After three years and three months of the most intense, mentally gruelling and challenging study, I have finally finished writing my PhD thesis. Hurrah!
At times I thought I would never reach this stage. There are days when I would sit at my desk ready to write and my mind would be totally blank. On others days the ideas just kept flowing and I would happily work from 7am to past midnight.
I spent two years and ten months based in Manchester where I never really felt settled and was constantly on the move, residing at four different properties! When I returned to the south to live with my elder sister in August 2013 my brain really got in gear and it is where I have been most productive, completing five chapters in five months.
Having corrected the last minute errors detected by my eagle-eyed supervisors and made the final tweaks here and there, I have been given the green light to submit my thesis. Back in November I submitted a formal notice of submission, at which point an external and internal examiner was selected by supervisor and myself. The student administration team takes care of everything else.
I have placed my order for three softbound copies of the thesis that will be delivered to my student administration office within the next couple of weeks. After that I await notification of when the viva will take place, which should be within two months of submission. I can’t wait to get that over with.
This is an odd time where I feel somewhat in limbo. I have finished my thesis but I am not yet ‘Dr Gabriel’ as I haven’t passed the viva yet. But between now and then I am aiming to get two articles accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. I am working on revisions recommended by one journal and awaiting initial feedback from the other.
I also plan to draft a book proposal on the recommendation of my first supervisor; I am working jointly on a research paper and report due to be finished around April, the same time I have a deadline to complete a book chapter. Post doctorate experience is quite important, so I am told, in increasing the likelihood of getting hired.
However, I am now in my sixth year of teaching and research and currently teaching journalism part-time, supervising third year undergraduates, so I think I have a pretty good profile but accept that competition is fierce! There are fewer full-time permanent posts and quite a lot of people chasing them, but I am ever hopeful.
I have learnt so much in the last three-and-a-bit years, not just professionally, in terms of my field of expertise but also in terms of personal development. I have never been a shrinking violet but I would definitely say that my confidence and self-esteem are at an all-time high and I am ready for my next conquest!