Graduation and a New Job!

I had my graduation last week and it was good fun. My robes were so pretty! Mum and Dad came up for it and were well behaved – the awkwardness was kept to a minimum, thank god. Got some great photos and had a very tasty lunch, as well as getting to catch up with old friends I hadn’t seen in over a year. Continue reading

Complicated post-PhD and job-hunting feels

I had a pretty rough day yesterday. Job hunting is not going well – there are hardly any entry level medical writer jobs available. All of them want  3-6 months med comms experience. Which, how the fuck am I supposed to get that without someone taking me on with no experience? I have a fucking PhD – med comms is supposed to be great for those with a PhD but no companies that I can reasonably get to are hiring. And relocating is not an option because of Squisher’s job, not unless we want to go back to long distance. Which, we don’t. We’ve only been living together for about three months!

The recruiters I’ve spoken to suggested getting an unpaid internship. Like, ahahaha no. I didn’t put myself through the agony of the PhD just so I could work for free. Continue reading

Reflections on finishing my PhD

Unlike my usual self, I’ve been lost for words lately. Many of my posts about my PhD experience have been word vomits – chucking all my strong feelings at the page and just letting it all out in the hopes that it begins to make sense to me, and that I can calm myself in the process. Writing here has been a vital safety valve, both for the virtues of the process itself and the support you my readers have given me.

The thing is, at the moment, life is pretty cushty. I’m settled in with Squisher, our house looks like a proper grown-up house, we get to chill out in each others’ company of an evening and at weekends. My PhD is finally, completely, utterly finished. My corrections have been accepted and I will be graduating on the 22nd July which is only a few weeks away. Soon, very soon, I will never have to interact with my wretched supervisor again. Once I have his reference, and have handed my lab boooks and laptop back to the lab, I am done. With him and with it.

The approaching freedom is so close I can taste it. Continue reading

Unexpected Feels: Safety, Failure, and Loss

Let’s start with the good news.

First, I have completely unpacked all my belongings and found homes for everything. The dining room is no longer a mountain of boxes and it has a dining table which is doubling up as my desk at the moment. I also found curtains for the living room. Second, with the help of Mum, I’ve finished digging up the weeds in the garden and sown my flower seeds. She also identified all the mystery shrubs. There’s a Weigela, a Ceanothus and a Hydrangea. There’s also a Himalayan Honeysuckle which is in bud. Very exciting!

In the interesting news category, this coming week is my last at the RCN. I am sad to be leaving but also grateful as I had reached the limits of the interesting bits of the job and have spent the last two weeks bored out of my skull with not quite enough to do. I am however going to miss my paycheck, especially as I don’t have anything lined up for when I get back from sailing.

Speaking of which, I’m going sailing on the Stavros in a week’s time! Much Excite! Southampton to Cardiff with a sea shanty group! Hopefully the weather will have the correct amount of wind, in the right direction. The bad news is that we are currently lacking enough Watch Leaders and Deckhands. I hope to Neptune they fill the volunteer crew positions in time else I am going to be VERY busy.

Pink weigela flowers

Flowering Weigela – very pretty!

In between all the things I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been having some interesting emotional outbursts. I’ll just start feeling sad for what seems like no reason and then tears follow. Continue reading

Please Welcome… Dr Nessie Monster! aka Post-Viva Feelings

Hello my dears, how are you?

I am exhausted but relieved. I passed my viva, emerging with minor corrections, so you may now address me as Dr Nessie Monster!


I slept for 11 hours straight last night and feel somewhat more human today, although I am yet to get out of my pajamas and red fluffy dressing-gown.

I can’t believe the viva is over and went so smoothly. It was difficult at first and there was a bit of scrabbling for answers to the more general questions at the beginning but once we got into the specifics of my text and experiments, it was fine. The first thing they did was congratulate me on producing one of the best written theses they’d read in years, that was also clearly structured, which is high praise from such experienced examiners. Their biggest criticism was a lack of illustrative diagrams for the signalling pathways and cross-talk mechanisms, and that, as with many students, I hadn’t spent enough time in “fantasy land” in the Discussion Chapter. I could have been far more explicit and specific about what I would do next if I had all the money, resources and time in the world, and if I had the opportunity to start over, what I would do differently. However, as I was able to talk about that at length in the viva, it wasn’t a major stumbling block. Continue reading

Viva Update

So in fact neither of my supervisors will be present on the day.

Consequently, I am roping Squishy, Kat and Nikki in for moral support.

Friends on FB tell me I’ll be better off without my supervisors there, and they may well be right, but it just adds to the litany of inconsiderate behaviour on their part.

And as Squishy pointed out, they will have had their commitments arranged long before they knew when my viva would be so it’s not active malice, however much it feels that way. Just, you know, a sentence saying “I’m so sorry, I have prior commitments and can’t be there” would be so much more courteous that “I won’t be there but it doesn’t matter”.

Sigh. I don’t know why I still hope they’ll treat me kindly and with respect.

Arghhhh *ragesmash*

Before I completely blow my top at my supervisor in an email, allow me to rant!

I have, as is customary, two PhD supervisors, however because one moved to Manchester within 6 months of me starting in Liverpool, he became completely uninvolved in the administrative side of my PhD. My primary supervisor in Liverpool has told me she won’t be available the day of my viva “but not to worry, it’s no big deal”.

Actually, it FUCKING IS. I KNOW you don’t give a shit about me or whether I even finish the fucking PhD, aside from how it affects your ratings with the research councils and University. BUT ACTUALLY the day of my viva is a huge fucking deal to me, and it would be *nice* to have some semblance of emotional support that day, rather than me turning up in a city where I have no connections anymore because everyone I once knew has left already. It’s only the most important, nerve-wracking day of my academic career to date! Beacuse wandering around campus the morning of my viva with no-one to keep me company is just going to be fucking great, ya know?!!!

Also, I thought it was customary for your supervisors to greet you after you emerge from the gruelling experience that is the viva. With champaign. And cake. And tissues. So that you can (hopefully) celebrate with the people you’ve been working with for the last four years.

I don’t currently know if my secondary supervisor from Manchester will be in attendance, either.



I believe the phrase is “fuck you. Fuck you all.”