The end (and the beginning)

Last week I passed my viva and consequently I have finished my PhD! I have to make some very minor corrections to my thesis, but my three year and three month journey in PhD-land has come to an end.

I thought I was going to be fairly melancholy after finishing, for a number of reasons. The pandemic deprived me of doing my viva in person, and celebrating with all my friends in the pub afterwards. I also thought I’d be sad about leaving the ICG, a place at which it has been a privilege and pleasure to work and study, and Portsmouth in general, as I have really enjoyed living in this city.

However, my pure and simple happiness at having passed my viva completely eclipsed my disappointment at having to do it online. In the end, it didn’t matter at all (in fact, I think it resulted in my viva being quite a bit shorter than it would have been in person), and it was equally nice to be at home to celebrate with my family instead.

I’m also looking forward to moving on from the ICG. I feel like I’m ready for the challenges that postdoc life will inevitably bring and I’m glad that my time as a student is over. I feel like I have a lot more control over my life and career now that I’ve finished my PhD, which is simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. Most of all, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some new projects, and not having to worry about my thesis any more.

I do feel some sadness at leaving Portsmouth. It’s a nice place to live if you like the sea and plenty of sun (it gets pretty much the most hours of sunshine in the whole country), and I made many friends in the city outside my university life. It’s a shame that I have not been able to see them for a very long time, but I’m looking forward to many visits to the city in the future.

So, it’s the end of an era for me, but the start of a new one too. I’m starting my new job at the IFT in Madrid on Monday, remotely at first, but when things improve pandemic-wise and I get my visa, I will physically move there. Madrid is a really nice city and I’m looking forward to getting to know it after my visit there last year was halted by the virus (see my past blog posts to read all about my time there). I’ll be continuing my blog as I progress through postdoc life, with posts on science, academia, travel (if possible!), as well as a few more posts about my PhD, my viva and life in Portsmouth.

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