The in-between

by K.M.

The time between submission and the viva is a little strange. In my case, I submitted on 7 June and my viva is not until 14 September — 13 weeks. It feels like a looong time, but I know the summer will go quickly.

The time of year you submit will of course influence how these ‘in-between’ months take shape. I’m not teaching or marking so have much less structure than if I’d submitted in the winter. I’m finding the lack of structure both liberating and a little unsettling, depending on the day.

I’m trying to accomplish two goals this summer: 1) write (and submit) some journal articles and 2) to take a bit of a break, take some of the pressure off, to be kind to myself. They may sound incompatible but so far things seem to be working. I am working (part-time) and writing when I can. I have a publication plan with 3 articles currently in progress. One is close to being ready and the other two need more work. I’m working, and working hard, but I’m trying to be a bit more relaxed about things. If I feel like quitting at 5pm, (so far) I’m letting myself do it. Why? Because for almost 4 years I didn’t.

The best part about having submitted is that I am taking more time to do things I enjoy, like exercising, cooking, and reading for pleasure (currently this and this). I did all of this before, of course, but the guilt is much less and if I want to take a little extra time for something, I’m doing it. I’m also trying to spend less time on email/online. Being summer, there isn’t as much anyway, and I find it’s good for the brain to switch off from technology as much as possible.

I’m also enjoying re-connecting with literatures I haven’t read in a while and reading new stuff, since I sort of neglected that over the past 6-12 months. It’s also a good time to re-connect with contacts (“I’ve submitted”) and remind them of what you’re up to.

I am going to take the first 3 weeks of August completely off, and when I return back to London will start preparing for my viva!