The moment to finish my PhD is now!

Long time, no talk about PhD. The truth is that this thesis has been a hell of a journey. Many people sit down a few months before their deadline and get it done at once, short and painful. For me it has been a lot different. I have been writing bits and pieces for the last 4 years.

I wrote the first “draft” of this thesis about 4 years ago as a literature review. I wrote a mini-review of halogenating enzymes and that document became part of the introduction. My second year report became the second chapter of my thesis. I had to make minimal amends to that chapter but 80% of the work was good enough to be recycled as part of my thesis. The last year, I had to take a break from the lab and I used that time to write down the third chapter of my thesis. I submitted my thesis at the end of last summer and my committee came back to me with major revisions which I have been slowing trying to do since January.

I got loads of work done in January and February before starting the new job. I tried to push the starting date of my employment as far as possible to be able to finish the corrections. I did the best I could during that time but I didn’t finish. My idea was to keep working during weekends and in evenings but that was a very ambitious plan. I love my new job but working in the lab full-time is extremely tiring and honestly, I need my evenings and weekends to chill off and get ready for the next day at work. On top of that, global pandemic came along. I read many bold claims around suggesting people to use “this time off” to finish off projects, do the readings, sit down and get it done. The truth is that quarantine was not a vacation or time off. Many of us kept working from work or from home with nothing to do and nowhere to go to decompress. It was bloody exhausting and trust me that I don’t lack resilience or discipline to get things done!

Amen to those who still think that quarantine was a vacation or some time off, just because you had to stay home!

Since the global pandemic is under better control, the medical emergency is over and we have more freedom to go out and do normal stuff, I figured that this is a good time to actually sit down and finish my PhD. This Monday is a public holiday in the UK, so by taking 4 days of annual leave at work, I get to stay home for 10 days. Even if it’s a holiday, many activities are still restricted so I can’t plan to travel anywhere by public transport, I can’t sit down in a pub or restaurant with my friends and enjoy life. So, if there’s a moment to sit down and finish off “that old project”, that moment is now!

I wrote about productivity while writing in the past, so if you want to check it out please read my old articles on pomodoro technique and making plans. I still use pomodoro to use my time efficiently but this is the first time in a while that I didn’t make a proper plan. I decided to do stuff a bit more flexibly. I gave myself 6 hours a day (3 pomorodo cycles) and see how much I can get done. If I finish fair enough, if I don’t, I will have to sacrify my summer holiday in Italy to write down my thesis. Again, I just figured that 2020 won’t be a cracking year for anyone and I will do what I have been doing for the last 30 years of my life, aka doing school stuff on holiday, Christmas, summer, Easter, whatever.

I had 3 major goals this year:

  • Finding a Job
  • Finishing my PhD
  • Making more friends and being more sociable

Point 1 is accomplished, point 2 and 3 are work in progress! I still have 6 months to achieve everything and as I said before I do not lack the discipline or the resilience to get stuff done. I also have big plans to restructure and make my Instagram page a proper business profile, this will come in due time.

See you later and stay cool!

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