I wish I had an actual theme for this, or a specific subject to talk about. Instead, this post is probably going to be all over the place, so be warned.
Yesterday was a very, very, important day for me, as I finally received a long-awaited email from my external examiner saying that she had signed off on all my corrections, and I was officially done with my Doctorate in Philosophy (aka PhD). To many people in my life this was expected, a mere formality, something trivial compared to everything else I’d been through trying to complete this fucker (pardon my French). But to me it wasn’t. The first three years of this was absolutely normal: endless hours of studying, researching, and then writing. My first viva on October 13th 2010 is where it all started. From that day until yesterday… actually I think I’m still experiencing remnants of those feelings (like the phantom limb syndrome), so I’ll rephrase… from that day I have been consumed by alternating feelings of: despair, hopelessness, corrosive guilt, brief glimpses of pride and awesomeness, inadequacy, failure, and well, you get the point.
Due to some unfortunate and complicated circumstances that were beyond my control I essentially had to almost completely rewrite my thesis. The inside joke between me and my supervisor was that I’d have one PhD but two theses to show for it. Haha is what followed that statement, but invisible tears and unheard screams were hiding behind my confident-looking facade. Both of these occasionally escaped, of course, the last outburst being the moment I hit sent and submitted the final second version.
All is well that ends well, right? No, my dear. Those 2 1/2 years I spent working two jobs, studying, researching and writing a second PhD thesis were not… well. They were the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and they included some of the worst days of my life. So that email yesterday, it was not a formality. It was proof. Proof of what I’d done and what I had achieved. And I swear to God that diploma is going up on the wall in a neon frame (not really, that’s just kitschy, but again… you know what I mean).
What now, then? Well, funny story. The PhD was many things… including one of the finest excuses I could use in order to get out of doing other things, such as writing and looking for another job. But the jig is now looking upward, and I am left sitting at my desk, pairing my fingernails and looking around while whistling an incomprehensible tune.
…can’t a girl catch a break?
Innumerable comeback cliches are circling my head as I ask the question, but the brutally honest answer that’s flashing in front of me is: NO. Not if you want to get anything done.
‘No rest for the wicked‘ they say, and I am very wicked indeed 🙂