PHD VI

As of this week I am no longer PHD V, but I think I’ll cling to the designation a little longer.  I had intended to finish my dissertation in year five.  I am not finished, but I’m not ready to accept the “VI” yet, either.

Sometimes it feels like I’ll never be finished.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve never not been working on a dissertation. Like, I’m pretty sure I’ve persisted in this state for centuries:  always anxious, probably procrastinating, never finished.

While contemplating the big tick-over from V to VI, I realized how much I identify with the guy in Eraserhead, the one stuck with the scary baby. Like him I am saddled with a creepy thing, one I brought into the world, and for which I am responsible. The thing just lies there, crying its creepy, inhuman cries, utterly helpless, making less sense every time you look at it.  I think it might be messing with me, too.

At some point, I must have thought it was a good idea to be Dr. Whereishere.  I just hope it ends better for me than it did for him.

I feel your pain, guy from Eraserhead.

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4 comments

  1. dissentingscholar

    I dislike my dissertation too. This is a good analogy. It seems like no matter how much work I put into it, it remains an ugly, loud Eraserhead baby. It’s also like an ugly baby in the sense that it is socially unacceptable to say that your baby is ugly. I go out there and defend my dissertation from the world, pretending it is the most interesting thing that ever happened to me.

    You’ll finish! Keep on keeping on…

    • whereishere

      Oh, it’s a relief to see that someone else has an ugly baby. And yes to keeping on. Sometimes I think “bloody minded stubbornness” should be at the very top of “things that qualify you to finish a PhD.” More than brains, you want the tenacity of the bulldog.

  2. Kimmy

    I sometimes feel like I have several ugly Eraserhead babies in my life. Thankfully, one of them is not a dissertation. I’ll leave all that to YOUR giganto brain.

    • whereishere

      I have faith, Kimmy! I mean, your Eraserhead Babies always seem to grow up into proper books that aren’t at all creepy and deformed (except when you mean them to be). Maybe this guy will have a chance, too.

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