13 October 2013

Next big thing: PhD exam

To finish my PhD, I have to do an exam. It is called the viva voce and is an oral defense exam that can last hours, although hopefully mine won't. One of my examiners will be from my university, and was one of the committee members for my PhD. The other is another adhesive researcher, who was my host for my short stay in Belgium a couple of years ago and is a co-author on my published paper. So the examiners are both good and not scary, but the exam itself is another kettle of fish. It will surely be fine, unless the examiners don't think my thesis and research are up to standard. Plus there's the fact that I was sure I would be able to do the exam via conference call - surely that sort of thing is pretty standard these days? Turns out that is not the case, or at least not where my supervisor is concerned. However, I don't have the money to fly to Ireland. You would think that would an end to the idea of doing the exam in person, but as of Friday morning it looks like I'm heading back to Ireland. It's not confirmed yet and the dates are not certain but somehow the research grant will pay for the flights. So perhaps as soon as one month I will fly to Ireland to do the exam and make any corrections that are required, and hopefully put together the last publications from my research.

So hopefully I will only be away for three weeks. I know it sounds like a good deal, a paid flight to Ireland, but it's not. I didn't want to do the exam in person, I can't afford to have a holiday right now, to be away from work and have no income, plus I'm worried about the flat in my absence, and what to do with Cher. Yes, it will be great to see my friends, but it is also possible that I will not have much free time to spend with them. I look forward to stocking up on my favourite European brands, but of course that doesn't really help the no income while away in Ireland thing. And it will be cold over there. Although the upside to that is that when I come back it will seem extra warm here. It's just a real nuisance to turn my life upside down right now, and it is so soon that it interferes with plans that I already had. Like I had been planning on heading down south for a visit at the start of December, but now I will not be able to afford to take time off work for that, after taking time off to go to Ireland. So looks like I won't be back till after Christmas. Oh well, at least it should be warm down there by then. 

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