Hello (again) World!

May 7, 2012

Ha ha! So much for my countdown to submission. I think that was probably a little optimistic what with the all-nighters and the fact that three days before submission my eyes and fingers were bleeding from reading and writing.

But I did submit on time – a statement that would have been less anti-climactic had I made it on the day of submission rather than 10 days later.

But I have only just started to feel that I can look at this computer again, having developed a hatred for it that almost rivals my hatred for Microsoft Word. I think the dislike was mutual as once the last superfluous comma was deleted and the last footnote checked, my laptop went on strike and I have only just been able to coax it into compliance. It might have been something to do with the twenty-gabillion software updates that I hadn’t been able to spare the time to install because that would have meant shutting down the forty or so bazillion tabs open in firefox, one of the (insert improbably large number) applications I had open at any one time. I imagine the poor laptop felt like I have felt for the last ten days – totally burned out.

The whole thing has felt a bit of anti-climax really. This is something I was prepared for. I reckon this is partially down to complete exhaustion followed by the limbo that is waiting for the viva. But also it’s because the last 3.5 years (and especially the last few months) have been so intensely focused on one thing that it takes more than a few days to adjust to the fact that it isn’t there anymore. I still feel guilty when I oversleep at weekends. I still hesistate before committing to arrangements with friends, still prefix the idea of everything I would like to do with the thought ‘When I finish the PhD…’*

Here’s some things I planned to do post-submission:

1) Go to Brighton for a couple of days in the sun (ha ha ha ha SUN!)

2) Binge-drink often and completely (until I feel as though I am vomiting my own eyeballs)

3) Spend time with friends who I have neglected horribly

4) Go on my friend’s hen do

5) Go and see my Grandma who I have also neglected

6) Make some scones

Here are some things I have actually done:

1) Watch rain from the window and wonder if I can make it to the shop for more packets of instant noodles without having to put plastic bags round my feet inside my poor broken boots

2) Sleep (I’m talking marathon sleeps here. I sleep for so long that I wake up severely dehydrated and my fingernails have started growing into the palms of my hands)

3) Not answered emails or texts or making plans with friends or drinking or doing anything remotely social in nature. Just no energy. I went for lunch with my brother and sis-in-law and felt as though I was watching a video of the three of us talking rather than participating in the conversation. Also it was raining and I had bags on my feet and when I got home I was so exhausted I slept for a further 12 hours.

4) Not gone on my friend’s hen do this weekend. It was a glamping (glamerous + camping = fun portmanteau) and although I’m not generally a big fan of the hen do, I think any other weekend I’d have really enjoyed it. But the others would have been out frolicking in the woods drinking champagne and building camp fires and I would have been asleep under a sleeping bag/pile of coats/pile of moss and dead leaves for the entire weekend.

5) Watched all fifteen series of Silent Witness. Bloody good show if you ignore the gaping plot holes and the inability of any of the pathologsts to undertake only activities falling within their job descriptions. Dr Alexander, Dr Cunningham, whilst you’re sniffing the stomach contents of that cadaver could you also negotiate world peace? Oh, and while you’re at it, how about working out how we can have 166% of April’s average rainfall in 10 days and still be in flipping drought? I realise that’s quite a heavy workload but you could always delegate some of that interrogation of suspects or family liaison work to… oh, I don’t know, the police??  By the way, you know you have seen too much Silent Witness if you go for a massage (in order to relax) and imagine that you’re on the slab in the hands of an impossibly attractive and implausibly well-slept pathologist.

6) I did almost make some scones but realised that I didn’t have mixing bowl, couldn’t find the weighing scales and couldn’t be arsed to convert US cups into grams.

The day of the hand-in was also somewhat of a disappointment. I spent several hours vomiting in the morning followed by several hours on a train trying not to vomit into one of the plastic carrier bags I had to take off one foot as a precaution. The cause of the vomiting remains a mystery but no doubt Drs Alexander and Cunningham could work it out in the course of two one hour episodes whilst simultaneously disproving the big bang.

Nevertheless, although I’ve not been particularly energetic or euphoric, I am happy, relieved and looking forward to a summer of a normal 9-5 and weekends and evenings where I can do whatever the fuck I want. I intend to enjoy this free time, and this achievement (whatever the outcome of the viva). No doubt I will still write numerous posts about how shit everything is but that’s one of the ways I enjoy myself so whatevs.

Here’s a snap of me on the day my thesis became an actual object that I could hold in my hands. Those of you who have met me in real life will be able to see the ravages of thesis hell on my face (that’s supposed to be a smile and it’s supposed to indicate pleasure but I think it indicates the pain of 3 hours sleep in as many days). Those of you who have not met me in real life will just have to believe me when I say I am not in fact a ninety-year old woman with two black eyes. Image

* of course it might not be finished. It may not even pass. But I am determined to recognise the achievement of having got as far as handing it in. For the moment, it feels finished, if not finished with.