it's about life, my life, quilts, midwifery, and whatever else occurs to me.

11 October 2012

Being (sort of) done

Six weeks ago tomorrow, I submitted my PhD thesis.  I sat at my laptop in Venerina's office and typed in the necessary information and uploaded the pdf - that's how it's done here at UQ, it's all electronic.  After it was all submitted, we went to lunch to celebrate, without Fiona who was down with a cold.  The thesis went into the library's electronic repository, called "eSpace."  A few days later, the Graduate School emailed me to tell me they had sent it out to the two examiners, whose job it is (and a thankless one at that) to read it, comment and judge whether it meets the standard necessary for a PhD.  The examiners' reports are due in around the end of October, which is about 3 weeks from now. So for the moment I'm in a kind of PhD waiting room, I guess you might say.

What have I been doing in the meantime?

The first thing I did was have a couple weeks of holiday in China with Phil and Brian.  That will be the subject of at least one post coming up.  I just today got around to transferring those photos from my phone to my laptop.  This doesn't usually take me as long, but I just wasn't motivated.  I reckon this rainy cool day was what I needed to get going.

While we were away, I got word that the paper of study 2 as revised over the winter had been accepted.  Yesterday, I got the proofs and corrected them. Found one typo of mine that I hadn't seen before but also some that were added by the - typesetter? editor? Funny, you work so hard to make the manuscript perfect and then they mess it up for you!  It's supposed to be available online 48 hours after they get the corrections so that would be tomorrow sometime.  

A week or so after our return I heard from another journal where I had the study 3 manuscript waiting for a decision that it had been accepted!  With that acceptance, 4 of the 5 papers that form the backbone of my thesis are or will be published.  I can live with that.

I thought I would be energised with all this fun and success, but I'm having a hard time focusing.  I've gone back to my data set, with at least a couple more studies in mind, but for some reason the data management is overwhelming me.  So many questions come up: who is a midwife here? should I use the whole data set or just the practising midwives? Should I exclude people who are pregnant? who have arthritis?  Look at all symptoms or just work-related symptoms? Focus on lifestyle factors or work factors? 

So when I'm not wrestling with data, how do I spend my days?  Catching up with TV shows in the morning (having recorded them overnight) is my guilty pleasure.  I'm doing more cooking - not because I particularly want to - never that! - more because I don't have the excuse of a thesis to finish, and since my stipend ended I don't feel right about doing takeaway 3 nights a week.  Gym, or walking, I try to do one of them almost every day. Facebook, that bloody time sink. (Just a second while I check my news feed...)

I had a list of things to do that I put off while I was finishing the thesis.  Some of them - a few - are done.  I finished my CMP requirements for the year, installed Stata v. 12, and got a mammogram.  (It was normal, thanks for asking.) Surprisingly to me I haven't really felt like doing much with the quilt I started working on a couple of months ago.  Still on the to-do list are follow-up with the dermatologist, learn Prezi, get my bike fixed, continue the work I started on BOR procedures, and organise the Oz taxes for last year.  You can bet that job's not calling to me.

How would I like to be spending my days? I'd like to find something to do part time for money.  Best would be as a researcher in some exercise physiology lab so I could learn more about the toys they use to measure work activities.  I've looked around locally but not found anything like that.  I do have a CPD idea for a women's health course for midwives, yeah, okay, and nurse practitioners too. I feel like my head isn't quite there yet for constructing such a thing.  But now that I've started thinking about it, I just may start on an outline later.

I'm speaking to the midwives in our area in 2 weeks about my research, so pretty soon I've got to put some slides together for that event.  Soon afterwards, I should be hearing from my thesis examiners.  I'm told that the usual outcome is "minor corrections" and I hope there won't be more to do than that.  Once the corrections are approved, I leave the PhD waiting room and move on to my still-mysterious next thing.

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