A Degree of Modesty

Recently, I decided to pop by the university and get a PhD. Since then, a lot of people have been asking, “do you feel any different now that you have a PhD?”

Well yes, of course I do. Whenever I insist that someone call me “doctor Mike”—whether it’s government documents, or my friends, or the lady serving me a shawarma—I get a nice little reminder that I am, in fact, superior to all the common people without PhDs. That’s a great feeling.

It also feels different knowing that I’m now qualified to force my opinion about anything on anyone. Also, I don’t know if you knew this (you don’t have a PhD, after all), but a psych degree comes with a free license to kill. It also makes you a god in the sack, lowers your THAC0 by 3, and allows you to glow when you get in a fight.

Actually, I set up a camera to record my PhD defense so you can see what it was like:

Err but for serious, being The Last Dragon a doctor is, for me, a relief but otherwise no biggie.

These past 6+ years of grad school have certainly been important to me, but my degree was only one project I was working on. It’s not what has defined me as a person. So I’m proud of checking one more thing off my list of accomplishments, sure, but it is only one thing.

As a polymathic sort of person, I get pleasure in pursuing a variety of goals. Reaching those goals is rewarding, but often secondary to the pursuit. I don’t feel different when I complete a multi-year project, because the ongoing learning and building I’d been doing all those years was already fulfilling the reasons for starting the project.

Now I can focus on some other pursuits more. Substantial ones like kicking ass at my job, publishing some of my research, and finishing up those half-completed novels that are sitting around, but also more nebulous ones like building relationships with kickass people, blogging, and contributing to the good of mankind.

I’m proud of my PhD though. Sometime I should tell you guys what my research is all about, because I was extremely lucky to be able to study what I actually wanted to study, and it turned out pretty cool. Until then, cheerio.

— Dr. Michael E. Battista, M.Sc., Ph.D., O.M.G.


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