It’s okay not to celebrate, right? (A post about my lack of PhD)

I recently read an article which advocated multiple celebrations in the lead up to the end of the PhD: submission, viva, submitting corrections, and final ratification.  I am now at the last of those steps, and have been for several months, and I have not celebrated once.  And that’s okay (I think).

It’s now just over eight months since I submitted, and I think most people are done and dusted by this point.  I know that all things take time (probably more time that you initially imagine they will take), but my guess is that most people who receive minor corrections, as I did, have had their degrees ratified by eight months out (maybe not, maybe I am just imagining that).  I feel like everything has take a long time and then a little bit more, and many things were late coming in.  It feels like an age ago that I told my supervisor that I wanted to be finished by the end of the year (in fact, the end of that year was nearly five months ago now), so you can imagine that I am disappointed.  I eventually submitted in August, and my viva was set for November.  I assumed that with the three-week deadine for reports I would receive them at the end of December, but they were late and I didn’t get them until the end of January.  I submitted my corrections in early February and now, nearly three months later, I am still waiting.  You can imagine that I am disappointed.


In fact, the whole thing has really made my PhD experience, well, a bit shitty.

At the start of last year I assumed that I would be a doctor by the end of the year, and yet, eight months after submitting my thesis I am still here waiting.  And, the worst thing about it is that I can’t do anything.

And other people have wanted to celebrate, but I just can’t.  Celebrating was the last thing I wanted to do when I submitted.  I was angry, sad, frustrated, and I just wanted to be rid of the whole thing (I still am, and still do).

My viva was a high point, and I am really pleased that went well, but I didn’t really feel like celebrating, knowing that it wasn’t the end yet.

When I submitted my corrections I thought it would be a waste to celebrate, as I assumed I would be celebrating having my degree ratified at the end of February.  Then the end of March.  Now it’s almost the end of April and the deadline for ratification so I can graduate this July is fast approaching.

I am angry, hurt, frustrated, disappointed.  I feel a lot like I have been let down by other people.  I’ve done all the things I was meant to do, and in the time frame that I was meant to do them.  But I have been held up by other people.  I know that sounds a lot like I am trying to lay blame, and I’m not.  I’m just trying to come to terms with the fact that there is actually nothing I can do about the situation that I am in, and I just have to wait.

So, that’s it.  I do not think I will ever feel like celebrating getting my PhD.  I know what I am like, and I think that memories of this time in my life will always be punctuated by anger and sadness.  And, that’s wrong.  I feel like I have been wronged by that.

But, as I said, there’s nothing I can do about it.



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