I just submitted my thesis! Yes! It's done! It's written and needs to be celebrated... with the written word.
There has been a few days ago a blog post on the Thesiswhisperer that I really like to answer to with this post. In short, what's the article all about: The article called "What's it like to be 'finished'" is about the aftermath feeling of a phd being bewildered, confused, empty and not happy or overjoyed.
Thesiswhisperer is possibly the best phd blog out there! However, this post really got me on the wrong foot.
"Is the aftermath PhD feeling really bewilderedness, confusion or emptiness? "
First of all: I can't relate with this post. Why? Because there are too much of those negative emotional posts out there. The time I read the title, I thought like, oh please ... not again.
When I submitted my thesis: Did I cry? No. Was I relieved? Yes! Was I happy? Yes. But the overloaded emotions in this article are just too much to bear.
I don't want to be rude or mean. I know that feelings are precious. They are the innerself of us and, although I feel the words as honest and authentic, it's that there shouldn't be too much of those out there. I am sure that more people out there after their submission just celebrate and feel happy than being overly emotional. They just celebrate! They go home, take their child and wife and go out for dinner. Or they meet at a pub with their friends and have some beers. No empty feelings, no tragedy, no drama. Just happiness!
Everytime I submit a paper or get a revise from a journal or just had a good, productive day, I try to celebrate. My thesis submission? I celebrated with my friends for good. So, the message is: Go out there, enjoy your freedom and celebrate.
You may feel that there are not many moments to celebrate in research and I get that. Nobody tells you, you did something great today. You are on your own. But I also know, the only way to get out of the PhD cave is to celebrate and have fun. You are doing something tremendous unique and important for humanity. You are creating knowledge, that's possibly one of the most civilized things humans can do.
"You are creating knowledge, that's possibly one of the most civilized things humans can do."
Phd prison? Publish & Perish? Come on, guys! As if it was that bad. We can be very fortunate to be able to pursue the path of learning. We are the product of wealth. It's not that we are some form of 21st century slavery. I really can't hear it anymore. In the industry, the competition and workload is as high and fierce as in academia, but what's the difference? Two things: first, industry workers don't choose the topic they work on. Second, they work for the shareholders of the organization and not for some higher purpose.
We are in the fortunate position to do what we want and do it for us and the progress of humanity and for no one else. That's more fulfilling than any job you could possibly imagine. And I ensure you, money will not be able to fill this gap. Money will not.
"Money will not be able to fill this gap. Money will not."
I am partly very frustrated by the amount of grieve, sorrow, sadness and bad feelings that come with negative emotional phd blog posts. I mean what does it tell others about our profession, about the people that do phds. It's like we are an introverted species that likes to think and at the same time hates it because the more we think the more uncomfortable we get.
My phd has been definitely not an easy one. I did a phd by publication and my last paper needed to get accepted. If not, I had to write a book, which adds one year easily to my vita. Did I cry when the paper got accepted? No. Did I celebrate? Yes! In the industry, it often says "work hard, party hard". In academia, it's often just "work hard". So, I assume we should learn to party hard.
"In academia, it's often just 'work hard'. So, I assume we should learn to party hard."
Yesterday when I submitted my thesis, the first thing I did was celebrating. It's the one thing I miss all over the internet. Where are scholars celebrating their success? I just see tears, stressed out phd students writing their frustration, disappointment from their chest. That's not what the future elite should be like. Most of us are going to be in leading positions, teaching students, presenting papers and give policy advice. We have finished one of the most challenging things out there: a PhD. So we have toughened up and are now ready for any challenge, there is. Building a business, working under high pressure, learning from failures, long-time devotion, high analytical skill! That's what we are made of.
I had a talk with some very successful researchers asking them about their secret sauce. One of them said: "I feel just very fortunate to be able to pursue the academic profession." To be honest, I think that's exactly the secret sauce. Loving your job as a researcher and go out there and celebrate it, that's the secret sauce for success in academia. Try it and you will see.
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