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Leaving Limboland


The past few months between submitting my thesis and my viva have been a sort of ‘limboland’. Although I have done quite a bit in that time, mostly totally unrelated to academia, there has been a sense of not being able to do very much. In part, this was the loss of the working on my thesis and the related research activity. Yes, I could have started drafting articles and presentations based on my research, but my attempts to do so felt as though I was wading through treacle. Instead I have focused on other things, in particular preparing to move house.

As a somewhat geriatric PGR – well I am 63 years young – I am in a different position from many younger colleagues, most of whom would have been job seeking or starting new jobs during this period. I have always known my PhD had nothing to do with work and career, but much more to do with me, with pulling different threads together and retirement preparation. Nevertheless conversations with others who have recently been ‘viva’d’ suggests this feeling of being in limbo is not that unusual.

After getting over the shell shock of the positive result of my viva, I have found the last week interesting as I have now left limboland. My work has been authenticated. I have been given a green light to write stuff – and I feel energised and confident and have a sense of knowing what I want to write and knowing that I have something to say that is worth saying!

The other post-viva effect has been waking up in the early morning with my head buzzing. Not so much reliving the viva, but thinking around the areas which I have to add to my thesis. It is a like a repeat of when I was ‘writing up’ and my head was spinning with ideas that seemed to get processed in my sleep. Although I won’t be tackling the ‘corrections’ until after the house move and receiving the official list of things to do, I have been able to makes a number of notes by way of preparation for the work I still have to do. Again, I am noticing that I am writing from a different position – instead of having to prove myself, I am writing knowing that I know what I am talking about.

So for the moment I am out of limboland and into being a ‘cocky kid’ (or maybe a ‘cocky geriatric’ – and looking forward to the next few months of new beginnings and active retirement (though I suspect retirement will include a lot of work and networking and collaborations!)


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