There’s a song from the band Traveling Wilbury’s called ‘End of the Line’. It starts off with the line ‘Well it’s all right…’ doing something, repeated in various iterations. In other words, there are lots of reasons why it’s all right. One of the reasons, for me, is that I will finally be submitting my thesis.
Now, I did actually submit once before. I went through a viva was told to make corrections. It’s been a while, but I’m now ready to re-submit having used the examiners’ advice. I am, as the song goes, reaching the end of the line.
I’m happy, excited and terribly frightened by this prospect. I’m happy that something that has taken over four years of my life is finally about to be done. I’m excited to move on to something else in my life, whatever that might be. I’m also frightened because I really have no idea what that is going to be.
Part of me wants to remain in academia. I enjoy teaching, research, the community around conferences and the never-ending sense of inspiration and desire to learn (which, I suppose, is another way of saying research).
Part of me wants to do something completely different. It’s been a long four plus years working on this PhD. I really enjoy the topic and could probably write another 80,000 words on related content. But I’m also tired of it. I’m ready for a different project. I’ve gained a lot of skills during this research and writing project that is a PhD. I’d like to use them on something else. I used to do some marketing work in days past, perhaps I could do something like that. I’ve got tons of customer service experience, which is a skill that never goes out of fashion. Obviously I can write and filter information coherently.
The point being, I’m almost officially done with my PhD. I’ve reached a cross-roads of sorts with my life. I’ll be applying for jobs throughout the next couple weeks (and possibly months, who knows). I’d like to stay in my current town, if possible, commuting if necessary. But I am willing to relocate if the job requires. I don’t know what the future holds. I know it won’t hold more PhD work for me, though. I’ll be physically handing that in during the next few days. After that, well, I’m undecided. Perhaps I could adapt it for publication. Then again, that would still be related to my PhD work and probably involve another whole year of work on that manuscript. Maybe I just need a break from it all before I plunge back into the same topic. All in all, as Homer has noticed, the end is near, so let’s get on with it.