Finally, after months and months of writing, waiting, proof-reading, editing, analysing and re-analysing and editing, on Friday my supervisor gave me the go ahead to print, bind and submit my thesis. Which I promptly did.
I printed three copies, as is required by the graduate school and I went in search of the superintendent, who is in charge of the spiral binder. Unfortunately for me he was away on holiday. Now, technically, I had another week until my hard deadline, so I could have put off binding it until he got back… but it was a Friday. I couldn’t help but imagine the amazing weekend I’d have if I handed it in.
After some frantic searching I found someone who could show me how to use the spiral binder. They’re cool devices, although I realise that given the context I could be exaggerating that. I found some card to serve as covers and got to work. Within the hour, I was rushing across to the graduate school offices, worried that they’d be closed for the weekend.
Fortunately they were not. They asked me to fill in a form and to bring them a digital copy (which I immediately did) and… that was it. I was done. I was free. At least until I hear about my viva date. As a friend recently commented, handing in the thesis once it was done was remarkably easy.
So what happens next? Well, behind the scenes some discussions will no doubt already have taken place to decide who my viva committee will be. I need three people; an internal examiner (someone from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow), an external examiner (someone who works in the same area of research, but not from this university, who I have not personally worked with directly) and a convener (probably someone from this university who will stop us from going too far off topic). All three of these undoubtedly very busy academics will need to find a date when they’re all available and then my examination date will be set.
After that, assuming all goes well, they’ll have a few small suggestions for improvements and I’ll be given a short time to work through these. Finally, when all their comments have been addressed I get approval to print and bind proper, final versions. usually one of these goes to the university library, one stays in the school and people sometimes print an extra copy or two to keep for themselves or give to proud parents. That said, proper binding of of these things is expensive, so I won’t be making too many copies.
Once all that’s done there’ll be a few more forms to fill in and I’ll register for graduation. I had hoped to make the Winter Graduation but that now looks impossible. At least there’s a chance the Summer Graduation will get good weather.
In the meantime though, I’m coming up for air. I’ve given myself this week off from thinking about my thesis at all (next week I’ll start studying again, but not with any real ferocity until I at least have an exam date). I’m back in the lab doing real science. I’m relaxing with P in the evenings. I’m thinking about blog posts and wondering when I can catch up with neglected friends.
Oh, and I’m enjoying my new flat. I’m fully living in Falkirk now, having handed in the keys to my old place on the same day as I handed in my thesis (talk about good days). We’re very nearly totally unpacked and it’s starting to feel like home.
So, I’m not totally back up to speed yet, but rest assured that I’ll be back to rambling about anything and everything any day now.