Submission Day

I was so happy I was buzzing!

I’d printed my three copies of my thesis. Bound them on the tricky hot-glue binder in my department. My paperwork was all in order. I was finally going to submit!

There was no queue at the university’s main admin hub. I walked right up to the desk and said, with a big smile, slightly nervous but really happy: “Hi, I’m here to submit my thesis!”

I remember what happened next so clearly.

The person behind the desk glanced at me and my stack of theses, and then called over her shoulder, “Bill, you’ve got another one.”

Bill came from the back office, checked the number of copies, looked at my form, signed it, said, “OK, thanks,” and was gone.

And that was it.

There was no congratulations. There were no pyrotechnics, no brass band, no huddle of people who wanted to know what it was like and what had just happened.

It was a milestone day for me, and just a day like any other for Bill.

It’s just my story, but I’ve heard others like it. The end of the PhD, from submission day to viva, can be anticlimactic. That doesn’t lessen your achievement. If you start to feel like it’s not really anything special, then reflect on what it was you set out to do. Reflect on what you’ve done along the way. Reflect on the journey rather than the destination.

Your PhD means something.