How is March over already? Can we really be a quarter of the way through 2016? It feels like it has gone far too quickly. For me, especially. I’ve mentioned this before but my PhD is coming to a close. I’ve changed my student status to that of a “writing up” student to indicate to the graduate school that I won’t be found in the lab any more – I’ll be at my desk, or possibly in a library or coffee shop somewhere, writing away. It’s scary but exciting to be so close to finishing – the only real downside is that I’m now out of research funding, so as well as writing up I need to find myself a job.
The writing is going well but it tends to come in bursts. Some days I’ll put together ten pages, some days I’ll manage half a diagram. Fortunately on balance I’m doing ok, but it’s going to take a while even so. As far as the university is concerned, as long as I hand in my thesis by the end of September, everything is ok. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t want it to take anywhere near that long. I’m hoping to be done in a couple of months (my supervisor reckons more like July).
The job search isn’t totally bleak either – there are a few promising things that have come up and I’ve been carrying out the best applications I can. However, if I don’t have a “proper” job lined up by the end of April I’ll need to print a hundred CVs and hand them out in every bar, restaurant and shop until someone hires me to make coffee or stack groceries. Then I’ll have to stick to just writing around my shifts. It can be done, though. There is, at least, a plan.
In the meantime I’m really enjoying Spring. At this time of year the undergraduates have finished their lecture courses and they’re away on study leave for their exams in May. It makes the university very quiet and peaceful without them all rushing around to get to their lectures. So as well as the slightly warmer weather and the longer days (which I love) things are also feeling quite calm.
I quite like writing too. I like the freedom to work whenever I want. My PhD has always been fairly flexible in working hours, but it just makes sense to work approximately 9-5 so you can make full use of the lab facilities, as well as of the knowledge of other researchers who keep standard office hours. Now that I’m writing I can do it any time of day or night and anywhere with WiFi access. It’s nice to be able to chose time and location more freely.
The future is a little uncertain at the moment but that’s mostly exciting and not scary. All I know for sure is that a lot will change in the remaining nine months of the year and that I’m looking forward to seeing what it will bring.