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In Limbo

July 28, 2009

I find myself in a strange, liminal state at the moment. My thesis is finished, but not yet submitted (while I wait for my supervisor to return from holiday), and even after submission I will have to wait for several weeks before my viva.  I was hoping for a more definite end, to put the proverbial full-stop at the end of four years of work. Instead, its been a slow fadeout; each day for the last month or so I’ve sat down in the office to work, fiddling around with relatively insignificant details, each day doing slightly less, until eventually I realised there was nothing more left I could do.

I’d been relishing the idea of having plenty of free time once I’d finished, but now I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. Like Buridan’s Ass I seem to be frozen, unable to choose between too many appealing options. Coupled to that is a strange sense of guilt, free-floating and seemingly not attached to any particular action (or lack of action) on my part, although I suspect it may spring from niggling doubts about the quality of my work, which is manifesting itself largely as the feeling that I ought be doing something I can’t quite put my finger on.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kenneth permalink
    July 29, 2009 11:21 pm

    I know how you feel Nick. In the days before I submitted I tinkered about with many little things, rather pointlessly, without getting much done and grew rather fed up, bored and restless as a result. I feel slightly reluctant to say this, but submitting was something of an anti climx too. After fiddling around with little bits for ages, I decided to set myself a definate deadline and really make a big push to get it all done. This just resulted in me getting really, really stressed out on the last day; I submitted about 20 minutes before the exams office shut, after a mad and paniced rush. I just felt numb and confussed afterwards. And scared; I was terrified that I’d let some really stupid mistake through. As it happens, I have found two stupid mistakes. One of my references comes out as question mark and, still more stupidly, I forgot to menion LHCb in the thesis title.

    I’ve been feeling at something of a loss since submitting too. The initial joy of having free time has now evaporated, I’ve started to panic about numerous things. The viva, obviously, worries me. I don’t even have a date for it yet, and I’m worried I’ve not done enough revision for it. I also need to get a job, and my job hunting has been massively half hearted and lame so far, as I’ve no idea what I want to do. Even more rubbishly, I’ve not presented any of my work to a working group in ages, so I have to prepair a stupid talk too.

    I don’t think the viva will seem like a full stop at the end of everything either. It will just lead to corrections. I really hope these do not drag on too long.

    Sorry, I’ve written a rather depressing and rambling comment, which I fear may be longer than your actualy blod entry, and will probably just contribute to your own thesis-induced ennui.

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