Half a year before our thesis due date, you can see the change happening amongst the final year students. There’s an increased pressure to finish up experiments and get as much data as possible to include in the thesis for an on-time submission. You see some people putting in more late nights and weekends in the lab, while others continuing their experiments as per normal, while writing their thesis in whatever free time they can get.
That’s the life of a PhD student – you spend your first year learning techniques and figuring out how this whole PhD thing works. Your second year is largely spent figuring out the direction of your project and coming up with a sound hypothesis based on whatever data you have. Your progress then increases exponentially starting from the third year, escalating to the final rush to complete enough experiments to prove your hypothesis if you haven’t already done so by the middle of your final year. And then the time comes to start on your thesis, and you start to spend more time looking at your computer screen than your cells, pipettes and eppendorf tubes… until the day you submit your thesis and you can finally relax for a while till your thesis gets returned.
It’s in a way pretty scary how 4 years is about to pass just like that, and you’re once again forced to think of what you want to do in the future – to stay or to leave; to continue with what you’re familiar with or to go somewhere else and learn something new?
There are so many things to consider, so many decisions to make, so many changes on the way and yet so little time.