The last five months have been rather eventful, with everything happening at the same time:
March: I submitted my thesis corrections which were approved by external examiners. I then submitted the final version of my thesis to the university.
Early April: I completed my first, full marathon (26.2 miles / 42 km) in 5 hours 13 minutes, then blogged about it HERE.
Late April: I started a job at The University of Manchester!
July: My parents visited me in the UK and witnessed me graduate from my PhD programme wearing a Tudor bonnet and medieval robes! While they were here we travelled to Sweden and visited family that we haven’t seen for years.
August: Had laser eye surgery. Now I can see without the aid of contact or glasses. This was my graduation gift to myself and something that I had been planning to do for quite a while. I also changed my bank cards to say “Dr”!
Whew. It’s a lot of process. I’ve already blogged a little about the expectations I had for my post-PhD life, but now I’d like to backtrack and say a little about graduating. Now there is something very final about graduation ceremonies. Everything up to this point – submitting the thesis, the viva, then submitting corrections – was an end in themselves, but they never felt like THE end. I felt I didn’t really have a PhD.
The graduation ceremony, on the other hand, is an event that publicly marks one’s successful academic achievement by conferring a degree. With awesome robes. My last graduation ceremony was my high school graduation. I remember the giddiness of feeling so ‘adult’ and ‘ready for life’ or something along those lines (it was a a long time ago)! My PhD graduation was far from feeling ‘grown up’, but was more like a very solid sense of achievement. A “Yes, I made it!” kind of moment, a swell of confidence in myself, and a sense of closure. A proper “I’m done now.” finality to my PhD journey. For me there was no sadness or emptiness on graduation day but a lasting memory of feeling very, very good.