The Dissertation

What? I took a vacation!?

I took some time off. A full 2 weeks. I did nothing. Well, I did things but completely non-academic things. It felt so scary, and during those whole two weeks I had moments of “maybe I’ll just do an hour or two of work.” My supervisor had to all-caps at me to take the time off for chrissakes. I thanked her for that. But the prompt to take the vacation (and what I had to keep telling myself throughout the two weeks): I submitted my dissertation!

Yup, dissertation is submitted and my defence is scheduled. Wednesday September 19th. I’m so excited and terrified all at the same time. I’m excited to complete the PhD, to reach this final milestone, but also terrified of what comes after.

And part of the reason of why it was so hard to take a break was because of being scared of what comes after. If I want to pursue an academic career (which I do), the publish or perish model haunts every minute that I take off. I have uncompleted essays, books to read, future research to plot out, courses to teach in the Fall, and like a dozen other things on my mind. Shouldn’t I be doing those things? was the question that haunted my mind when I found myself just figuring out what to do for the day or the afternoon.

But instead, I played Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and binged the fantastic podcast #SecretFeministAgenda. It was more of a Stay-cation, but still as effective. The podcast by Hannah McGregor was really crucial in reaffirming my choice to lay on the couch and do things for my self care. Although I recommend the whole podcast, these two episodes were great reminders for me during my vacation: Hufflepuff Self Care with Kaarina Mikalson and Slow Down!

I’ve returned to work this week, but it’s been going slow. And instead of panicking about it, I’m okay with it. I feel less worried about it, although I never stop worrying. I’m also trying to make more time for creative things (which I haven’t done in over a year, I think…) and for friends/family. Everything seems manageable. Those projects I have in mind still have hypothetical deadlines, but they no longer seem as urgent.

And on that note, I’m off. Here’s a picture of my dog, Bilbo, doing what he does best: enjoying the summer:

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