Spring 2009—Friday Evening, 11 p.m.
I stare at the last sentence of my dissertation on the computer screen. After seven years of courses and research the deadline is a week away and I’m done. I made it. I should be ecstatic. I should go out and throw back a few beers with my friends and really celebrate my accomplishment. All the years of hard work, meticulous data collection, sophisticated statistical techniques, and logical argumentation have finally paid off. I will receive a PhD from Yale. Which was my goal all along, right? Then why do I feel so unsatisfied?
My best friend Elliot, who is working on his own dissertation in Philosophy, and who lives next door, knocks on my door. “Come in,” I say. He walks ...