Woah. What a journey. My PhD is done. I have come to the end of my PhD journey. This week my thesis corrections were approved and I received a confirmation email of my PhD award. I’ve been meaning to write something for a while now, but as it hasn’t really felt like the end, I didn’t know what to write. I still doesn’t feel real though!
PhD Student 2017-2023
I started my PhD journey at Coventry University in January 2017, and it’s definitely been quite the journey. I really didn’t think I could do it and sometimes didn’t know if I even wanted to do it. But I persevered, one day at a time with the support of my friends, family and supervisory team.
I really enjoyed the start of my PhD. I loved being a student again, getting involved in all the workshops, becoming a student union rep, and doing research. Of course, there were ups and downs, including a very dark place in my PhD journey in 2019, but I managed to get through it.
After suspending my studies for almost a year, I returned part-time at the beginning of 2020. Even through lockdowns, found joy in things other than my PhD, including volunteering and working in other research roles. Part-time worked really well for me, having time away from my PhD, space to think and time to enjoy life outside my PhD (read about my part-time journey on Thriving Part-Time). Before I knew it, I was making progress, I’d collected all my data, analysed my data and was writing up chapters. Of course, while I was in it, it was not that simple, it was hard, gruelling, and stressful, and more often than not, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But,… slowly and surely the thesis became an actual written thesis.
In October 2022 I submitted my thesis and in December 2022 I passed my viva voce examination with minor corrections. I took a nice long holiday to Australia over Christmas and when I returned, I started my Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. My corrections didn’t take me long to do, but I put off submitting for while. I submitted them in March 2023.
I celebrated all the milestones, each submission, and each step to finishing. At each stage, the PhD journey didn’t really feel finished yet. It was very anticlimactic as there was still something else to do or to check off. After submission, there was the viva, after the viva, there were corrections, after the corrections, I waited for them to be accepted and approved. Even now, it still doesn’t feel real that it’s all finished. It feels like I’m in a dream or I’ve fallen asleep halfway through a movie and missed something really important to understand the ending. I wonder if at graduation I might have some kind of breakthrough (or breakdown) that it’s actually all completely done.
Nevertheless, I am really proud of myself for finishing my PhD and getting to the end of my PhD journey. Yes, it is surreal, but I actually did it. I got through it!
Yes, doing a PhD was hard, and no, I would not do it again. But I’ve learnt a lot on this journey, personally and professionally, and I am grateful for that.
I am very grateful to have secured a 2-year postdoctoral Research Fellow position at Coventry University in the Centre for Intelligent Healthcare. I am working on a project which continues from my PhD research.
Watch this space for more posts on Dr Laura Wilde’s academic endeavours and I have some thesis tips to share soon. Follow my blog to receive email updates!
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