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Just a quick (and possibly tres boring) PhD update. Many of you have been kind enough to ask what's happening, so here it is.
I am handing in a complete draft to my supervisor tomorrow. Hopefully, she will say it's almost ready for submission, in which case, I shall be very happy. The last draft I handed in needed substantial and tanty-inducing major surgery, so I'm slightly worried. There is a chance she may say, "Off with your head!" but I think that's only in my nightmares...
This has been a really tough and emotionally draining time, actually. I have really enjoyed most of my candidature, but lately everything seems to be that much harder. Having an entire book in your head, and trying to balance everything is just plain hard. I'm also finding it really hard being out with lots of people - they invariably ask (nicely, of course) where I'm up to, and I get anxious and stutter about PhDs being hard. It is one of those things I suspect only other PhDs really understand. I also have no good stories to tell, except "chapter one is looking better". It's like I'm a mother who can only talk about her child's progress, except the child is an inanimate object who is not nearly as cute as you'd hope for a three and a half year gestation period.
In many ways, I don't know how I expected anything different, but I think I hoped my OCD organisational skills might, like garlic to vampires, ward off this pain. Turns out there is no such thing as PhD-garlic. Nothing can ward off the end stages - it's like adolescence, or something. (The metaphors are getting weirder as the post continues. Sorry.)
Coupled with the immense stress of handing-in, there is also a crushingly awful, "but what do I do with my life now?"-feeling that is at best quite exciting, and at worst, really overwhelming. I know all the things I'm good at and that I care about, but am having lots of trouble seeing what a job would look like that used these skills and inclinations. I know I will find something (and look back on this blog entry with annoying smugness) and I know I should just trust that, but it is scary.
But the upside is that I can almost taste what freedom might feel like! After having worked every day (and a lot of nights) of this last month, I am looking forward to reading the paper on Saturdays, to meeting up with friends, to not having a knot in my stomach all the time, to starting a hundred new craft projects I've been thinking about and generally remembering how to relax.
And in excellent news, The Pal (who has been sensationally supportive and all-round lovely) received some great news on Friday. Turns out he has won the Uni Medal for being a good egg, so there's lots to celebrate. (It's actually the Uni Medal for Insanely High Marks for Years and Years, but same same, in my book.) It's also been a fun excuse to ring him and ask to speak to the medallist. Little things, right?!
So, thank you for your lovely words and support - I will hopefully be done in the next (ahem) few weeks. Will keep you posted. xx