I have been a student for almost all of my life. For 22 years, almost non-stop. In a couple of weeks, I am going to (hopefully) defend my thesis and then I will (hopefully) be done. Because what more school is there with a Ph.D?*
I’ve had a lot of fun in grad school. Sometimes stressful, but honestly I don’t think any more so than a job would be. There’s a lot of great perks. Super flexible schedule for one–I haven’t gone to work in the rain in months, because I realized that (especially now that I am not doing time-sensitive science) I can just go back to sleep and when I wake up again it will probably not be raining. Or snowing. I’ve also gotten to spend the last 5.5 years working on some super awesome science. I’ve published a paper and am working on another one. I get to tell people things that no one else in the world has ever known before, but because of me they will. I also, just in general, chose a lab that was a very good fit for me and my brain (even though the process of choosing was not). I HAVE MANY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS.
On Tuesday, I need to submit my thesis. This doesn’t worry me. I started writing in ages ago. I’ve mostly been editing it (because it’s been written) since Thanksgiving. I could give my committee the version I have now and it would be fine, but I can make it better, so I will.
I still need to write the acknowledgements section.
This section should not be difficult.
I just need to thank the people who have helped me in grad school. Thank you to my PI, to my labmates, to my friends, to my family. But I have to thank them in detail. These acknowledgements usually are MORE THAN A PAGE. And everyone has theirs such beautifully written in every thesis I have read (and I’ve read a lot).
Ultimately, this sort of doesn’t matter. Very few people read theses. Even less people read the acknowledgements section of the thesis.
It is a permanent record of everyone who helped me out in grad school and of EMOTIONS that somehow is going on a scientific record that is publicly available and attached to my real name. And that is weird and odd and so I haven’t written it yet.
Also when I graduate I will no longer be a student.
And that will mean I need a job.
I do not have a job.
I have a plan to get a job, but I have not gotten any of the jobs I have applied for yet. (I have admittedly not applied to that many yet). I am limited in geographic space by my husband’s job (we are moving across the country to be back by my family, but he was much better in getting a job first).
The unemployment rate for PhDs is very low.
I am not looking for an academic job.
I will be fine.
I know I am also lucky, because I will be fine financially. I am not the only source of income for myself. I can get on my husband’s health insurance.
But I have never had a job before. I am terrible at interviewing. I have not even gotten the chance to interview for the jobs that I have applied for yet because I did not get any interviews.
Things are ending and things are starting and I will be fine.