For the past year her boss has been increasingly moody and distant and dissatisfied, so much so that he did not prepare her properly for the screening exam. Mary Margaret failed. It would be a year before she could take it again. All he had to say was that he was sorry. And, he said this to the department head, not to Mary Margaret. She heard it through the grapevine.
He ignored her questions, disregarded her experiments and subsequent analysis. When he did acknowledge her or her work it was unpleasantly critical.
"I'm stuck. This is so unfair," she wailed to friends. "I've always wanted to do brain cancer research, but there's no one else in my department available to take me on. He was a great boss when we started. I don't know why he changed and now I'm at the mercy of this yahoo."
"Let's get married," her boyfriend said. "I won't have any free time for five years once I start my residency. Please marry me the week I graduate medical school."
"I will. I love you," Mary Margaret said. The ring of her dreams was designed, the date set, a stunning gown selected, the hard work and intricacies of putting on a traditional Catholic wedding unfolded. There were a few arguments with parents but everything fell into place.
Mary Margaret readied to finish her degree. She emailed her boss. "You went AWOL," he emailed back. "No degree." Her university account was discontinued. She set up a personal gmail account. "I've done all the work. I deserve my degree," she pleaded via the new account. "I was getting married. You knew that."
"I don't care," he emailed back using his personal yahoo account. "You were %^*&^." (we won't give his words dignity in print)
She contacted the department head and her other professors, she offered to return to meet with him. They agreed, he was behaving in an unprofessional manner. Under pressure, he relented. She could receive a Master's Degree, the PH.D. was history. Mary Margaret would receive this reduced degree only after an in-person transfer of papers and his final approval at a later date at his discretion.