A: I was creative! When I first met my professor, I was told that it normally required 2 years of study to complete a Masters degree, and 6 additional years for a doctorate, but I finished both degrees in 3 years and 9 months. I didn’t always enroll in the subjects recommended by my professor, which enabled me to spend more time in the laboratory working on my doctoral thesis.
Q: But didn't opting out of recommended coursework place your graduation in jeopardy?
A: That was a concern, because if the professor didn’t sign off on my thesis, I couldn’t receive my doctoral degree. So I secured letters from two other university professors well known in my field to help encourage my University of Aix-Marseilles professor to award my degree.
Q: Your strategy must have worked. Right?
A: Yes, because after the other professors read my thesis, they both offered to award me a doctorate degree at their universities, so it did help speed my University of Aix-Marseilles approval. That was selling. I sold myself by using smart business tactics. Thinking outside of the box.
Q: But this still doesn't fully explain how you were able to complete 8 years of graduate study in less than years. It seems like you were running an endurance race.
A: I did have a strong desire to complete my education and begin making scientific contributions in my field, so to me it was just another challenge that required hard work and self-discipline. And I did achieve my goal, but at a cost, because after successfully defending my thesis before the University of Aix-Marseilles thesis committee, later in the day I ended up in the hospital from exhaustion and a bleeding stomach. I spent the next 2 weeks recovering, and later discovered that I had a stomach ulcer which required surgery to correct.