End of an era: PhD graduation

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.

Crossing the finish line: I graduated!

Nothing says doctorate like a medieval robe and a Tudor bonnet!

IMG_1093
Graduation day: 15th July 2015. My parents and I just outside Whitworth Hall at The University of Manchester. Best day ever.


These last few weeks have been incredible, with new job, parents visiting from Canada, and graduating from my PhD programme! Not all at once mind you (but VERY nearly, more on that later). It’s been quiet on my blog these last few weeks but will be back to near-regularly scheduled posts soon!