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eerily timely, considering I passed my viva mere hours ago. No snakes though.
posted by kersplunk at 7:51 AM on November 25, 2010


This is great. Actually, my doctoral defense was a very nice, mellow affair. This was not true of most of my friends in other departments, however.
posted by ob at 9:11 AM on November 25, 2010


Huh, I sold a cartoon to the Chronicle Review like a year ago that was basically this joke "You can either finish your thesis or battle the cobra"

But like, you know a cartoon and not a fleshed out essay.

stupid not-working chronicle review site!
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2010


There were no snakes at my defense. I take this to mean that my thesis was awesome.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:16 AM on November 25, 2010


Although if you get a poisonous snake, it often means that there was a problem with the formatting of your bibliography

I should be set then because my bibliography was A) HUGE and B) perfect. Or so I'll keep telling myself over the next couple of months while I wait for the examiners to do their thing.
posted by shelleycat at 10:28 AM on November 25, 2010


« Older Libraries are, for many of us, the public places w...   |   They think of me as a scholar,... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments