It’s Dr. EPF, Thankyouverymuch!

I successfully defended my PhD on Wednesday.


about 30 minutes post-defense


Grad school is over (almost).


It’s only barely starting to sink in that the event that I’ve been working toward for six years has finally occurred and that I’m FREE!


The defense itself went well, I think.  I prepared HARD for my presentation and it was pretty good by the time I gave it (given the material, of course).  My committee didn’t grill me or anything and everyone was very collegial.


I have been working so incredibly hard over the past couple months.  It’s not just been the time I spent actively working, but I felt like I couldn’t do anything social because I should be working.  I basically put my life on hold for the whole summer and I’m so ready to break out and make the most of the remaining time.


I do have a bit of work left to finish up my time at my university – some minor edits of my dissertation, submitting a paper, getting rid of all my chemicals and other stuff, and helping pack up the lab for the big move.  I plan to have all my dissertation and personal stuff taken care of within the next couple weeks, and then as soon as the lab is all packed and clean I won’t really have a reason to come to work any more!  I’m being paid through the end of August but I’m kind of hoping everything will be completed earlier since the move is happening mid-month.


A few months ago I made a list of all the things I would get to do when my defense was over.  I’m so excited to reconnect with friends, clean and declutter our house, resume blogging, get back to my healthy eating and exercise practices, develop and launch my other online projects, resume volunteering with our church, gain some career experience, and take a vacation.  Oh, and look for a full-time job (eventually).  I’m orchestrating a smooth transition of winding down my grad school obligations and ramping up my funemployment activities.


Oh, and what I’m probably MOST excited about is shedding “Mrs.” in favor of “Dr.”!  (That’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but… yeah, it’s real.)  I took Kyle’s last name when we got married and “Mrs. Hislastname” has never sat well with me (that’s my MIL!).  I’m so glad I never have to use that title again!


What was your latest big accomplishment?  Do you have any plans for the remainder of the summer?


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36 Responses to "It’s Dr. EPF, Thankyouverymuch!"

  1. Carol says:

    Congratulations big time. This must be a milestone in your life. I understand the feeling of your studies or project being your life. But a result like this makes it all worth it. I am sure you are in mixed feeling right now. One hurdle is over but there will be new ones almost immediately. I hope you find the work you dreamed of. Good luck.
    Carol recently posted..What Can You Learn from an Auto Thief?

    1. Emily says:

      I’d say it’s the third biggest day of my life so far, after my religious conversion and my wedding. 🙂 It will bump to fourth after we have a baby, I think. Thanks for your well wishes.

  2. Mrs. PoP says:

    Congrats, Emily. =) Good luck wrapping everything up and starting on your job search.
    Mrs. PoP recently posted..How To Plan A Major DIY Renovation

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! I think I’ll take a month or two to find freelance work/internships, but I want to have a few months off before I start my FT job search.

  3. Alicia says:

    Many Congratulations, Dr! Take the rest of this week off, and then hit the lab for chemical clean-up. I slept so well the night after my defence 🙂 Cannot wait until you get back to blogging a bit more. I’ve missed you around the PF community 🙂
    Alicia recently posted..Credit Card 2 is GONE!

    1. Emily says:

      I’ve missed you as well and the PF community generally. And non-scientific writing. We had some plans for right after my defense so I think we’re going to have a celebration next weekend. I don’t want to lose too much momentum, though, and just power through these edits.

  4. E 2 says:

    Many congratulations! Enjoy some well-earned relaxation, and good luck with whatever comes next! And I know exactly what you mean about wanting to be Dr. instead of Mrs. – especially when your husband is Dr. already. It motivates me to keep going 🙂

    1. Emily says:

      Thankfully I only had to endure 2.5 months of “Dr. and Mrs. EPF.” Kyle told everyone how much I hate it so some people made a point to use it. 🙂 I hope they will now switch to “The Doctors EPF.” It was definitely motivating to try to catch up with Kyle. Good luck to you as well at the end of this long long journey!

  5. Leigh says:

    Congratulations Emily!!!

    I have no plans to change my last name when I get married and will continue to go by Ms., so I understand why you would prefer to not use Mrs. 🙂
    Leigh recently posted..I might keep my Barclaycard Arrival

    1. Emily says:

      I definitely got my distaste for “Mrs.” and especially “Mrs. Hislastname” from my mom. She didn’t take her husband/my dad’s last name and has always gone by Ms. I actually always used Ms. professionally but it’s hard to control what other people call you when they know you’re married! Thankfully no one really uses titles in academia. I also never planned to change my last name until about halfway through our engagement and it took me a looooooooong time to get comfortable with my new name. But now that we both have doctorates I think it’s kind of fun and different that we share a last name and can go by “Dr. Kyle and Dr. Emily EPF” or “the Doctors EPF” since most dual-PhD married couples we know have different last names.

