I’ve had an email from Paul Bailey to check – quite reasonably – that after all that I did actually get my thesis handed in. So in case you’ve been wondering, the answer is – yes I did, a day early in fact (thanks to wonderful binders who turned a three-day job into a 24-hour one).

Submitting, I had been forewarned, is an extremely underwhelming experience, but even so my mental preparations had depended on me handing in to an office somewhere in the generally impressive Senate House building not, as transpired, in a prefab round the back of Senate House. So it was even less whelming than I was prepared for (they didn’t even measure my margins!). Seeing your two copies simply get added to the shelves of dozens of others received that week and in process is also pretty deflating.

Psychologically, the aftermath of submission is a peculiar thing. Again, I’d been warned this would be a difficult phase, although to be honest I’ve not found hard as such. Just disorienting, and continually off-balancing. It’s a little bit like severe jetlag – you think you’ll be basically OK after a night’s sleep, and you can function fine most of the time, but every now and then something catches you out. Perhaps that’s why it’s taken me a week to put a post like this on the blog.

I found several typos within hours of handing in (including one really embarrassing omission), and I’ve decided not even to open my copy now for about a month, just to get some distance. After that, I’m going to take a couple of days and read it for myself, fresh, just to step back and (hopefully) take some pleasure in what I’ve done – at the moment it’s still too close for that. In the meantime, I’m rehearsing like crazy to sing the B Minor Mass at the end of this month. Not the easiest piece when I’ve not sung to an audience for about 10 years, but at least in those evenings when I feel I ought to be doing something other than watching TV, I do have something other to do…


2 thoughts on “Submission

  1. Do you know the story from Ring Resounding, about the hazards of examining the fruits of hard labor too close to the finish? Culshaw and his engineer are dead tired at the end of the recording sessions for one of the operas, but they put together a rough cut anyway and….then they listen to it. They’re completely horrified, think it stinks, are ready to drown themselves in the Danube. They’re sure they’ll be fired when they tell the head office. So they lock everything up and go take a few weeks off.

    They go back to Vienna the next month and put on the tape in utter terror, whereupon they nearly faint when they discover the recording is JUST FINE.

    Taking a month off to get some perspective sounds like what the doctor ordered. And congratulations again.

  2. Definitely put it away. I never did re-read my masters. I’m never going to.

    Nobody cares about the damn margins and paper weights and all that stuff that sounds so serious. It’s lame.

    Good things to do after submitting: have a stupid, short affair with somebody else who is also graduating. Preferably, not from your department, but whatever. Drink a lot. Um, that’s all I’ve got.

    Also, congratulations! woo!

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