And they think it’s all over…it is now…well, almost…
So, here it is…the culmination of nearly four years (less two days) of physics research. Somehow, despite having mumps (didn’t have time to blog about that), nanna being in and out of hospital, having to help tidy nanna’s house after burst pipes resulted not only in a flood but also a ceiling cave-in at her bungalow (thankfully when she wasn’t there), it got done. As the deadline loomed, my supervisor’s encouragement was followed by stronger encouragement – to work faster. Combined with a tardy fear of failure, the ensuing productivity surge blasted me through the 212-page document.
This stack of bound paper which had daunted me since the start of the PhD had suddenly materialised in duplicate. I’d not felt such a sense of achievement since I finished my undergraduate degree four years previously. However, finishing the PhD was entirely different: my life was carrying on like the train in a Tom-and-Jerry cartoon; the tracks for GCSEs, A-Levels and my undergraduate degree were already laid down, but the PhD was the box of spare track pieces Tom would be seen to hurriedly lay in front of the train in an effort to stop it hurtling off the rails and into the unbound expanse of the room beyond. I’d run out of spare pieces, and to buy any more would come at tremendous cost (i.e. the cost of tuition fees with no student loan to assist with living costs).
Of course, it’s not quite all over yet, as there’s still a viva to go. Perhaps I should have let myself enjoy the elation from submitting a little longer than I did, but I made the mistake of looking up viva advice the very next day and completely terrifying myself. Also, due to space issues I had to clear my desk earlier than planned, and the social network built up over the past few years seemed to fizzle out alarmingly quickly, as my office mates departed to their homes across the country. This doesn’t just feel like the end of a course…this is the end of an era.