An end has a start

Having just finished writing my EngD thesis you would be forgiven for thinking I had had enough of writing. Submitting the thesis was really only the start of the end as I’m sure a lot of others found. It seems to be never ending!

Submitting
On the 21st of August 2012 I parted company with my thesis and handed it over to the research office. I then went home and had a nap. I got an A5 self-completed piece of paper to mark the occasion. I felt empty.

It wasn’t the anticlimax I had been warned that it might be, but it was disappointing. I’d worked my butt off to get it in on time and that A5 bit of paper was all I got. I did feel relief for about two weeks (probably exhaustion), then was back to having under lying stress about the viva.

Thesis Submitted Aug 2012

Thesis Submitted Aug 2012

Pre-viva
You know the nagging feeling that you should be working whenever you are doing anything else, yeah? That. It was back. As soon as I had sorted out a new job and found myself back in gainful employment, the thesis started to creep back into my lunchtimes, evenings and weekends.

I started to read “How to survive your viva” by Rowena Murray about 3 weeks before the actual event. The preparation suggests starting 3 months before the viva but I didn’t have such a luxury. Personally, I found the book both helpful and intimidating in equal measures.

Parts I found especially helpful were the checklist (similar to this one), viva pack suggestions and the suggestions for the day before/morning off the viva. Some of these may seem obvious when you first read them but once the stress kicks in nothing is obvious. I would recommend reading it, particularly if you have never seen another viva. I think it can definitely help neutralise the fear of the unknown many students have.

Viva
Where do I start! I think this needs a post of its own…

Post-viva
Immediately after the viva I excused myself and made it halfway down the corridor before I cried. It was a mix of joy but mainly relief. I’d passed with minor corrections, which is what I had been aiming for. I only know of one person that passed with no corrections, it is a extraordinarily rare feat.

The first thing I wanted to do was phone my family but I had to wait a while before I could talk to them. I managed a sneaky text to my boyfriend but that was it. What I actually did was have lunch with my supervisor and two of my examiners which allowed some of the discussion to continue afterwards. Then I walked back to Uxbridge with a smile on my face a jumped on the tube home. That evening I had a couple of drinks with some friends and the next day I was back at work. I always find it interesting to hear what people do after their viva…

Now
I have four main corrections to complete, plus some little text changes, but I feel very detached from the whole thing. My corrections are due to arrive next week while I’m away on holiday and then I have four months to complete them. I think completing them will be difficult having not written properly in 3 months. I’m going to use AcWriMo to help me keep me motivated and complete them by Christmas. I want 2013 to start thesis free.

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4 responses to “An end has a start

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