On the Thesis Path: The Ides of March

In this series, blogger Lucia keeps a record of her progress and experience in the months leading up to submission.

Here’s that cliche again: time flies by when you’re having fun! And when twenty four hours are not enough hours in a day and you wish for time to drag itself so that you’ll have more time to write your thesis, time flies even faster. I guess time is one of the main takeaways from this month: it passes, it flies, it cures all.

The Ides of March were important in Roman times. This expression signified the slow end of winter and the arrival of sunnier days, it also meant that it was a crucial deadline: for settling debts, for finishing things long overdue, for renewal. (It was also when Julius Cesar was assassinated, you take your own conclusions). It is, for many, the true, natural beginning of the year. In Brazilian culture, we joke that the year only really begins after Carnival (especially after Ash Wednesday), mostly because January and February feel like buffer months for most. As the famous Brazilian song by Tom Jobim goes “These are the waters of March, closing down Summer”. Well, in the Northern Hemisphere it is quite the opposite: the waters of March signal the possibility of longer, warmer days, they open up the weather and our hearts for the summer.

A forest of very tall trees with sunlight pouring through
It’s time to feel the sunlight again. Image credit: Eric Masur

But what does any of this mean for a stressed, anxious PhD student on a submission path? Term has ended, the campus is empty, the library too. These sunny days of late March invite you to lounge on the grass, get some sunlight and vitamin D (but wear sunscreen and avoid the hot midday sun!), enjoy the daylight and thrive. We are all, after all, pretty much like plants. Everyone’s moods around me got significantly better when the days got brighter. But while the happy people who don’t have a looming deadline glisten their bodies under the light of that shiny orb in the sky, Writing Goblin Lucia lowers the blinds and continues to write. Two thousand words today, another two thousand tomorrow. A little nervous breakdown. Read another chapter. Have a little cry. Two thousand words. Ad infinitum.

The daffodils are thriving, the vibrant crocuses are colouring your garden, and you feel like those herbs you planted some months ago, waiting and hoping for your time to thrive. Some days you feel like the fern in my bathroom, who is slowly dying from lack of humidity (in this country? I know). Some days you’re the sturdy and hardy snake plant that can’t be killed. But why am I talking about plants now?

That’s what my writing has been like: full of tangents, bad metaphors, self-deprecation and melancholy mixed in with some comedy here and there. And I guess this reflects my own mind and mood at the moment. So, may the Ides of March bring you much renewal, happy possibilities and warmer days. In the meanwhile, if you see Writing Goblin Lúcia around snarling at you for being too happy, just ignore her, she is an old PhD student, one day you’ll be one too.

If you’ve been following Lucia’s journey, take a look at her previous posts for February and January here.

How are you finding the brighter, warmer longer days? Let us know in the comments below, by tweeting us @researchex or emailing us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk

Header Image: Colin White

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