As graduation season came to a close this week, 29-year-old Kaitlin Ward was thrilled to receive an honorary PhD from Princeton University for her extensive and exemplary research into her ex’s new girlfriend, Stephanie.
Professors at Princeton’s esteemed School For Social Sciences applauded Kaitlin’s deep dive into Steph’s various social media accounts, and commended her commitment to researching the accounts of all of Steph’s friends, family members and coworkers. No stone was left unturned as Kaitlin submitted an oral history of Steph’s work trip to Greece, and a formal analysis of why she was going vegan “for health reasons.”
Kaitlin’s research began after receiving a generous grant from her parents to help with expenses following a breakup from longtime boyfriend, Josh. “But once Josh got a new girlfriend, I knew I was going to quit my job and use all my resources to just really Google the shit out of her.”
Through her research, Kaitlin uncovered an incredibly rich and complex narrative, including that Steph “liked” all of Gotye’s music videos on YouTube and that she shared that fake Facebook privacy post four times over the course of a single year. And even though Kaitlin and Steph were not friends on Facebook, the information Kaitlin gleaned through a few public posts was unprecedented in the academic sphere.
“The way in which Kaitlin investigated the dichotomy between Steph’s Instagram presence and her Facebook output was staggering,” says Professor Helen Mulroney from the School For Social Sciences, “and her rigorous footnote explanation into the boy Steph started dating after her 2015 Birthright trip to Israel — backed up entirely by evidence found on Venmo — is truly breathtaking.”
Kaitlin’s research spans an impressive swath of time, beginning with Steph’s very first Friendster account and including Okcupid profiles, Spotify playlists and arrest records.
“Once I started, I couldn’t stop,” says Ward. “I was uncovering so many unbelievable details that made me hate Steph and then love her and then respect her and then ultimately hate her because she’s dating Josh and she can honestly eat shit I hate her so much.”
The newly minted Dr. Ward is looking forward to putting her PhD to good use by continuing to check each and every one of Steph’s social media accounts daily and by frequenting the coffee shop next to Steph’s work.
“At least until I start dating someone again and then can focus all my energy into getting married first.”