December 17, 2019

Nervy November

I don’t even know where to begin. November was an incredibly challenging month for me. I needed to do some revisions for the last paper I had submitted from my PhD. It was classed as minor revisions but I felt like it still took up a fair chunk of my time. I still had a lot of writing left to do so I was freaking out a little. But I somehow managed to contain it inside and told myself it was still doable.

I had my annual progress review this month which went really well. It was kind of bittersweet in a way because I knew that this would be the last one. My first bit of good news came in halfway through the month when I found out that my last paper had been accepted. It was a huge relief and I felt reassured that all the hard work I put in earlier in the month was paid off. Soon after, I presented at a digital health showcase which again reminded me how far I had come. It was kind of reassuring to have these moments as it motivated me to push harder.

The last week of November was the worst. I knew I needed to polish up my draft and make further revisions. But I also had to review copyediting for my final paper and mark a bunch of assignments. Time was running out and I knew I just needed to make the most of what I had. I pretty much did everything I could- I worked on the weekends/ drank a lot of coffee/ woke up extra early/ worked really late. The day before I submitted, I had a very long day and was at uni till about midnight doing formatting (that’s the longest I have ever stayed back so I broke a record there).

Now coming to the actual day of submission, I still had more formatting to do despite the heavy efforts I made on the previous day. The actual process of submitting was rather anticlimactic and I felt very numb afterwards. I was hoping to feel a lot of excitement but I felt nothing. A part of me was probably too exhausted to feel anything and a part of me was dreading the remaining marking I needed to do, as well as packing for my trip. I submitted my thesis on a Friday, did marking on the weekend and flew out on Monday morning. It was super hectic so I had no time to write a blog before I left. We went to four cities- Cairns, Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto (blog coming soon). It was really amazing and it was nice to be able to half switch off- I say ‘half’ because I still had to respond to further copyediting emails and finish marking. Of course, it would be nice to switch off completely but I’ve realised that it won’t be possible for some time because I still have loose ends to tie up. Since coming back, I have been working on just that and doing some post PhD cleaning. It is very therapeutic to be throwing out some of the papers I have accumulated over the last four years.

This entry is the last of the PhD diaries so it’s a very bittersweet moment for me. I started writing from the first day of my PhD and somehow came up with the idea of doing a monthly blog. The main reason at the time was wanting to share my progress and not feel ‘alone’ in the journey. I was a bit late a lot of the times but I told myself I’d take the time to reflect no matter what. I stayed true to my word and here we are 46 months later! A big thank you to everyone who supported me in my journey and took the time to read my posts :)

Crispy tofu, sauteed mushrooms and avo on toast
Blinis with scrambled egg
Mashed potato with pan-fried chiscken and asparagu
Veggie platter with olive and nuts
Avo on toast with sunny side egg, wilted spinach and leftover potato balls
Veggie platter
Omlette with spinach and fruit platter
French toast with mango and pomegranate
Fridge cleanout meal with mushrooms, asparagus, tomato and prawn