Towards the end of a PhD…

I’m about to finisP1040954h my PhD. If we believe the PhD comics (http://phdcomics.com/comics.php) this comes with a lot of stress. It seems so simple: 4 years of research, testing hypotheses, collecting data, and write it down. The shorter the better – as long as all data is presented, in a cutting-edge, life-changing story. Why then, is finishing often so difficult? Perhaps it has to do with the perspective of a life after the PhD. Because is there such a thing, a life after the PhD? Does handing in the thesis come with a blue sky, birds singing, the ultimate feeling of happiness? Or will there be the black hole? Secretly, I hope there will be birds and other happy animals, but I’m afraid finishing is so difficult because of the uncertainty of what will be next. Especially in Academia there may not be a ‘next’, or, if there is, you’ll have to fight for it, and even harder than during the PhD. So, I decided to reduce the stress of finishing – it won’t help, and there is no perspective of a stress-less life afterwards, so better start early. How to do it? Spend enough time doing other things than science, go out in nature, or a club, take enough sleep, and most importantly, realize that the piece of paper you’re about to hand in will be read by, on average, four people, and that communicating a passionate work should be a hobby, not a job.

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