#Thesissaysno – Entering my final year of PhD

Now that it is October, I am officially in my 4th and final year of PhD. This is a daunting thought, that has caused many unpleasant thoughts to pop up. Will I finish? Why am I doing this? What is the point? Will I ever get a job? That nasty Imposter Syndrome is rearing it’s ugly head…

For reasons I won’t go into quite yet, I am behind in my PhD. I know that everyone says this, but some things were out of my control, and has resulted in what feels like a wasted 3rd year for me. I know it wasn’t completely wasted, but sometimes it feels that way. Now I’m left with the momentous and sometimes seemingly impossible task of getting everything done by next September, or even better, the summer, so I can graduate next winter. This is not an easy task.

First I have a big conference at the end of this month – the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology annual meeting – the biggest conference in my field. I probably shouldn’t have gone this year, but I committed to it, and now find myself frantically making a poster for it. This will be my last conference of my PhD, unless I magically find myself ahead of schedule. I’m looking forward to it, but also am very stressed about the timing. Once back, I plan on committing all available time I have to getting as much work done as possible, so that I can be finished all of my research by March. My husband has been fortunate enough to get a 3 month fellowship in Japan, and my goal is to be able to go with him. If I can get enough research done, then I will not be able to just focus on writing my thesis while in Japan, and not have to worry about other things too much.

These leads me to my current mantra, and the title of this post – #thesissaysno. For the next several months, I’m going to be decreasing things like blog posts and scicomm, and doing only things that I have already committed to in terms of extra projects. I have a number of papers that are unrelated to my PhD that I’m working on with co-authors, which I will continue and will see through to finish, but I will not take on any more. I’ll blog when I have the chance, but likely won’t be doing much. I will continue with my commitments to Science Borealis as Multimedia co-editor and to Palaeocast, but you may see a bit less of me over the next 10 months.

Because of all that has happened, I may be able to get an extension on my PhD should I need it. However, I do not want it. More than anything I want to put this past year behind me and move on. I want to find a job (ideally an academic one), and I want to move on to a more supportive environment. I have no idea if I will find a job of any sort, given the recent anti-immigrant rhetoric and lack of jobs in academia, but my husband has a good gig here, and we’re unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.

I have a lot of things to look forward to in the next year, but also a lot of things to stress about. For now, it’s #thesissaysno. I need to put my head down and get it done!

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