Dear Thesis: A Letter From The Other Side

I’ve seen a few Dear Thesis letters before, and they made me smile. Now I’m in the place where I can write one myself, I thought I would. It’s a bit overdramatic, but there you go.

Dear Thesis,

We’ve been together for quite some time now. The past few years have become one of the most important periods of my life; you have changed me, challenged the way I think, and taught me a lot about myself. But it is coming to an end. I was always aware that this wouldn’t last forever, although part of me didn’t really believe that. I was both eager for and terrified of the end, and now we are here. I have submitted, and you are seeing other people.

Looking back over the past three and a half years, there are a lot of things I would have done differently. Mostly about not letting myself become obsessive and withdrawn, not letting myself forget that there is more to my life than a PhD. Little things come to mind too; like making sure I had wrist supports earlier on in the process. I blamed you for my RSI, when really it was my own poor planning and desk set up. Despite all the problems we’ve had, the tears, the paper cuts, the times you just wouldn’t stay in the correct format, I’m happy. I loved writing you Thesis.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately looking back over the book that will be the only record of our time together, the official story if you will. It doesn’t mention all the stress, the hours upon hours of editing and redrafting, or the time I had a mild nervous breakdown in the library, receiving concerned looks from strangers as I failed to repress manic laughter over interview transcripts that weren’t even funny in the first place. I think it’s a good book though. Reading it makes the stress feel, not necessarily worth it, but ok. I’ve survived you Thesis. I’m here at the end of the process, and I feel happy. I’ve learned a lot of things, I’ve realised that I don’t know very much at all despite this, and I understand myself better.

In finishing the writing, and reading everything through, I’m surprised at how you have turned out Thesis. You’re full of ideas, you argue your case well! I don’t know if you will convince other people, but I’m satisfied. The thing that has scared and worried me most throughout this whole process has been uncertainty. I didn’t know if I was doing things right, if you would be good enough. That was harder than the work itself. Now I get to read your final form, in a fancy hard cover book, and yes, I think it is good enough.

Normally when things come to an end I don’t like to talk about it much, I try to move on quickly, seeing what is next. I don’t feel that way this time though, I want to talk about you to people, thinking of you is not painful, or filled with relief, I’m accepting of what has happened. I know you are not perfect, and I know that I could have done things differently, but I’m glad that I created you Thesis. For a long time I’ve thought of you as a thing that dominated my life, overbearing and out of control. I forgot that I was making you happen, I was in control the whole time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I know many people forget the struggles of the PhD once they’re past. Even with all the struggles though, I’ve had a great time Thesis, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Thank you.

Jess

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About Jess Urwin

Lecturer in social work at De Montfort University, youth justice researcher, musician, crafter, constant reader.
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One Response to Dear Thesis: A Letter From The Other Side

  1. I hope Dear Thesis rewards you for your love and care over this time, and that soon people will be visiting a new Dr 🙂

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