Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pomp & Our Circumstances


For the entire 8 years we’ve been married, Jack has been a full time student. To put things in perspective, when his cub scouts ask him what grade he’s in, he says, “Twenty second.” And he’s being completely serious.

On Friday, his doctoral dissertation was filed after receiving approval from its committee of advisors. In layman’s terms: He’s like, totally finished.

Jack said that being a PhD doesn’t feel any different. But actually, our lives have changed quite dramatically.

For instance, we just moved from a two bedroom apartment built in the 1960s, to a two bedroom apartment built in the 1970s. And our rent doubled! You may not be able to see the difference between our new place and our old one, but I am certain we are enjoying the luxury of unseen seismic upgrades.

Since graduation, I have also found it necessary to come up with new things to complain about. As residents of student housing we went six years without a dishwasher, washer or dryer - Something I loved to lament, particularly in my journal. (200 years from now my posterity will want to discuss the hardships of their ancestors - I always thought it would be fun to be cited as a reference). Now that we have home appliances, I’ve been testing out some new material (“Dear Journal, I miss the laundromat, and am so tired of emptying this dishwasher!”)

One thing that has not changed, unfortunately, is my inability to explain exactly what it is that Jack does. The title of one of the papers in his dissertation, for those who don't believe me, is “Accurately Sized Test Statistics with Misspecified Conditional Homoskedasticity ??????” (question marks added for emphasis).

Now, he is employed as a Lecturer of Game Theory. If you are wondering what Game Theory is, or why it takes 6 years of home appliance deprivation to earn a degree that qualifies one to teach it, you will have to ask Jack himself. I will give you a hint: It has nothing to do with designing an NFL offense.

And thus begins the next phase of our lives, and the end of a 22-year phase of Jack’s. I will spare you the details of how proud I am of him. But as a few of you know, graduate school has been a very winding road. More than his degree, I will always be impressed by the way he handled the process of obtaining it. He demonstrated a lot of integrity when he didn’t have to, and a lot of persistence when he didn’t necessarily want to.

Plus, contemplating Misspecified Homoskedasticity is no small feat when your ivory tower looks like this



I snapped this picture a few years ago while Jack was working on his dissertation. I can’t tell you how many hours he spent studying while wearing a fussy baby in the Bjorn, or how many lectures he prepared at the park, while pushing the kids on the swings.

I think that’s what they call graduating with honors.


(*Editor's Note: The author of this post acknowledges the possibility that at the time this photograph was taken, Jack was not actually working on his dissertation, but rather managing his Fantasy Football team.)

22 comments:

Chris and Erin said...

Congrats Dr. Erb (Jr.) I can't even imagine how excited you must be to finally be done! I'm proud of your accomplishment and you have set such a great example for your kids! Way to go!!!

Susan said...

Congratulations Jack! It is so comforting to know that I will always have someone to turn to when I need advice about misspecified conditional homoskedasticity.

Taylor and Jodi said...

I still don't know where you guys are. Any hints? Congratulations, that is a major accomplishment. However, your post was a poor choice of topic for my current state. I've always had this image in my mind that once graduate school is over, we can finally have a real salary, buy my dream house and stay there for 40 years. The last couple of days I've been realizing deep down that I am only dreaming. 2 years down, and if by some miracle we finished in 3 more, that's still $80,000 in rent and $1500 in laundry. I didn't want to know that you still live in an apartment because it only crushes my dreams, however much congratulations on having a washer and dryer (we have a dishwasher now and still don't use it). Oh great wife of a graduated husband, give me comfort!

And don't worry, I don't know what Taylor does either.

Amy Eagleston said...

Congrats and I love your updates. You are a gifted writer

Jane said...

Congratulations! I am so happy for all of you and a bit emotional as I read yet another perfectly written post by Katie. Way to go Jack!

Alison said...

I love Jack's mousepad... we had the AppleJacks version not too long ago!

Congrats to you both!

Lorie said...

Can I just say you are hilarious and I am so glad my cousin married you.

Katie and Jeff said...

I love you two! You both work so hard for your family, it is inspirational! Congratulations Jack, good luck with your job!

Jeannie said...

Hooray! Congratulations to Jack! And to you all for enduring grad school so well.

I'm still working hard to overcome my appliance envy...

Brandy said...

Oh what it would be like to have a washer and dryer!!! You deserve it though. 8 years was it? I've just started my 2nd year with many more to go. I LOVE the Trix box he's using! Here's to the fancy things in life we have while being students!!!

Memzy said...

New friend,

Your combination of intelligence, wit, and charm make it impossible for me to not want to have you as a new eBFF. Please consider my application. Congrats to your pomp AND your circumstance.

Signed,
Hoping one day we cam say we " met on the Internet".

Emmers said...

WOW! I am so proud of you Jack and the Erb family! What a feat! Game Theory, eh? Remind me not to ever play Monopoly with you.

Also, can you publish this in the Ensign or something? 22 years of school and have a family at the same time IS possible.

Love you guys! Tell us where you are!

thejerry said...

Congrats guys! and nice pic.

krissiecook said...

A PhD in homo-what? Darn liberal California schools.
But seriously, congratulations to you all, and best wishes on those pretty household appliances. If you ever want to remember what life was like before them, stop by our house any time.

Daneille said...

Hurray for Jack ~ way to go, baby! And a definite, hearty congratulations to you, too, Katie! You guys are awesome and make a mom as proud as can be. What a family!

Daneille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daneille said...

By the way... Isn't Game Theory the theory of economics developed by the guy in the movie, "A Beautiful Mind?" (John Nash, I believe.) If so, then I'm not Dr. C. Jack Erb's mom for nothin'! If not, then... nevermind.

Leslie said...

Congrats to all of you! Three years of law school about did me, so just thinking about 6 years of grad school makes me want to cry. And you've been going to the laundry mat to do laundry for three kids? Wow. Do you get an award for that?

Vivian said...

congratulations. he is really finished. way to go Jack.

Flem said...

You forgot to mention that your kids are now fenced in. That is sort of like an appliance upgrade, right? Though you certainly downgraded in neighbors I can tell you that right now.

Courtney Vance said...

Congratulations Jack...and Katie. I don't think I could of gone that long without a washer and dryer. I'm assuming that they have you in the witness protection program since no one knows where you are. I promise even if they pull out my finger nails I won't tell a soul.

P.S. I'm praying for a huge house, in Utah with a garage and all the appliances you could ever want.

Dawn said...

Congratulations Dr. Erb! We know what a HUGE accomplishment that is, and we are so happy YOU ARE DONE! Both of you! It's just as hard on the family as well as the student. Sorry Katie about the appliance hardships. It's a bummer emptying a dishwasher. The good news is, Jack's home more now that he's done, and YOU don't have to empty it every time!

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