With hindsight my PhD journey feels a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.
Every day was get up, go to the office, do some maths, go home, go to bed, get up, go to the office… And so on. There was a definite rhythm to things; my days and weeks punctuated with breaks, seminars and meetings at the same times.
Until submission! Until the viva! Two very different days, days when everything changes. No more repetition, and like the end of Groundhog Day, uncertainty – but positivity – about the future.
What will happen next? Who knows – but it won’t be the same as every other day.
I don’t mean to sound negative about my PhD. It was a formative time in my life; I didn’t find all the answers but at least I realised what I was missing. I had a good foundation to build on for life afterwards. However it was hard: every day the same, more or less. Work work work work work, and occasionally some results, then back to work.
I’m not negative, but it can be hard if your experience is similar to see the change in yourself. The development in your abilities, talents, knowledge and the contribution you make. If you don’t see that, by the time you reach submission day or viva day you might feel unprepared for the new challenges ahead.
Before your viva take a little time to reflect on your PhD journey. The thousand or more days of the PhD have made a difference to you.
What is that difference? How far have you come? And how does that set you up well for the viva and for life after the PhD?