By Kelly

First, a movie about giant grasshoppers

Even writing this first sentence I know, some time in the not too distant future I am going to regret this post. People, I have 10 months to go. Ten short months until my Australian Postgraduate Award ends. The Australian Government expects a thesis from me, my supervisory panel expect a thesis from me and for the love of science I expect a thesis from me. For the last 8 months I have posted on the latest research, on Earth science related news, and on the life of a PhD student. But I wrote with some kind of whimsical notion that this stasis was indefinite. Just last month I discovered that I actually knew what I was talking about…shouldn’t I be starting my PhD  now? Not finishing it!

In a little over 10 months I have to finish my lab work, and then if I’m savvy, write it all in to papers so that I don’t have to submit a 180 page thesis THEN also write papers. Today I submitted leave so that I could take a holiday without sitting bolt upright in bed shouting “the extraneous peak is hydroxylysine”; this may sound daft but I swear it happened just the other week. (PhD all-consuming? No I’m perfectly balanced). But my point is I had to fill in my finish date, I had to actually write it down. When I finally found the administrative page that gave me my scholarship details, the room and sound faded into the background, and the 14/05/13 blinked at me in the kind of cruel incandescent neon that brings out my crow’s-feet.  The blood pooled around my vital organs and after several minutes I had to remind myself that breathing was essential or I’d likely pass out. Where the Becquerel has the time gone?????

I’m a forward planner. Recently, my husband was mocking me by asking what I was planning to present as a post doc…I had the answer. My plans usually don’t work out -I’m not saying they do- I just work better when I think I have one. And so I have the next 10 months all planned out, and that gives me solace, kind of? Conference proceedings 1 & 2 due by October make up my method chapter, paper 1 final draft finished by December, paper two final draft finished by April, paper 3 final draft finished by June….with a two month extension the whole thing is handed in as papers. The crowd goes wild and I get a job. Right? Right? SOME ONE TELL ME RIGHT!

One of the reasons that I started this blog was so that the greater community could understand how amazingly interesting it is being an Earth scientist and what it is like to think so deeply about something that they give you a PhD. They tell you that a PhD is a roller coaster, and it is. I went through months of disillusion, but I have come out the end of the valley almost delirious with excitement, punching the air. There is a light at the end of the mineshaft. I’m just not sure whether it is a glorious finish or someone above dropped their flashlight…Welcome to the beginning of the end people. This is going to be a hell of a ride, and make no mistake, I’m not likely to stay rational. Stay tuned,  I’ve just realised I’m going to get myself a PhD.

**I dedicate this post to my long-suffering parents, brother and husband. By blogging through this last stretch the whole world gets to suffer me as you have 🙂