I have to admit, that I’m kind of reeling as I write this. So if it doesn’t make a ton of sense, that’s why.
In a meeting today (which is now yesterday as you read this), my supervisor mentioned that he thinks I’m about 2 years away from finishing my degree. Two years. Two Years! TWO YEARS!
To be honest, this really shouldn’t be shocking. If asked before this conversation, I would’ve replied that I’m somewhere between 12 and 18 months away from finishing. And I would’ve said that, fully knowing that I’m likely being quite optimistic as I said it. But, two years will put me way into my sixth year as a PhD student (I start year five in September). Yikes!
It also shouldn’t be shocking, because it’s pretty well known (at least in Canada) that PhDs take generally 5.9 years to complete. So, if I finish around 6 years in, I’ll be right on average. And, when I finish (refuse to say if), I’ll be already above ‘average’ in that I’ll have made it through the entire degree. I posted before about PhD completion rates and how approximate 1/3 of students don’t finish.
Of course, two more years is two more years of stress (not that that will go away entirely when I finish). Two more years of dealing with that student. Two more years having to convince myself this was the right decision and I’m going to make it. Two more years hoping I really do manage to survive grad school.
Okay, now I’ll try the positive spin on two more years. It’s two more years to get work done. Two more years to publish papers. Two more years to figure out what I want to do next. Two more years to beef up my resume and make connections.
As a parting thought:
The best three years of your PhD are the last six months.
A quote (or as accurately as I recall it) from a professor who has a distinguished career. While I’m not there yet (either in my final six months or ending a distinguished career :P), I can see how this will likely be true. Although, I might think it’s both the first and last 6 months. The first six months have been no where near as stressful of exhausting or sometimes depressing as the time since…