Fried Cerebellum and a Master’s Degree

I have mentioned before that my daughter, Annie, is finishing up a Master’s Degree at the American University of Cairo. She defends her thesis on Monday and I wish I was in Cairo. I want to be making cookies and tea to soothe both her cerebellum and her soul as she prepares for the grueling presentation of facts and narrative supporting her thesis statement.

Since I can’t offer that, I sent her the next best thing: a story about Graduate School Barbie (TM). Graduate School Barbie helped me realize that everything I have heard from my daughter for the past three years is real, accurate, and worse than she has described. I knew about the propensity for tears and the different sort of eye ducts, but my daughter never told me that she would have fried cerebellum or that the lining of her stomach would dissolve from the surplus of digestive juices produced by anxiety. I had to discover it from Graduate School Barbie. This Barbie, with her prematurely graying hair, wrinkles, and  sallow skin, is quite a Barbie. Barbie haters may even wish for the real Barbie back, instead of one with grey cells. There are two types of Grad school Barbies and Annie would most relate with Delusional Masters Barbie (TM). We’ll see if she’s willing to move forward and model herself after PhD Masochist Barbie (TM) – I’m secretly hoping that honor will be for my niece and her mom to navigate.

I discovered Graduate School Barbie through the blog Ceej and Em. This blogger suggests Grad School Barbie would make an excellent Christmas gift. Here’s this teaser from the post:

Every Graduate School Barbie comes with these fun-filled features guaranteed to delight and entertain for hours: Grad School Barbie comes out of the box with a big grin on her face that turns into a frown after 2 weeks or her first advisor meeting (whichever comes first). Read more here! You will be so glad you did! 

If you have any friends in graduate school, please send them the blog post from Ceej and Em today! It will make everything a bit easier for them to know that a special Barbie was designed with them in mind.

As for my daughter – I am so proud of her fried cerebellum, her overactive tear ducts, and her tenacity. Day after day of putting fingers to keyboard and typing out one word at a time; reviewing the manuscript for one more look at her citations; existing on coffee and adrenaline; and producing a thesis all while going through the upheaval in Cairo is remarkable. She has endured sleepless nights from gunshots and fires in the street, she has been housebound some days, and unable to get to her house on others because of rioting in the streets and she has done it all without her mom. Evidence of how little I am needed? I like to think it’s evidence of her tough spirit!

So join me by drinking a glass of Proseco, (or sparkling cider!) as I celebrate her fried cerebellum and a well-earned Masters Degree.

A Happy Weekend to all!

17 thoughts on “Fried Cerebellum and a Master’s Degree

  1. Oh yeah. She’s stubborn, too.

    Congragulations to you all! What an emotional roller-coaster and tremendous accomplishment.


    1. Thanks so much – I have to say, despite the fried cerebellum and other symptoms of getting a Master’s Degree, I’m a bit jealous! Have you ever been to Cairo? It’s a remarkable city. We will go on December 21st to visit. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.


  2. Wishing Annie well on Monday. I read about grad school Barbie and identified FAR too much with PhD Masochist Barbie. My grad school wounds are still fresh. I exited with a degree, a great deal of valuable knowledge/experience and also some very real damage to my soul. Annie is in good company with all the suffering grad students around the world, although I admit doing it in a place like Cairo right now makes her journey even more impressive. Go Annie, go!


    1. Oh…the line that made me saddest was the damage to your soul. The post didn’t mention that was a possibility. I think the best thing, for me, about the post was realizing that everything I have seen and heard is normal. That was huge for me. Thanks for the cheerleading! It means more from one who knows. Thanks also for reading and commenting.


  3. Marilyn Many congratulations to Annie, wonderful news. But I am sure she has learnt so much much more than was taught at the University. The kind of knowledge that makes you wiser and stronger but for which no degrees are given.


    1. Keep on praying for Monday!! But you are so right – the life learning is so much greater than the classroom learning. I keep on wondering what it would have been like had she gone to grad school in the U.S. She would have missed so much….Thank you so much for your continued friendship and support!


  4. Wonderful news! Congratulations to Annie! I’ve been praying for her writing and am so happy for her (and you!) that she has finished it. We’ll be thinking and praying for her especially on Mon. I love the Graduate School Barbie blurb! I have to get an email off to her.


  5. I celebrate Annie with such joy . . . and I celebrate her parents as well!! How proud you must all be! Annie, way to go!!!!! What you have accomplished is truly remarkable.


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