Everyone talks about life after the PhD. We fantasize about what we’ll do with our new found freedom. But what is it actually like?
Week 1 – All systems go
The first week after submitting my PhD was pretty darn weird!
I had none of the “I should be writing my thesis” guilts or the “oh no I stuffed up and should have included X” worries people had warned me about. It was my body not my mind that was firmly stuck in thesis writing mode. I just couldn’t shake the night owl sleeping habits I’d adopted in the writing up period.
I didn’t do all that much. Well, I did, but none of the things you fantasize about doing like that long awaited Netflix marathon, throwing a party or, running off into the sunset ;). I did compete in an arts competition, donned a celebratory tutu (long story, cool experience) Then I waded straight into a hailstorm of admin to apply for my psych registration, various jobs and to deal with all the day-to-day tasks that had fallen to the wayside. BORING!
Week 2 – Catharsis
The second week was definitely better. I felt like I was on an extended weekend. I walked around my local area noticing all the changes I’d missed when I’d been holed up with my thesis. I took great joy in lobbing all my old thesis drafts into the recycle bin and realising that I could actually say ‘yes’ to social events without having to factor in writing my thesis.
Week 3 – Lost at sea
I found out I’d gotten a job interview. My sleep was slowly becoming more civilised. But, I was also starting to get pretty bored. So I started doing fun things that had been on my to-do list. I’d fancied having hot chips on the beach, so I did, except there were gale force winds and the surf was so rough there was no sand to sit on! The chips were good though :D.
Week 4 – I’m a what?
To my utter shock my psych registration came through about three weeks early! After nine years of study, I was finally a psychologist. Very surreal. I had my job interview too, I think it went well but learned I would not find out the outcome until Christmas, possibly later. In the midst of it all two of my friends move/d interstate. It was lovely catching up with them and exciting to see them off on their next grand adventures, but I’ll miss them.
Life on the other side of my PhD isn’t really at all how I imagined it. I’m not worried about my PhD mark or when I’ll receive it. I have no compulsion whatsoever to write my thesis and it feels sort of wrong being back on campus to run errands or clear my office. It’s almost as if on the day I submitted that part of my life became The Past. As a good friend said to me today, now to just concentrate on enjoying “limbo” the period in between finishing my degree and working as a psychologist.