20th December 2013
So, it’s been a long silence. Three months and no word. How are you?
As some of you may have seen on fb, my first first-author paper got accepted a few weeks ago and published this week. I’m still waiting for a response to my second paper after resubmitting with revisions. And the third paper is being written right now. I’ve also put down an outline for my final thesis but haven’t begun proper work on it yet. So when people ask me how’s it going, I usually talk about work because this has been the beginning of the end of the PhD. Initially my plan was to finish and be home by now but the pace of publication is not in my control, nor responses from co-authors and reviewers. The analysis and paper writing is and that itself is also going slower than I expected. So I took the extension until Feb, with much hesitation. Now there is a chance I may need another extension in order to defend before I leave (there is a mandatory 6 week gap between submission and defense).
The weather is getting colder, a few weeks ago we had -3C. It was an unexpected blast of cold, then there was a ‘storm’ on the 6th of Dec which was just a lot of wind and bleak clouds. Recently it’s been around 5-10 in the day time.
As was the case during my Masters thesis writing time, my schedules are all in flux. My eating and sleep cycles are not regular or disciplined in any way. But since September 5th or 6th, I started doing yoga on a daily basis and it feels so goooood! My stress levels would otherwise have rocketed.
There is an abundance of social activity now that it’s close to the christmas and new year holidays. Just last night we were invited to an all paid 6 course dinner for International PhD students very close to the Uni. The day before, a few of us from the lab group went to the Christmas Market and looked around. Though it’s a lot tamer than the Kramermarkt, I still don’t enjoy the crowds. This time though, since I know it will be my last German Weinachtsmarkt, there was a certain sense of nostalgia attached to the experience. I don’t think about it often, but I realise how attached I’ve become to the people here and how familiar I’ve become to the German way of doing things. There are some things I can predict about the time of the year, seasons, social habits, etc. which were so new to me to begin with. And as I prepare to move, I’m organising the sale of my furniture, on German websites, in German and even answering phone calls in German. So I guess I’ve picked up more than I expected after all 🙂 I know I will not miss the winter or the hay fever though. Everything else, quite likely.
Still, it’s exciting to look forward to the next chapter of my life. Don’t ask me what I’ll do next, and next time you talk to me, don’t ask me how my PhD is going. These are questions that are asked all the time and start meaning nothing to a finishing PhD student 🙂 In fact, I’d go so far as to say, you’re not allowed and please spare all other end-stage PhD students as well 🙂
Looks like I’ll be missing a lot of weddings and engagements. Big disadvantage of being away from home. I hope more will happen when I’m back.
Take care and write some time, would be nice to hear from you.