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Leslie Rutkowski

Leslie Rutkowski

Education professor | U of Oslo, Norway | Class of 2005

Leslie Rutkowski didn’t spend five whole months in the main library while preparing her dissertation.

She’s pretty sure she stepped outside a time or two. And she has a vague recollection of sleeping in a bed at some point.

But besides that, it was all dissertation all the time for the future Norwegian college professor (MS '05/statistics; Ph.D. '07/educational psychology).

“My husband — also a Ph.D. student — and I were working furiously to finish our dissertations in the winter of 2007," she recalls. "We had both landed jobs in Germany that started in June and we had five months to finish our writing, submit, defend and move across the ocean.

"To keep my head on during this time, I checked out a carrel in the main library — all the way in the basement — where I could write uninterrupted. My husband did the same — two doors down the darkly lit hall.

"There was no cellular service, no Internet. Just me, my laptop and the clanking of steam pipes, which kept my cozy little carrel at about 80 degrees. An endless supply of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches kept me nourished.

"After a massive effort, I surfaced from my underground hideaway around mid-April, to a successful defense, and a whirlwind move abroad.”