It took me 6 years to earn this lollipop

At UC Berkeley, when you file your PhD dissertation and everything is accepted—your committee signs off on the science; the administration confirms that your margins are the correct size—you get a lollipop.



I assume at some point you also get a diploma, but no one ever talks about that. Everyone just wants the lollipop.

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If you had a lollipop that had taken you six years to earn, would you save it or eat it?

11 thoughts on “It took me 6 years to earn this lollipop

  1. Congratulations! Whatever you do with your PhD, I hope you find it rewarding. I have enjoyed your posts–thank you. –Linda Z., southern Oregon

  2. Congratulations! I’m betting you are going to have a brilliant career. As far as the lollipop…that’s a tough one. I have never been one to save memorabilia, so I’d probably eat it and just save the wrapper. Or at least take a little bite.

  3. Let me get this straight, this understated little post is saying you have just been awarded your PhD? Or have you still a viva or something to do? Is it premature to congratulate you?

      • Hi Kate
        I just wanted to offer my congratulations. It is a brilliant achievement. I have followed and enjoyed your blog through your doctoral work. You have a talent for explaining science well which is a mark of a good scientist in my view.
        I wish you well for future work.
        Best wishes

  4. Awesome!! I hope you felt joy after your defense – that is sweeter than the lollipop, I think. Thank you for such a fun blog. I volunteer to care for baby birds in our local wildlife rehab center, and reading your posts has enhanced my knowledge and practice.

    • Thanks for your comment! I recently started volunteering at a wildlife rehab center, and it’s been great fun learning all these very practical details – what do you feed an opossum? What if that opossum just had jaw surgery? – that somehow don’t come up in evolutionary biology papers. I’ve been so impressed by the expertise of the volunteers who have been there longer than me; some have been there longer than I’ve been alive, these small, gray-haired ladies confidently restraining and medicating angry owls. It puts the PhD in perspective: sure, it took me 6 years, but look where you can get with 3 decades of practice!

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