«… Oh! Great! And when exactly will you finish your thesis? » Have you heard those words lately? I have. Many times. And the date is always later than the last time.
Am I doing nothing during my days to push further and further the time of my thesis deposit? Well, during the mornings, the evenings and the weekends, the computer is somewhere buried into a pile of my children’s toys and my cups of coffee. But even if having kids mean less working time, it’s not the reason why I will not graduate when I first planned.
The real reason is… extracurricular work. Doing a PhD, at least for me, is to gain as much experience as I can in a lot of fields. Let’s see. I did some trips to France and Italy for my research. It was exciting and useful. Most of the past terms, I was a teaching assistant and a research assistant, which not only means good money to live, but also a lot of new abilities and knowledge. I am currently writing on two (soon to be three) blogs and I sometimes do volunteering. Doing so, I am meeting extraordinary people online or in real life. Finally, I will soon try 3MT to improve my communication skills and challenge myself. I thought that was it, but then I have been offered the opportunity to teach a summer class in June. It’s so exciting to think about my own classes and teaching techniques I will use!
All these will give me new contacts, new experiences, new skills. I don’t regret any of my choices. But then… I need time to write my thesis! How? Organization! I won’t be a TA this semester, and I won’t volunteer. I still have a lot to do, but I am confident that I will be able to finish some chapters (even if that means sleeping less on weekends, argh), even if I am late on my big overall thesis scheme.
Is that bad? I don’t think so. Doing a PhD is great, with all the research, organizations and writing skills that come in the process. But I am sure that gaining experience outside research is one of the other goals of graduate studies, one that will prove very useful once in the job market…
… when I will finally have finished my thesis.
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