ISSN : 2266-6060

Witnesses

these

Before that one, there were lots of documents. Drafts, notes, outlines rewritten again and again, annual forms, conference proceedings, academic papers, versions, slides. Tons of e-mails. A few weeks before that day, the dissertation itself had been printed and sent to examiners. They sent back their reports. The oral presentation had been meticulosity composed, and another set of slides.
On the d-day, everyone came up with an annotated version of the thesis, some of which were even decorated with small colored bookmarks. Each examiner also had her or his own remarks written before the eyes. We wrote new ones during the presentation and the discussion.
After that, we discussed for a while, everybody came back in the room and the chief examiner said what she had to say. The student in front of us was now a philosophæ doctor. At least in the perspective of J. Austin who insisted on the things we can do with words. But was she, really? Not right now, or not entirely. Some paperwork still had to be done. The final report, above all, and our five signatures. Just like for a wedding, these last documents, with our names on it, would allow to spread the news. To prove it, in fact, and to give certain rights to the brand new Ph. D. They would be witnesses, always ready to testify about what happened on that day and to show what kind of person the student would be from now on.