Philippa’s Blog – 04 February 2014

The light at the end of the tunnel

Doing a PhD is a privilege in many ways. If you’re funded, you’re being paid to learn. You get to organise your schedule on your own terms and choose the hours during which you sit at your desk. You can apply for lots of funding to go on conferences, some of which are in very nice locations. If you’ve picked your own research topic, you really are in charge of your own stuff – you’re the engineer behind the whole machine and about as far away from being the humble cog as it could possibly get.

But, I have found this final year of my PhD incredibly challenging, as I’ve explained in the past. This is partly because I’ve been really keen to finish ASAP and perhaps put more pressure on myself than was really necessary. And, I lost faith in the idea that it would ever actually get handed in. As much as this might sound daft to an outsider, when you’ve gone through so many drafts of something and there still isn’t any indication that this might be the last time, the whole thing begins to seem like Groundhog Day.

I think I’ve also struggled because doing a PhD is hard. It really does require an awful lot of perseverance. Happily, I seem to be on my final edits now. I’ve already ploughed through two chapters, making the changes suggested by my supervisor and employing a fine tooth comb to check my expression and referencing. That means there are seven still to do, and then all the submission requirements to go through. But, given that the end might actually be nigh, I’ve begun to see the good aspects of doing this PhD again. I just hope I don’t change my mind before I’ve revised the remaining chapters; and I really, really hope that I don’t fail my viva!

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