A Good End

I’m a little wistful lately, remembering the final days of my PhD.

Not my viva, not corrections, but those last few days when I was packing things up. It is late-summer 2008. My office-mates are either on holiday or have heads down trying to get things done while the campus is quiet.

I had stacks of papers I’d never read, filed away into a box where they remain never-read. Notes for ideas that I thought I might get to, which stayed filed away until a few years ago when I recycled them. Drawers with odds and ends, emptied out now into containers so they could be sorted.

There was no celebration though; no marking of the occasion by me or anyone else. We’d had dinner after passing my viva; months later I’d celebrate graduation, being Dr Nathan, with my family. On those days of finishing though, there was just me, the excess clutter of my research being loaded into boxes and a collection of bittersweet feelings rattling around my brain.

Endings can be complicated and not always within our control. We can try though. My wish for you today is that you have a little space to think, to reflect and then to plan what the end of your PhD might be like.

Your PhD doesn’t end with your viva. Graduation is the epilogue to your story. What would be a good end for your PhD?