Holy Moly. I'm defending my dissertation on April 13, a mere six weeks from now. I hardly know what to expect, how to prepare for it, and I can't even really believe I'm so close to done. Soon everyone will have to call me Dr. Jezebella. First I think I need to call everyone I know who has defended recently and get the full scoop, assuming they haven't blocked it out.
I've pretty much blocked out my comprehensive orals, most of them. I remember looking down the table at 5 white guys in ties, and wondering how I'd ended up with such a white male committee. I remember realizing after the fact that one professor said I had "obviously" done previous research on the topic I chose for my pre-columbian written portion, but I *hadn't* and I didn't have the nerve to say so. It took a while for it to register, I guess, and the topic had moved on by the time it did.
My only advice coming from the whole orals experience was 1. wear glasses (they make you look & therefore feel smarter) and 2. bring a bottle of water to swig from. this gives you something to do if you need to stall while thinking of an answer.