I've been in school as a student for almost all of my life up till now. While that's a relatively normal thing for younger people, the older you get, the rarer and rarer it is.

Finally, on Monday I went through the ceremony which marked the end of my tenure as a student who is actually enrolled in school, and the beginning of my tenure as a student who happens to also contribute to and convey knowledge. That's right, I've finally managed to finish my PhD in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology. It's been a while getting here, but with my dissertation completed and accepted by graduate division, my defence completed, and finally being hooded by my major professor, I'm done!

Getting my PhD has resolved a few fundamental dilemas that I've always had. First, I now know what to put in that pesky "Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss/Dr" field. Before, Ms. was technically correct, but no one apparently knows that means Master and confuses it with an abbreviation for Miss. Now I just put Dr., and no more confusion. Second, dealing with pretentious people and physicians who insist on being called Doctor becomes easier. I can now ignore their silly titles with impunity. [And yes, those of you who haven't spent an eternity in the ivory tower should just call me Don anyway.] Next, I now have the covetous union card that enables me to teach at instutitions of higher learning.

Unfortunatly, that also means that I no longer qualify for student discounts anywhere. Of course, I must admit that lately the people at movie theaters have been looking at me askance when I ask for a student discount. I'll have to wait 36 more years until I qualify for the senior discount.