On Monday, 18 May, I submitted my PhD thesis!
This week I have fully enjoyed the freedom. The world feels very different, as if I have come back to reality after three years and five months (176 weeks) of journeying on a small, different planet.
My feelings transformed slowly, day by day.
After the submission on Monday, it didn’t seem real. I wasn’t even excited and had a sort of anxiety that I could have done better if I had done more rewriting and rechecking. I reopened my thesis file and read through it again. That night, I couldn’t sleep until 3 am and told myself that I had done my best with the editing, and that, if I continued to obsessively recheck, over and over again, I would become extremely exhausted. I decided to focus on my achievement rather than worry that something might have fallen through the cracks.
The following morning, on Tuesday, I received a confirmation email for my submission. Then I started feeling that it was real. I made coffee and felt how slowly time flows, which was incredible. I didn’t even think about my previous night’s worries. That day was all about writing emails to my supervisors and celebrating my achievement over pizza and Prosecco with Luca.
On Wednesday, the sense of freedom became more apparent. Apart from checking emails, I ‘properly’ relaxed on the sofa while watching TV for the first time in months (currently watching the drama Bull). We also went out for an hour-long walk, which inspired me so much. We saw a lot of people walking along the riverside, sitting on the grass, sunbathing on a boat, or reading a book outside in a private garden. It looked so beautiful, with plenty of sunlight and a fresh breeze outside. After arriving home, we immediately ordered cleaning products for the balcony from Amazon. We are now very motivated to clean up our dusty balcony!
On Thursday, I baked Swedish Cinnamon Rolls. The daytime temperature was 27°C in England, and I thought it would be perfect for bread making. I adapted the recipe from Wood & Spoon by adding 100g chestnut purée to the cinnamon filling. It’s not the traditional Swedish style, but I love the combination of cinnamon and chestnut purée. The twisting for the Swedish cinnamon rolls was my favourite part. I watched some videos on how to twist the dough into shape several times. The swirl shape rose beautifully (some looked funny!), and they smelled wonderful.
The cinnamon rolls, with a hint of cardamom and chestnut, taste lovely. They are my breakfast and tea snacks this weekend full of rest!
One of my friends, who finished his PhD five years ago, told me that I should take a break for at least a week, without doing any work or thinking about the future. It’s maybe too soon to think about the next step, but I would like to keep a note about what I am feeling now.
This blog post is the last one for my weekly PhD diary. From now on, I will blog just occasionally, when I have a topic – maybe about my preparation for the viva, research projects I am working on, cooking, baking, or healing as complementary medicine that I have been keen to learn.
My dream is to do my postdoc in health research. But I believe in destiny and that the next step will emerge naturally, as long as I make the most of every opportunity. So, my resolution is not to ruin today with worrying about tomorrow and instead embrace the present moment every day.