  6. Congratulations!!! PhD is so awesome!!!!!!! I agree I’m not comfortable with Mrs. either.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted..Back from the Funk

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! Part of my dislike for Mrs. is that it seems unfair that men can use titles without signifying whether or not they are married but it’s so tricky for women. I’m glad I have a fully marital status- and gender-neutral title to use now to avoid discrimination.

  7. ervinshiznit says:

    Congratulations!!! Being a PhD student myself, I understand how hard you’ve worked to get here!

    1. Ashley says:

      I’m also a PhD student. Hats off to you, Emily!!

      1. Emily says:

        Thanks and thanks for your comment! I love when PhD students come out of the woodwork and comment. 🙂

    2. Emily says:

      It has been a long process and VERY busy at the end. Best of luck to you in progressing well and eventually ending it!

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you thank you! 🙂

  8. Congratulations Emily! Your effort has been paid off!
    Marie @ My Personal Finance Journey recently posted..3 Changes to Your Finances When You Get Married

    1. Emily says:

      Yes, and I hope there will be years of dividends to come.

  9. Kelly says:

    I saw you and Kyle leaving campus on Weds afternoon as I was leaving the parking deck. I wanted to yell out my window to see how it went, but you guys were a little too far away. Figured it must be good news as you were smiling and chatting with Kyle 🙂 congrats again to you Dr Emily EPF!

    1. Emily says:

      I hope I got the email announcement out fast enough that you weren’t in suspense for too long. 🙂 Thank you!

  10. […] grad student to a postdoc, meaning that we need to bump up our retirement contributions.  However, I’ll be unemployed after August, so we’ll have to reduce our retirement contributions.  How exactly to adjust our retirement […]

  11. Congrats!!! This is such a huge accomplishment and the culmination of literally decades of hard work. You should feel incredibly proud of the work and effort you put into the entire process. My cousin just recently received the hard copy version of her dissertation and I was shocked at how much she had done. I could only handle that type of workload through my undergraduate degree. I did not have the energy to keep going. Congrats on doing it!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted..Music Mondays – Least Complicated

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! I hadn’t though about it that way but yeah, I’m finally done with school (most likely??) after… 25 years including preschool. Plus a year of relevant work experience. Wow.

      I just ran my parents through my defense presentation over the weekend and trying to explain it all to them really showed me how far I’ve progressed from a layperson’s knowledge of the subject. The experience of looking through old data to write my dissertation also clarified how competent I’ve become at the techniques I use. Too bad I’m not likely to use them again. 🙁

  12. […] of the benefits I’m losing as I transition out of graduate school is free access to my university’s gym.  Apparently the graduate school no longer completely pays […]

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  14. Tarynkay says:


    My mother-in-law has a doctorate and her husband does not. She really enjoys it when people refer to them as “the Dr and Mr Lastname.

    I LOVE the title Mrs. I wish more people would call me Mrs. Lastname, it just doesn’t come up that much. Most people do not get referred to by titles anymore. I also really like sharing that name with my husband’s grandmother and aunts (his mom has a different last name.) I don’t know, that is weird of me, I guess. I just feel like I really chose his name to share, whereas I just got stuck with my father’s.

    1. Emily says:

      That’s a healthy perspective. I had a lot of identity issues about changing my last name, so I guess I felt more ownership over the one I was born with than the one I was choosing. The other part that bothered me (and still does, but what can you do) is that Kyle has a super common, generic American-sounding last name, so I feel practically anonymous with that last name paired with one of the most popular girls names of the last few decades. :/

      Ummm yeah your PILs should always be addressed as Dr. and Mr.! What fun! But like you said, titles aren’t very commonly used, at least verbally.

  15. SP says:

    Belated congratulations!!!

    I took my husband’s name, but if I’m asked (i.e. if I’m filing out some contact for that has choices), I go by Ms. instead of Mrs. But I don’t really care. The only thing I hate is when we get mail addressed to Mr. And Mrs. HisFirstName OurLastName. I understand it is “proper” and I forgive it for wedding invites and/or grandmothers. Other than that, please just don’t!

    So, a bit envious of “Dr.” Too bad the “Master” title isn’t really a thing 🙂

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! 🙂

      That is interesting that the aspect of married addresses that you don’t like is having your first name omitted. I actually don’t mind that as much as Mrs., though I guess going forward with the doctorate my first name can’t be omitted…? I think we have to be “The Doctors EPF” or “Drs. Kyle and Emily EPF.” Having your name omitted does feel like you’re anonymous/interchangeable with any other woman. 🙁

      I think Master should be a title as well… but distinct from the root of “Mr.” 🙂 My friends in our university’s M.Div program love joking about becoming “masters of divinity.”

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  17. […] #2: I defended and became funemployed. The major change was going from having a salary to earning a much lower […]

  18. […] didn’t quite know it at the time, but last fall, just after my PhD defense, I started a business teaching early-career PhDs about personal finance. (Well, for a related […]

  19. […] We thought he would graduate and move to that position before I graduated, but it turned out that I defended only a couple months after he did, and he stuck around in his PhD advisor’s lab to finish up a […]

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