I'm in the middle of trying to write a PhD thesis to complete a PhD at Keio University. I was working on this when I got my current job at the Media Lab and Nicholas Negroponte told me that I should dump the idea of finishing a degree because my not having an earned degree was a badge of honor at this point.
7 years later, people call me "the academic" on panels and while some people are still "impressed" that I don't have a degree, just as many students wonder whether I really understand their point of view having never gone through the process. Also, Jun Murai poked me the other day and urged me to think again about finishing the degree so I quietly started working on it awhile ago thinking, "I've got plenty of time..." Now my thesis is due on April 30. Step 1 in "how to feel like a student."
The degree that I am working on is a Thesis PhD which doesn't exist in the US. It's a process designed for people like me who aren't doing research for their degree, but instead, earn their degree by writing a thesis about stuff that they've done or are doing and "pitch" it to the university. Jun Murai, a Professor in the Department of Environment and Information Studies in the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University, is my advisor.
So I have to finish writing the thesis, then I put together a committee, they review it, I defend, there is an exam and then, if I'm successful, I get a PhD and walk on September 18 in Japan. Jun and his team were kind enough to put "Congratulations!" on the commencement line of my proposed schedule.
So while this blog post is a bit of a break/procrastination ("how to feel like a student part 2!") it's also pressure for me to actually finish this or fail publicly. At least to the extent that anyone is reading this blog.
Which brings me to another point.
With my new Wired column and other more formal writing I'm doing these days, my blog has been getting neglected. Also, in doing research for my thesis, my blog has served as a great outboard memory for me to remember all of the things I've thought about or have been involved in with date stamps, photos and links. I realized that the original purpose - of journaling - might be a good reason to keep blogging. Writing to my future self to remind me of what I was thinking and doing today. Also, as a great procrastination method with slightly more long term value than browsing and liking random things on Facebook.
So there you go. I'm going to pivot my blog to be a bit more like personal journal to chronicle my journey than a soap box to pontificate from. Sort of like how it started.