In 12 months’ time, if I can make things go right, I will have passed my viva.

When I first started this I felt a kind of excitement you feel when you’re little and you’re at an adventure park for the very first time. I wanted to do everything, go everywhere, and I thought my thesis would be perfect.

Then research happened.

Probably like with everything in the world, the ups and downs came and went and eventually I became disillusioned. I don’t mean that in a negative way – I’m still here and I still want to finish what I’m doing – I just…feel like I’ve reached a stage in my PhD that’s really, really critical, and I have to see this through to the end whether it’s driving me mad or not. And it is, decidedly, driving me mad. There used to be days when I felt like I was sick of doing research on the same thing day in day out…now I feel like that every day.

And there’s still 12 months to go.

Right now I’m trying to edit the papers I have to turn them into thesis chapters, but even that’s a chore. I suspect it has something to do with making the same arguments in presentations, talks, meetings, reviews and conferences for two years that makes me feel as if my thesis is constantly repeating itself, or, perhaps worse, repeating itself without making a significant point about anything.


Right now I am, and for the foreseeable future will be, constantly alternating between two radically opposing states of mind; one in which everything about my research makes sense, and another that circles me with a gripping, depressive cynicism about everything to do with my PhD. So will I make it or not? Has this been a mistake or the start of some great intellectual adventure? Does anybody really know for sure?

I suppose I’ll find out in 12 months.