Dr Alice Violett
Book thoughts and PhD archive

Can I just be a doctor now, please?

I have reached that fabled stage of the PhD.  The one where you’re sick and bored of the sight and existence of the thesis.  The one where there’s no more fun to be had, no more original writing, reading, analysis or trips to the archive.  Just waiting to find out what I need to do with what I’ve written, and then editing, and then, more waiting, more editing, perhaps submission by then, then waiting for the viva.  It comes to something when you’re looking forward to your viva as a break in routine and an end to a phase of your life.

364 pages takes a hell of a long time to read, so for the last three and next two weeks, I’ve been/will be waiting for my supervisor’s comments on my first draft.  In the meantime, I don’t dare touch my draft in case I delete something that should stay (bar fixing typos I notice when I go in to extract information for conference papers).  I have had, and have, stuff to do, but of various shades of interestingness.  I’ve had marking to do, which I do find interesting, so long as I don’t do too much of it in one go.  I have to write a conference paper, which I’m finding tedious because it’s just using all the same old information from my thesis and, for some bits, other conference papers.  I expect my attempt to write an article will be a similar experience.  I haven’t got round to working on my biographical dictionary yet because OH GOD SO TEDIOUS.

I’m at the stage where I just want to get on with my life, really.  I’ve been bothered by thoughts that I’m not a proper adult because I’m in my late 20s and still live at home and haven’t had a proper job (which I know is irrational - disabled people, carers and people who decided to have kids early and a career later are adults!).  I don’t feel like I can apply for jobs yet because a) I don’t know exactly when I’ll be finishing my PhD or how much more work I need to do on it and b) I’m contracted to teach 6 more classes, hold 3 more office hours, and go through another two rounds of marking, taking me up to about June.  But damn, I want a full-time job, a shake-up of the routine, somewhere different to go and something different to do, a proper income.  I’m still worried that I won’t be able to get a job, but at this stage I’ve psyched myself up so much for the hell of unemployment that I just want to get on with it.  I have used the past few weeks to do things and go places I wouldn’t normally have time to do, but there’s this constant feeling of impatiently waiting for my life to finally begin.