10. Finish or else! (Finishing the PhD)

(Part 10 of 10)

To finish the thesis you have to want to finish it, and be prepared to sacrifice time and energy to get there. As a friend once told me, doing a PhD is 90-99% perseverance (and much less brilliance). Once you’re committed to finishing you just have to get on and do it.

PHD Comics: Time to end this

If you just enjoy the process and lifestyle of being a PhD student, and you don’t care about the result or are happy to live in the process forever, then there’s no motivation to finish. Plus, once you’ve done the hard work of getting to this stage of wrapping it all up, it’s really easy to say you know you can do a PhD and then not finish because the rest of it is just plain boring.

PHD Comics: Time-lapse Montage:

Getting to submission (with the thesis finally completed and all the paperwork done) is also just the beginning for the next stage in the PhD process.

My own experience (and that of others I know) is that after submission and the initial euphoria (or exhausted collapse) you can fall into a nice deep blue hole. Particularly if you don’t have anything else (job etc.) to keep you occupied. After months of intense pressure, late nights, sore eyes from the computer screen, and not talking intelligently (or politely) to other people, you are suddenly left with this gap in your life. It can take you (and your family) a little while to recover from that. So bear that in mind.

PHD Comics: No rest for the weary

Also, don’t forget that you may still have an oral exam, defence or viva voce to do a few months down the track with it’s own stresses and strains, plus the outcome of your thesis examination and defence which will probably require some extra work before you can finally hand in the final hard-bound copies to the university. Don’t fall into the trap that some students do, of passing the oral defense and the not finishing the required changes in the specified time. (This can cause significant financial penalties because you might have to pay another year’s worth of fees!!!)

I submitted on the 10 January, had my oral defence 21 May, had confirmation of the oral result 1 June, handed the modified copies in on 22 July, and graduated 27 September. That’s another 8-9 months on top of the four and half years it took to write the PhD thesis. It does feel good to be finally done.

And having done all that, have fun graduating, and remember that all the people who helped you get there in the end need to be thanked and to celebrate too.

So with these essential Top 10 points finishing the PhD is ‘easy peasy’ 🙂

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One Response to 10. Finish or else! (Finishing the PhD)

  1. Andrew says:

    I’m chugging away at a simple 10,000 word dissertation at the moment and it’s killing me. Whilst it’s a lot smaller, your post is definately the reminder I needed at the moment!

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