4 weeks left! Is it enough?

H

To cut a long story short, the first 2.5 years of my PhD went fairly well. I did the usual, planned the project, collected my data, passed the Mphil transfer, conferences, teaching. Then divorce, ill health and all kinds of things happened. I interrupted for 2 years whilst trying to get my life back on track and came back to studying with a year left (extension). Restarting coincided with the pandemic, my life was still chaotic (single mum of 3, several changes to jobs/house move), I suffered depression and a mini breakdown. Somehow I've managed to pick myself up, the first half of my thesis (40,000 words) is written up to a reasonable standard, but I've got little else. Now I have less than 5 weeks left (more extensions are not an option), I just don't know if I can actually pull it off. My data is less than half analysed, I have several interviews I haven't even transcribed which need incorporating. Then I will have my findings, discussion and conclusion to write. Because everything has been so last minute, my supervisors have seen very little of my work, and have no time to read/ comment, so I'm going it alone. They have said that from what I have seen, I am capable, my writing is a good standard, and my main supervisor has agreed I can send everything to her a couple of days before the submission, and she's hoping what I have is good enough to sign off (she has said she will not sign off anything that she thinks will fail). My Viva/ externals are already booked. Last week I was positive, thinking I can do this. My plan was a week to finish analysis, a week to write up analysis, a week to write up discussion, and a week to write conclusion and proof. I've booked 3 weeks leave off work, and could potentially get a 4th week of if necessary. This week I'm not so positive about it. My youngest is off school poorly, I got very little done yesterday and my brain is in a fog. I know that if I do manage to submit something it will need major corrections, but worst case scenario I think I would finish with an Mphil, which at least means the last 5 years wont be a complete waste of my life (I only have a BSc at present so I guess a Mphil is better than nothing). Today I'm feeling lost and unmotivated and have talked myself out of believing it is possible. I have managed to book a week away next week - which means no kids or dog to walk, just me and my laptop. But even so, is it going to be enough or am I being completely unrealistic? Should I go for it, or should I just quit now? I'm already in a post doc job which I love and I'm good at, If I cant pull this off, I won't have a career :(

O

I don't think you want to quit. and yes, you can do it. If you get corrections, you can manage them.
My advice - get a coach to help you plan and execute to the end. It takes like 85% of the pressure off! I can connect you if useful.

T

Hi, hatemyphd84,

I am sorry that you are feeling so awful, BUT can you even see all the accomplishments that you had overcome in your life. You juggled divorce, illness, kids, jobs and house move, all very very serious and challenging matters. I think you are awesome.

Regarding your PhD, you are so so close to the end. A week away to do your PhD thesis sounds like a great idea. Complete what you can. It will not be perfect, but as long as you submit a PhD thesis, you have a shot. You have already come this far, you might as well try to get that PhD. In the worst case scenario, you will still have a masters.

You who have overcome many challenges can overcome this one more hurdle. All the best.

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