After 4.5 years of PhD-ing, my thesis is finally written and I submitted it to my examiners last week! The PDF version got sent off on the Monday (little bit of an anti-climax!) but the printed & bound copies got sent off on the Wednesday. It started to sink in once I saw my hard work in a physical form and I feel like a massive weight has been lifted off of my shoulders! The last month of thesis writing was pretty stressful as I had a few road bumps which made it tougher than expected… but it’s now done! I can be proud of what I achieved and I can (sort of) relax! The journey to getting my PhD, however, is not quite over!
So, what’s next?
My PhD viva/defence is end of February, so there will be a bit of revision required for that and practice vivas to be had! For those of you who don’t know what a viva is, or don’t know how it works over here in England, I have one ‘internal’ examiner from my university and one ‘external’ examiner from another university (relevant to my field). They will quiz me on my knowledge of the subject and my PhD work for 3-4 hours in order to see whether I’m worthy of being Dr Jones.
In the mean time I’m doing some image analysis work. This is carrying on from fluorescent microscopy I carried out in my PhD but the analysis was beyond the scope of my thesis. So, I’m back to counting and circling around muscle cells again!
My supervisor and I will be having weekly meetings to get the ball rolling on writing journal articles from my PhD work, so fingers crossed for some good publications.
It’s now time to be more proactive about my future. I’ll be updating my CV, LinkedIn, and applying for jobs etc etc!
In amongst all the ‘serious’ stuff I’m going to be getting back into a better fitness routine like I had before, and I’m in the process of planning my post-PhD travels! I’ve never had a gap year and I know I need time away to re-energise myself in order to come back and start my first post-PhD job all guns blazing!
I also want to use this blog post to share with you what I want to achieve in 2018. It’s not a secret that I love goals – whether that’s daily/weekly work goals, fitness goals or life goals! In fact, I wrote a blog post back in January 2017 on how to make effective goals, so go and check that out here!
This is the third year of making a goals board and it really does give me a sense of fulfilment when I tick them off one-by-one. In 2016 I ticked all of my goals off but in 2017 only half were achieved. Why? A few of them were all based on me submitting my thesis and having my viva in 2017, which didn’t happen! Thesis writing time had to be extended and that meant some of my goals suddenly became impossible. So, here’s to 2018 being a more exciting year! I’ve already achieved my first goal (submitting that thesis) and here’s everything I aim to achieve this year…
I’m not one for New Years resolutions and it’s never too late to decide on what you want out of this year. What career/lifestyle goals do you want to complete in 2018?! Comment below, being a goal-geek I love to hear about them!
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As we enter 2017 it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that’s just passed. What amazing things did you achieve? What do you want to change for 2017?
Many of us make new year resolutions, yet come February they’re forgotten about and become a distant memory! Some resolutions you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear from friends or family members include wanting to be healthier, to become more organised and save more money… but why is it common that these resolutions are broken so quickly? The answer – they just aren’t focused enough. Not accomplishing new year resolutions can be disheartening and can make you feel negatively towards yourself, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
In 2016 I decided to have a different approach to the typical new year resolutions, I made a list of goals of various things I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. Look at my beautiful goal board…!
I can remember the first goal I ticked off was to finish my PhD transfer report (a halfway thesis) and have my viva (the 2 hours of questioning about the report). For anyone that knows me, they know about the tough few months I had in my PhD before I started to write this report. The day I handed in my transfer thesis was a major relief, it was such a big milestone to overcome. I went home, ticked my first goal off of my board and I had this amazing feeling of accomplishment. On 5th December 2016 I ticked off the FINAL goal left on that board – the 75kg back squat! It felt amazing to step back, look at all of my goals ticked off. From that point I saw the value of making specific goals and the positivity I gained from it was incredible. Having this set of goals for individual events allowed me to focus and achieve each one, I can’t recommend making a list of goals enough!
My advice for making a list of 2017 goals…
1. Include a mixture of career, life and hobby-related goals
This allows you to have a good balance between work and lifestyle. It means you won’t just focus on work (one thing a lot of PhD students or people in academia are guilty of!) and you won’t just focus on hobbies (an easy thing for people to do if they don’t like their job!). It’s great to progress in both aspects and helps you feel happier in the two.
2. Choose a maximum of ten goals
I chose five last year and I feel like this was good enough but I could definitely add a couple more!
