On the Thesis Path: the Darling Buds of May

In this series, blogger Lucia keeps a record of her progress and experience in the months leading up to submission. To read Lucia’s post for April, click here.

By Lucia Collischonn.

“What a year!”

“But, captain, it’s only May”

The middle point of the year is fast approaching. This weird month with many flowers, sneezes, a game of hot and cold, you never know if you should dress for the summer or else. A month of many deadlines, people start revising for exams, and writing dissertations. Some PhD students are probably upgrading by now, or finishing up, polishing the thesis.

If you think of the thesis as a gestation, May for me is like the 7-month mark. Like in human gestation, at the 7th-month mark there is a fully functioning bun in the oven, albeit not quite ready to be thrown into the outside world yet. I mean, it could, but better to keep it inside a little longer. Protected from the dangers of the outside world: other readers.

An aerial photo of a bed with various papers, flowers, and stationery on it. There is a red piece of paper with 'may' written on it in the centre.
Image Credit: Rahul Pandit.

At this point in the thesis gestation, I am simultaneously speeding up and slowing down. Speeding up because a lot is happening to the language and the structure of my thesis at this point, in quick succession. Slowing down because everything else, including the continual brain noise which never leaves me alone, has to take a backseat. As my therapist said to me: this is not the time to make any drastic life changes. So, I turned the volume of everything else down. I am doing what I can. And that’s okay. I am feeding myself with nutritious food, I am trying to sleep a minimum number of hours, I am going to the gym WHEN I can, IF I can, and I am doing the minimum: I am showing up, and that’s enough. My other roles in life: being a good friend, being a good daughter, being a super-efficient high achieving adult? They need to take a chill pill, it’s not the time to be a superhuman now. In keeping with the gestation metaphor: my body (and brain) is doing an immense amount of work to keep everything going, and I am working really hard to produce this piece of work which is the culmination of four years of work. It’s okay if other things are not a priority right now.

Image Credit: Ashton Mullins.

But, like a human gestation, this stage of the process is when you are excited at the prospect of seeing the end result soon, really tired and bored of the process and, at the same time, a little nostalgic about the time that has passed. You look back at the previous four years with rose-tinted glasses. You get nostalgic about the time when you were a new PhD student and had the world opening in front of you, new ideas, new people to meet, and new experiences, and there was still time. To write, to research, to chat. But now the clock is ticking, and the end of the process is near.

Lil baby Thesis COULD come out now and bring an end to all my woes, that’s all I’m saying…

How was May for you? Did you have any challenges? Any successes? Let us know in the comments below, by tweeting us @researchex or by emailing us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk

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