My last few posts have had apologies for not posting more often, but this is truly ridiculous. As has been pointed out, it's been 9 months since I last posted. On the bright side, at least I have lots to talk about!
In fact - screw it. I'm going to make a blog post for each section of the blog as a reward for my long suffering readers. And I promise to update more often in future - though seeing as I only have to beat 9 months, that isn't all that much of a promise...
So. To start with - life.
Over the last couple of months, so much has changed that even now I'm only beginning to adjust. I'm a creature of habit, and it takes me a long time to deal with change. But I think all the changes have been for the better!
The biggest change has been submitting my PhD. That's right - it finally happened, 5 years almost to the day from when I started, and a month ago today. Though I still have to await my examiners' judgement, and try to publish the results from the thesis in academic journals, for the most part the thesis is out of my life. My feelings about it have been incredibly mixed - I'd prepared myself leading up to submission day that everything wouldn't just hit me all at once, and I was right. The feeling was more one of tiredness, numbness and a small but growing sense of relief. My brain really couldn't process the fact of it all being over, and it's only over the intervening time that I've been able to relax, realise that I don't have to worry anymore, actually move on with my life and think about doing new things without twinges of "thesis guilt".
And there's been plenty to move on to! For one, we hatched the hare-brained scheme of moving house in the final weeks of thesis writing. It was incredibly stressful but thanks to being fairly organised about it, we survived without me killing anyone and now we live in a house - an actual, entirely separate house all to ourselves - in Kingston. I haven't lived in a separate house for 6 years, and in the 10 years I've been living out of home and renting it's the first time I've ever had a lawn to mow*! It's incredibly freeing to not have to share a washing line, washing machine, walls, floors, ceilings or a backyard with anyone, and - as someone who really appreciates my personal space - I'm not sure I can ever go back!
When planning for the end of my thesis, I decided that I would try to get work as soon as possible due to my increasingly horrifying financial situation - but in the event of that failing, I could use the time to relax and recharge ready for whatever work I could find in my chosen field. Fortunately for my bank account, the first option worked out and I managed to get a job in the School of Zoology (the same place I did my PhD) as a temporary postdoc. This is the first time I haven't been a student since I was probably 4 years old, and is the first time I've ever had a full time job (other than a 3 month stint with CSIRO as a Vacation Student**). So after a badly-needed two weeks to recharge at home after handing in my thesis, I'm straight back into work.
I've been doing it for two weeks now and am really enjoying it - I have my own office, I'm doing work I really enjoy, and am actually being paid well for it! And I've been eased into it gently - I almost feel guilty going from constantly and hectically working or thinking about my PhD and not being paid, to working 9 to 5 at a reasonable pace, being able to go home and forget about work, and being paid for it. Almost :)
It's a change I've been dreaming about for many years now. I'm finally ending my life as a student and able to start thinking about the things I want out of life as achievable rather than as far-flung pipe dreams. Not to mention the shiny things I'll now be able to afford to buy ;)
* I'm sure the novelty of that, at least, will wear off very quickly...
** - which, while being a great experience, didn't pay particularly much!