4th Year

One of the more common questions I’ve been asked since starting the PhD program is: How long does it take?

4 years (at LSU). Some programs are 5.



My hair all fell out the 1st year (2014-15).  I’ve mercifully escaped growing a full beard.

I couldn’t have made it this far without Mark. His support has been invaluable: he’s been Mr. Mom and Dr. Dad, schlepping kids all over North Louisiana during the week and running down I-49 most weekends to bring them down to see me when I couldn’t make it home.

He’s been on call 24-7 for over 1,000 days to discuss topics like post-earnings announcement drift, gamma prior distributions, auditor industry specialization, and general ‘what the (*%$^& does this mean’ questions with an often teary-eyed, exhausted and hairless woman with a passing resemblance to the woman who used to live with him.

Whenever my schedule changed because of an extra project or a last-minute assignment, he flexed like a master yogi and made it all work.


Mark could give The Buddha lessons on detachment.

This separation has been hard for us. Hard for the kids, the parents, the couple, the extended family– everybody.

We’re approaching the final lap in this race; our tires are bald, our tank is empty and we’re running on fumes. It seems like a crash is imminent. Unavoidable given all of the uncertainty.

And with all that it’s cost, this program has made me a better person. Given me sharper vision, clarity of purpose, and I’ve found an inner strength to persevere that I never knew I had.

best worst

Charles Dickens is one heck of a writer.

Charlie didn’t address the summer, and neither did the Bard. But I will. ‘Tis the summer of our repose. Well, except for the little matter of my dissertation proposal… which I have to defend before I can officially be ABD (all but dissertation) respite.


About Laura Alford, PhD

I'm a recent graduate of LSU (PhD in Accounting). In addition to academic research, I also write fiction on Tuesday nights with the Asilomar Writers.
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