Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Ubiquitous Yearly Review

I thought that since I am off on a wee break, I thought the best thing to post would be one of those look back at the year that's been thing with a look ahead to the year to come.

So I guess the most significant thing of this last year has been that I finished the PhD. Looking back, I'm sure the last four years could have gone far more efficiently than they did but that's the gift of hindsight. There's so many things I could say to people just starting their PhD, things that I've learnt that would really help get the thing done. I might blog some of them sometime, but really, if anyone had tried to teach me these lesson I'm not sure it would have made any difference. Everyone finds their own path.

Needless to say I've worked harder this year than ever before. By the end, it was every day, every night, every weekend. It's tough on you and on loved ones. You just have to grin and bear it because finishing is such a satisfying release. I wish everyone doing a PhD the best of luck, particularly my office mate Continuity Boy who is due to submit real soon.

But back to me. In September I submitted my thesis and it really did feel good. The postgraduate office was at the furthest end of the edge of town campus of the university and when I came out it was raining. But I didn't care. I had my I-pod with me and an amazingly weird feeling of relief and accomplishment. Not only was it a great achievement but it gave me time back to spend with my wife.

Getting my viva/defence sorted for December was pretty good and I must admit to looking forward to the grilling. I gave a talk before hand that was well received, attended by more people than I had expected. My viva the next day was alarmingly short. I was prepared for a three hour marathon, but when they opened by telling me they had already decided I had passed, I knew it would go well. It was a very enjoyable conversation, they both clearly enjoyed the thesis. It was a great complement. Upon returning after their conference, they welcomed me back by simply shaking my hand and congratulating me on becoming Doctor Nowson. It was a very proud moment in my life. It still hasn't really sunk in. I passed.

Obviously there are still some things to iron out but I'm going to save that for next time. I've actually written more here than I thought I was going to, so I shall save my look at what's coming up for another day.

Hope everyone is having a good holiday season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
This Surreal Life
So, I've officially been a doctor for a few days now and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure if it has sunk in or not. Occasionally I'll have a moment where it just pops into my head that I passed...that I am Scott Nowson, Ph. D. But other times it seems like nothing is really different.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I'm off. I will hopefully still blog, but I won't be in Edinburgh for a wee while. I'm off to the US with Amanda for christmas, for a nice long overdue well deserved break.

Saturday, December 10, 2005
That's DOCTOR Nowson
So, as you might imagine, it went very well. Apparently 1 hour and 25
minutes is really quick for a viva :D It was a very enjoyable experience
to be honest, to sit down with such experienced academics and discuss my
work. Starting by telling me that I had passed and that they found my work
very interesting probably helped the whole thing go smoothly. There are
few areas of the background that they would like me to explore further, but
beyond that they really liked it.

What a cause to celebrate. So off we went to the local beer
purveyors, where my supervisor was the first to by me a drink. Caught up
with friends, had some lovely food, and today woke up for the first time as a
Doctor. Hooray!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005
A Standing Ovation
Well not quite, but from my point of view at least it went very well. My darling wife came with me, after hearing a much poorer run through last night, office mates, my supervisor, my internal examiner for my viva tomorrow, a few assorted people I knew and some I didn't.

Obviously condensing a whole thesis into a short space of time is tough: it was very much the briefest of summaries. But on the whole people seemed to keep up. There were some good questions and I noticed much fervent note taking. AND I got to play with a remote mouse laser pointer doohicky.

So now I'm off to just read and read and read up for my viva tomorrow.

That's right, it's time to tune up those vocal cords. In half an hour I'm giving a departmental talk summarising my thesis as part of the preparation for my viva. Wish me luck.

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