Post-thesis world

Thanks to everyone who has sent their good wishes to me about the completion of my thesis. More than one has mentioned ‘rest’, ‘relax’ and ‘champagne’…. well, I’m not very good at rest, not yet anyway. There is still a bit of a backlog of projects to get through, and project planning for work coming up in August. But knowing that I have handed it in does make a difference in my mind, and while I might not have done any proper celebrating yet, I’m enjoying the space that has been created, both mentally and physically.

Mentally, it is just that it was a big thing that needed to be done. Everything else on my To Do list is small in comparison. When I took my three thermally-bound, single-sided copies (such a waste of paper! But those are the rules) to the Faculty Office to submit them, the staff there burst into a spontaneous round of applause.

“Oh I love it at this moment,” said one. “The sight of these three books, and the look of euphoria on the student’s face.”

I hoped I was looking suitably euphoric. Mostly I just felt tired, and distracted by a strange sense of  urgency to read through the copies one last time – which I knew I didn’t really want to do.

She looked at me mock-sternly. “Now don’t you think about this anymore!” she said, placing her hand firmly over the title on the front cover of the top of the pile of three manuscripts. “It’s done now. Put it out of your mind. Go away and enjoy life now.” And the three of them all chuckled again, and I exited the office feeling much lighter than I had when I walked in there.

This post that I wrote back in January suggested some of things I would busy myself doing when I finished my thesis. One of them is ‘learn to tap dance’, but I have already started that, as the school I wanted to learn at didn’t have a Beginners class starting midyear. Also I thought I might ‘do more Italian homework’ – well, there is still time for that new habit to start. Other things on the list feel much further off in the distance – such as buying a new accordion, or having some cello lessons. I find I am still working in the evenings – the current project is to write a detailed history of all the composition projects undertaken by the MSO ArtPlay Ensemble. Another is to get stuck into the project plans for the little pile of compostion projects I am leading for various organisations in August and September. I ahve one long run of days where I will be interstate, then in regional Victoria, and then in the heart of the city, in a ten-day marathon. A different school and a different project, pretty well everyday. I will be truly fried by the end of that, so I am trying to get the preparation for it all underway, long before kick-off.

And, I have to confess, I keep daydreaming about PhD topics!

But aside from all of this that clearly shows I haven’t quite emptied out my head yet, I am enjoying the space I find myself in. Also in my flat. Finishing the thesis means that I can also start to go through all the piles of paper I have accumulated over the last couple of years, documents I was holding onto that I thought might be relevant. I’ve been able to return all the books to the library – the top of my TV has never been so clear. And as I relegate paper to the recycling bin, I am clearing out another little part of my brain. One folder at a time, I figure.

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