farewell…

…to the phd.

I submitted my thesis for examination today. But not before:

  1. getting a flat tire on the way to work yesterday
  2. my ibook’s hard disk dying, also yesterday, subsequent to which…
  3. While waiting for my new macbook pro to be formatted (WOO!), I completed the edits on a windows machine, which then…
  4. crashed, meaning that
  5. for some reason, the final version of my thesis doesn’t open on a mac
  6. So I had to borrow a windows machine to do final, final edits and printing

Throughout all of that I was ridiculously serene and faintly amused, which is not like me. I don’t know what’s happened to me really, especially considering I’ve just lost all my emails and word docs since last October, which is when I did my last proper backup (except for my thesis drafts, which I was paranoid about, thank god). I feel more than a little bit silly about being so lax about backing up data. But as for the phd thing, maybe all the external fuck-ups helped me to be less paranoid about my fear of complete failure. Anyway, it’s printed, bound, and officially under examination, 3 years to the day after I started. Which is not a product of my virtuosity so much as it is a product of my clenched-jaw pragmatism, because…

As of today, I’m a postdoctoral fellow in the Centre of Excellence in Creative Industries and Innovation at QUT. More on that later, for now, just a weird surreal feeling. I can’t describe how light and strangely undirected I feel.

But I do have plans for the future, big ones. More after I stop floating.

PS if anyone has any ideas about how I might rescue the word document so that I can actually do the inevitable corrections on my Mac, please, please, let me know.

29 thoughts on “farewell…

  1. Just wanted to say congratulations for having submitted your thesis. For those of us who are still working toward that goal, it often seems like that day will never come. So I take courage from this heartening tale.

  2. what version of word were you using on the pc? you may need to save it as a word97 doc rather than a standard .doc, or perhaps an rtf.

    also, welcome to the macbookpro club! i love mine….

  3. Hey Jean,

    Congratulations! Such terrific news.

    I’d agree with the suggestion of round-tripping the document via RTF. But the behaviour you’ve described is … well, it’s worrying. What version of Word on the PC were you using? There may be some kind of nagging file corruption going on in there. A Word document is basically a complete dump of the memory state of the open application to disk, so it’s not at all unusual for weird shit to happen. If you wanted to email me the file I might be able to attack it in a Mac stylee.

  4. thanks everyone. Barry and Nick, it was some version of Office XP. I should mention since you’ve launched into troubleshooting mode that I can of course recover the text by saving it as rtf, but that kills all the field codes–goodbye every single in-text citation and the bibliography and the table of contents. Would saving it as Word 97 make any difference? And yes, Office 2004 on the Mac complained about corruption before refusing to open the file. Nick, could you email me your email address at my gmail one It’s jeanjeangenie AT etc (haven’t set up the email for this domain on my new computer yet).

  5. Congratulations Jean!

    Your saga makes my week look tame. Having bought new tyres a couple of weeks back, I got a roofing bolt in one tyre on Saturday then the same kind of bolt in another tyre on Sunday, without having fixed the spare. Now the radiator has blown up. But I didn’t have a thesis to finalise. You are amazing.

    If you are still having trouble with your thesis file, my son may be able to help. He is very experienced with both Mac and PC and is good at rescuing things 9and knowing when to stop trying). He isn’t here at the moment so I can’t ask his advice.

  6. Thanks Pam and marika!

    re the tech dramas:

    After saving the broken version as a word 97 doc as Nick and Barry suggested, I was able to open it in TextEdit on the Mac, resave it as a word doc, and open it in word. The office xp version also opened in textedit, but all the field codes (references, tables etc) had turned to garbled nonsense, which would have been a major pain to clean up and re-enter or re-generated. What I have now with this version is nice clean lo-fi text, with the in-text citations and bibliography in place, font styles and page breaks intact, but that’s all I’ve got. I’ll have to go through and manually set up all my headings styles again, find and insert the pictures, and regenerate the table of contents, list of figures, etc. And any more referencing will have to be done manually, which is a headache I haven’t had to deal with for about 5 years or so!

    PS Pam, sorry to hear you had such a string of bad luck with your car–hope it’s all sorted now.

  7. Woohoo! Well done Jeannie! I may not understand a word of it, but I have no doubt it is very close to perfect. I am more than impressed that your hellish submission day didn’t result in tears.

    Enjoy the floating and may it last a long, long time.

  8. Thanks laydees.

    And hello Ponella! So cool to hear from you!!! The floating is well and truly over already, but it’s all good…onward and, if not upward, at least sideways πŸ˜‰

  9. Congratulations, on the thesis, the post-doc position, and the 3 year timespan! It’s a motivation to actually know someone who has completed on time; inspirational!

  10. So you SUBMIT the thesis..??!?

    That’s where I’ve been going wrong… πŸ˜‰

    Of course, congratulations. I know it must feel fantastic as I have been in the final stages of boring mind-numbing corrections since forever…

    Good luck in the postdoc.. I look forward to hearing about the exciting new research work you are looking to undertake…

  11. Monica and Trine: thanks heaps.

    David, I cannot be responsible for the consequences of following my example. Remember which one of us is the pragmatist, and which one the idealist…

  12. Well done Jean!! πŸ™‚
    I had almost exactly the same issues which seem to haunt people needing to submit stuff: my work PC died, my home PCs died (not just one), my email got lost and is still stuck in some strange Outlook (rather, ‘Lookout’) location which I can’t access remotely… when I rocked up for my confirmation seminar, neither the PC nor the Mac would work, and the tech said ‘I’ve never seen this before’ – not the kinda thing you want to hear minutes before presenting your stuff… fortunately, I bought a MacBookPro which has saved the day! Need to find those emails though…
    Anyway, take it easy!

  13. this news has drawn me out of my long-time lurking to say a hearty congratulations! as a fellow recent PhD submitee, I can fully appreciate the enormity of the occasion and huge sense of achievement and relief you must be feeling. well done! on the subject of last minute computer hijinks, which I also encountered, I have a friend who is a big believer in machine intelligence and maintains that computers crash because they ‘know’ a significant project is drawing to a close. take it as a good omen. πŸ˜‰

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