One or two goals might not be enough to gain that sense of achievement for the whole year. It might not be enough of a challenge!
Too many goals will become unachievable and may feel too overwhelming, causing more stress than happiness.
3. Make the goals specific
Too vague and it makes it hard to focus and tick them off. Here are some examples:
If you want to lose weight have a set amount you want to lose in a certain time frame.
If you want to save money perhaps put a note in your calendar on pay day every month to put a set amount into a savings account.
If you are a PhD student like myself and don’t read enough journal papers (guilty!) perhaps have a goal of reading a set number of papers a week. But remember, reading papers is a timely process – even planning to read two a week might be progress and a step in the right direction!
4. It’s you vs. you. Put the work in!
Keep yourself accountable. Think about the steps you are going to make to help achieve your goals.
So what are my goals for 2017?
1. Become Dr. Jones!
Finishing my PhD and becoming Dr. Lisa J is a massive one for me, but pretty much guaranteed, unless something goes horribly wrong! I finished in the lab a couple days before Christmas and I am about to start the massive task of writing the beast that is called the thesis. Final deadline to hand it in is the last day of September 2017. Role on ticking this goal off!!
2. Get my first PhD publication
Writing my thesis is going to be a big project in itself, but as a researcher it’s important to get my research and hard work out in the public domain! I already know what my first publication will be on but it will be great experience writing my findings in the style of a scientific journal paper. Ideally I’ll get this paper published before my final PhD viva – if it’s been reviewed and accepted by the experts then it’s easier to defend the work! So that would be nice to tick off earlier on in the year!
3. Do a muscle-up
This is a CrossFit-related goal and is probably the hardest movement to nail! For anyone that isn’t familiar with what one of these are, it’s a pull-up on gymnastic rings and transferring into a dip to fully lock the arms out at the top. Muscle-ups look super duper awesome and will help me on my way to becoming a CrossFit goddess!
4. Survive The Fan Dance
So after a night-in with some of my CrossFit girls they persuaded me to sign up to an event called The Fan Dance. This is Special Forces style 24km weighted hike over both sides of Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. It’s happening this coming Sunday and I’m wondering what I’ve let myself in for! This is definitely a goal that will challenge my body and mind!
5. Be able to handstand walk
You may think this is a weird goal? And yes, I do want to go upside down and walk on my hands! This is another CrossFit goal. Handstand walks are one of the gymnastic movements we train towards. This time last year I could only kick up into a handstand and come straight back down again. A couple of weeks ago I got my personal handstand hold record of 7.5 seconds (which feels like a really long time!!), so I am going to get that handstand walk by end of 2017! Plus, walking on your hands is a pretty cool and random skill to be able to do right?!
6. Get yoga in my life
Okay, so admittedly this goal isn’t that specific. With PhD work and CrossFit, I’ll have to figure out a reasonable number of times a week I can practice yoga. Even if it’s just once a week I’ll be extremely happy. Why have I decided to start yoga? I have some good friends who swear by it. It calms the body and mind (which will help with the stress and demand of a PhD) and enhances flexibility (helping me to be less prone to injury and become healthier). I do find it hard to just chill. I like to be busy all the time, so I believe yoga will be a good way for me to relax. I’m so excited to start this up!
7. Travel post-PhD
I want to travel! And I want sunshine! I’ve not had a proper break in education in forever. I went straight to university to do my 3-year BSc undergraduate degree after A-levels, which lead straight into my masters of research, and then into my 4-year PhD. The PhD has been very demanding and I’m currently exploring various career options. The end of my PhD will be a great time to travel, even if it is just for a month, before I get stuck into a new job. It will give me that chance to unwind and regain focus before entering the real world of work!
There are other things I’d like to achieve over the year. A big one is figuring out what I’ll be doing career-wise after my PhD! At the moment I’m researching into science communication careers, so I’m looking at ways in which I can get into it and enhance my CV. Since starting up this blog it looks like I’ll be getting involved in the publicity side of ‘Pint of Science’ which I am so excited about! Lets see what other exciting opportunities come my way!
Over to you…
My goals have been made and I am so excited to tick them off one-by-one and see what else 2017 brings.
What are your 2017 goals? Leave a message, I’d love to hear all about them!
♥You’ve got this! Here’s to an amazing and fulfilling 2017 ♥