Sometimes, having to explain yourself is just far too much frustration to bear…in fact, often it’s just overwhelmingly nonsensical. And repeatedly having to do so, has no words to express the associated exasperation. There are a couple of sore points in my life right now…which to some people just appear to be hot topics. I don’t want to talk about them, so stop asking me! It’s really just as simple as that!
I’ve been working hard at trying to round up the rest of my missing data for my first results chapter…which is due very soon. But for some reason…everything that was working perfectly smoothly (up until now) has decided that it would much rather not cooperate with me. Of course not. I’m at a stage…where although panic is lurking closely…I’m still trying to keep positive and move forward. If only that weren’t so difficult for the people in my life to understand. Guys, I’m doing a PhD…it’s worse than a standard 9-5 job…it requires my full attention at all times. Like a child (don’t even get me started on that). If I have to work 12 hours in the lab…yes I will be tired, yes I will be hungry and cranky, but at the end of the day, if it means that I’m one step closer to completing my PhD on time…then why the heck not!
Is it so hard to understand that what I do requires time? My experiments aren’t going to magically run themselves, and they certainly won’t run any quicker than the minimum three hours. So why can’t you just support me, instead of questioning my choices? Is it not bad enough that I question my choices everyday? I don’t need someone else (with no experience of it!) to question me also!
Having to explain a PhD time frame is almost equally as bad. I have chapters due, for that I need data. Once my data is collected, it requires analysis and compilation in the form of a chapter (something we all struggle to juggle). Then it needs to be sent to the DoS, who then sends feedback at will and requires you to proceed, and send to the rest of your supervisory team. Following all the ping backs, the final amended version is once again sent to the DoS who then advises on final revisions. This process continues for each of your chapters. For me, that’ll be 7. If the team decide that the data is not good enough, that means going back to the lab and repeating, which could add weeks, if not months onto the time frame. After everyone is happy with everything, the thesis is then submitted for examination. A 6 week period is required before a Viva date can be set, following this period, the examination can take place. During this point…there is endless panic and often questioning of one’s knowledge regarding their subject matter and of course all the doubts and imperfections become amazingly apparent. In a Viva, the external examiner is sure to put you through paces…(and hopefully not murder the tiny scientist that you are), and following the hours of interrogation, you are most likely to be told to make amendments. Once again, these may be minor (only writing issues) or major (which may require going back to the lab). Once the revisions have once again been submitted, you can then inform registry of graduation. And since graduation is usually only twice a year, and you need to have informed registry at least 2 months before the graduating period…you’ll have to wait. And of course, during this entire time, you’ll have either have already found yourself a job, or be busy finding yourself one, or finally writing those papers your DoS has been asking for. That is the administrative aspect of completing a PhD. I don’t even have time to discuss the scientific and emotional ups and downs experienced. But as you can tell…it’s stressful as it is, without the addition of people asking “why are you in lab so late?”, “when are you going to get married and have a life?” Seriously! I don’t care enough about the answer to those questions! All I’m going to say is that for now, I just want to finish and get a job!
PS. Sorry for the rant. I’ve just had a lot of very unhelpful questioning lately, and to be quite frank…it’s draining having to repeatedly explain yourself. And of course, I enjoy ranting on here, far more therapeutic than snapping at people…which I’ve been doing a lot of lately. Sorry, you know who you are. Also, the above (regarding the admin of PhD completion) is specific to my institution and may vary to others.