If your PhD is anything like mine – or, come to think of it, any PhD I know – it has been full of ups and downs, both at work and in your personal life. The viva marks the end of a great big part of your life. A PhD is made from triumphs and victories, mistakes and missteps, everything that has happened has either helped you get over the finish line or at least not thwarted your ambition.
You’re done! (or at least you will be once you’ve done your corrections and you’ve graduated, officially)
So: what will you take away from all of this? Not just in terms of the research contribution, but you, personally: what have you learned? How have you grown? How have you changed as a person?
By the end of my PhD I was confident that I could do big things. I believed in my talent as a mathematician and at being able to solve problems. I also knew that I didn’t want to be a mathematician any more. I’d enjoyed my PhD, but was pretty certain I’d gone as far as I could in my field. I was looking for my next challenge.
How about you?
As your PhD draws to a conclusion, make time to reflect on what it all means. You get a certificate to mark the success of your PhD. It’s up to you to debrief yourself. Figure out what you’ve learned from the endeavour, and what it means for your future.