Mom: If you're submitting this year, when's your graduation going to be?
Me: I want to do the July 2014 one, because the other option is December this year and it's too close--it takes awhile to set up the viva & everything, so it'll probably be July 2014.
Mom: Well, that's going to be fun--Kelly & I want to do Chatsworth this time.
Me: Yeah, that'll be great! It's going to be kind of sad, though, 'cause Phil won't be there, and Robin won't be there...
Mom: Well, who is going to be there?
Me: Simon probably will, and Katrin will, so that's good. It's just sad--Phil always used to go to the graduations, and so did Robin. I'm not sure if Gary will be there or not...
Mom: Well, what did you do to these poor guys? haha!
During my struggle with the actual writing-it-all-out bit of my PhD, I've been thinking about all of the little extra bits that I hadn't really considered until now--the table of contents, the acknowledgments, the abstract, etc. Acknowledgments are tricky in my case. I don't actually want to thank the Fulbright Program in Washington, because they didn't help. Early on, I sent an email asking about obtaining copies of annual reports that was never answered, and another asking about archives that received a quick reply--they don't keep archives (they didn't tell me about the State Department collection at the annex in College Park, or the CU collection in Fayetteville...it would've been good to know about those a couple of years ago). I don't want to sound bitter, but I also don't want to give the impression that the Fulbright Program was involved in my work. It really wasn't. The US-UK Fulbright Commission in London, however, deserves a thank you for its help with my pilot study. They were lovely--it's just a shame that the pilot study never turned into a proper study, as there weren't enough respondents. How do you thank them for helping when you didn't end up using their help? I guess I'll just keep it short & sweet, and say they were very helpful 'in the early stages,' which is true.
Thanking my supervisors has become complicated, too...Obviously I have to thank Phil, because he introduced me to the world of PD and we put this project together in the first place. I have to thank Robin, too, for being a great supervisor and getting me through the transfer & fieldwork & conferences & various chapters. But now that Robin's leaving the department, I have two more supervisors to add to the acknowledgments. I'm looking forward to getting feedback and seeing how their input changes my project. I'm hugely grateful to them for seeing my PhD through to the end, but at the same time, it would've been easier for everybody involved if Phil had just quit smoking at some point in the 1980's, and then he could still be here.
In some books, I've seen people thank individual archivists--unfortunately, although these people are vitally important to the research process, they're difficult to thank. I can't remember a single name of anybody at the National Archives--it was all business, not very friendly, and I think the security guards were the only people who actually chatted with me. The easiest acknowledgments are those who have had the least to do with my actual research--my supportive husband, my number-one-fan mom, and my study-buddy cat (we've been working on homework together since 3rd grade--Mrs. Lundberg's class, 1995). None of them have read my work, but they've all heard me rant and think-aloud about it enough that they might as well have read it (particularly the cat...).