Well graduation is coming up next month and I am still in disbelief that this is happening and the journey of the PhD is over. I have always had a goal or a particular aim during the PhD like running marathons, getting into conferences and writing papers, however, now I find myself with only one goal. The goal of getting employment and publishing papers. I have one paper already in the pipeline and I've found myself some contracting work in industry, however, this isn't stable. I thought throughout the process that I knew exactly where I wanted to be when I finished but I am left with an uncomfortable feeling of not knowing the direction to take. This can be bewildering and the PhD has also left me with a bitter taste in my mouth regarding academic employment in Ireland.
I spoke with someone recently who had a ' life list' from school and wanted to go through the so called 'life list'. They had written down they wanted to get married, have children, buy a house and on their second list they wanted to travel the world exploring the different cultures, religions and concepts that make us human. The man who wrote this list surprised me as I thought the second list would come ahead of his first list. Needless to say, I once had a 'life list' but now I find my list has become shorter after the PhD.
The PhD has made me feel as though my life was on hold especially when colleagues in industry referred to me as a student. Throughout the process I found myself seeing a few of my friends get married, have children, travel the world, emigrate country and come back to Ireland. This was difficult to watch as I had little funds to travel to visit my friends and watched other friends progress through industry while I was taking the time to complete my studies in academia on relatively very low wages.
Apart from being Dr. Ali right now, I find myself with a feeling of unease and bewilderment. I am certain this will pass as soon as I set my next career/travel/life goal. For now, I need to befriend these feelings until they pass.