September 25, 2023

My Final Thesis Defense

It finally happened! This happened at the most unexpected time, and it was perfect.

My Final Thesis Defense

It finally happened! This happened at the most unexpected time, and it was perfect. Here are some stories about my crazy journey before and during the final defense.

My thesis journey has been crazy and chaotic, and there have been times I didn't want to do it because it was too frustrating, tiresome, and dull. I'm too old for this. I just want to watch more movies and anime or ask questions like does it still matter? What would I get out of this? Do I have the time and energy for this? Is there something else I should be doing? It was one of my friends who asked me if I would still keep working on my thesis. I think that's when I decided to keep going, knowing nothing but just figuring it out as I went, trying to bring out my old studious self who loves high quality and scheduling and who'll make it happen in the most organized way possible, if I don't have that kind of mindset, I will fail this badly, so I started working on it, in a way I know I'll win somehow.

Tears stream down my cheeks as I write this because I still can't comprehend what happened. I remember crying in the middle of the night while eating my favorite snacks because it was too hard, and I didn't have anyone to talk to. I remember going home from Starbucks so late and tired, and I had to walk, commute, and find a jeep to take me home. And I cried so hard while sitting in the jeep. It was a good thing I was wearing a mask. Also, I remember this person helping me resolve something in my thesis, but then asking for a "date" as payment. That made me cry, too. Yeah, hahaha. Iyakin. My list could go on and on, but these are the ones that stand out the most to me.

As I sometimes get too emotional, I used my other x account instead. I tend to write too much based on my feelings, so it helped me let out all my thoughts, and one reason is also to avoid being distracted from anime and movies when working on my thesis.

My thesis playlist is also curated based on my mood or emotions since I'm an emotional gal. Right now, the latest song is playing on a loop. I will not elaborate. lol

Every day, six times a week at most, I go to Starbucks to finish my paper. The longest time I stayed there was from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. They close at 2 a.m., so it's the perfect place to focus and finish my paper. Thank you, Starbucks, forever!

When I submitted my manuscripts on July 1st, I expected to have my final defense that same month, but if God didn't want it to happen, it wouldn't. When I received the final defense schedule email last month, I didn't even see it at first if they didn't send me an SMS, for at that point, I was losing my momentum, I was not thinking about it anymore, and I was back to being carefree. After reading the text message, my heart beats so fast I feel like I can hear it, and I'm shaking so hard as I'm trying to think too much. I started preparing a week later since I needed a headstart.

The first thing I did was polish my PowerPoint presentation, research how Apple presents its presentations, and also how to create the best presentations, and yes, not just presentations, but the BEST presentations. I'm doing this not just for my panelists but also for myself. There were a lot of changes and revisions along the way, but I managed to create a presentation I'd be proud to present.

Now, the practice of speaking/presenting. I started by writing my script, one I'll feel comfortable delivering. If you know me, my most significant strength is communication, so I used that strength and studied how to give a killer presentation. The goal was to get my audience's attention so they wouldn't be so focused on the system, but they will focus on me instead. Hahaha. What's the point? Revising the system after would be hard and take a lot of time. The process of fixing a paper is something I can handle, but modifying a system would take a lot more time, and I'm not too fond of that. I've been there, and it drains me. I worked on strengthening my communication and presentation skills. The defense is two days away, and I also studied hand gestures, which immensely helped me.

A few days before the defense, I tested everything at the university. The internet connection: since my system includes attendance management, I recheck if the attendance GPS is working as expected/real-time and check the room where I'll have my defense. I asked the librarian if she could let me check it so I could bring the right technology tools I might need. I checked where to park, the best parking where there won't be so much walking because I can't be tired, and where I can buy snacks for the panelists. Yeah! I checked everything that could help me produce good results. They might be small, but their impact would be huge if one went wrong. I got home so tired (sana talaga nag jeep na lang ako, hahaha), but I knew it was worth it.

On the day of the presentation, I was shaking but confident. I'm optimistic because I'm prepared. I've prayed for this, and people have prayed for me. As I setup my laptop, the room's installed cable was grounded, which caused the display to shake, so it's good I brought my own "survival kit," which has all the tech tools I needed, including a 5m HDMI cable (hahaha, I'm super proud of myself lol), which brought peace to the world (me).

The time had come for me to present, and one audience member introduced me, the panelist, which made me tremble when I stood up in front of the crowd. Despite feeling nervous, the words I said during my presentation were what I practiced, so I didn't mention anything that came from nervousness. Sometimes, I think I speak unclearly because of worry, but I've survived. Hand gestures helped me. Folding my hands as a hand gesture kept me from shaking and made me remember what I needed to say (I don't know, but it's like magic, hahaha).

My introduction before getting to the main topic is my favorite part. I worked hard to deliver a strong message and gain momentum, and I believe I did this well while watching their reactions. Thanks to my technical adviser, who suggested an effective opening topic. Showing the AVPs of the system instead of the actual system is the best part of presenting. This might have happened because the panelists were happy with my presentation and the AVPs I showed them (my main goal). I answered all the questions asked with confidence, not thinking it through. I want to show them I know my research so well.

Afterward, they asked me, my dad, my adviser, and my friends, to go out for a bit for the panelist deliberations. While waiting, I talked to my adviser, and she said that AVPs are good and I've presented well. It gave me a feeling that the results would be favorable. We got back, and they announced the results of a high pass. I got 4.9 out of 5, which made me jump forward. I'm so happy, I don't have words to explain it. The panelists told me I was very good at presenting. My becoming a potato nights were all worth it due to their kind words. For the minor revisions, I have one month to complete them, and while I was standing there, I calculated how long it would take me to finish the minor corrections. I'm that girl. lol

I am working on revisions and plan to finish them by this week or the beginning of October. I'm finally living my life while working with these revisions since I don't have to run and cry anymore. I feel so good.

My thanks go out to those who believed and prayed for me. They're what made my final defense successful. One elder at church says he's always praying for me, not just for my thesis but even for the right person for me, he's always saying that guy will be so lucky to have me. That's so sweet. He tells me these things all the time, he just did it again yesterday, so whenever we speak, I feel at peace, knowing that someone is always praying for me.

God's timing is perfect, it may not happen when you expected it to, but if it happens in God's timing, everything will happen as it should. That's what happened during my final defense. :) God is good!

I remember this from a podcast I listened to recently. "If it's for you, God will make it happen!"