Countdown to a PhD: Keeping it together with 2 weeks to go…

Yep, you read that right. As of tomorrow I will have 14 days till I plan to hand in. My official deadline is now the 15th April (supervisor’s advice was to give myself 2 extra weeks ‘just in case’) BUT I am planning on sticking to the original deadline of the end of March. Once you’ve factored in the bank holidays that accompany Easter, this means I will be handing in Thursday 24th March. So how am I ‘keeping it together’ with two weeks to go?

Well, it turns out you keep learning right up to the end of your PhD experience. I know that might sound like an obvious statement but you’d have thought that by the time you are in the final throws of your edits, learning would be over. Wrong. The latest thing my thesis is teaching me (and yes, it is as if its a living breathing thing ,passing on its own wisdom now), is how to deal with finishing a 3year project, practically (editing, making time for appendices, binding etc.) but also psychologically (grieving for the looming loss of something that has been an all consuming part of my life).

The fact that I will, very shortly, no longer have my cubby-hole desk to work at, will no longer be in the department everyday, will no longer be engaging in the daily banter and chat that occurs in the office, is all very suddenly extremely real.

I am about to be thrust out into the real world of archaeology.

Having finally learnt to ignore the ‘imposter syndrome’ feeling all PhD’s experience, I will suddenly have to learn to have confidence in myself in a whole new environment. I have spent the past 7 years in academia and the past 4 in the same department. Moving on from my PhD is therefore feeling like a massive life change, which is exactly what it is.

I do know that the experience of my PhD has not only given me the skills I need to function as a professional in my discipline, both in the academic and commercial worlds, but it has also taught me the skills I need to move into this next part of my life. A life removed from the relatively safe world of a student.

I am excited about a change, and, more importantly, I am ready for it (forcing myself to make more edits everyday is getting increasingly difficult).

Bring it on world.

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