09/03/2010 By Shawn Burns

As soon as I get a couple of signatures on a piece of paper I will have TGR status. TGR stands for “Terminal Graduate Registration” and it means I have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. except for the actual dissertation. It means no more units, no more classes, no more deadlines. It also means the department doesn’t have to cough up tuition money to the university since I won’t be enrolled in anything.

My life won’t be any different, really. I’ll still have a dissertation to write, and a certain amount of funding time to finish it in. But there’s a certain autonomy and respect afforded the TGR students. Like they basically have Ph.Ds already; that there is just a formality in the way. It’s a lie, but it’s one I’m looking forward to living for some reason. It feels like one kind of pressure is gone, even though the real pressure-source remains.

Go me. Backpacking Dad, four-fifths of a doctorate down. Now the hard part.