Look! It’s real! I’ve got a PhD!
The certificate came in the post a few days ago. The Lord of Longitude & I celebrated with a glass of prosecco or three.
I’m proud to have stuck it out and weathered all the doubt and anxiety, but it’s weird. I don’t feel any different. I’m not sure what I expected – to suddenly be able to quote Heidegger with perfect understanding, maybe, or to summarize my thesis in 50 words or less first time? That definitely hasn’t happened. Still the same old tangle of questions, still the same old self-consciousness at using words like ‘interiority’ (what my thesis was about, ffs!).
The LoL rolls his eyes when I say this. ‘All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again.’ Welcome to the club.
When I was having trouble summing up my research, my supervisor said to me, ‘Imagine what you would say if someone held a loaded gun to your head, and you had to finish the sentence “My thesis is…” or they’d shoot you.’
It didn’t work. All I could think was – as I wailed to the LoL afterwards, ‘My thesis is… oh just shoot me now!’
But my beloved is wise, and he said ‘Imagine you have a plate of scones in front of you: fresh strawberries, clotted cream, the works. And you can have them all if you just finish the sentence.’
And off I went. ‘My thesis is-‘ And I finished the sentence.
If you are also labouring up the PhDface, I wish you fortitude. It’s a tough climb, but it can be done. You’ll make it – good luck!