The year 2020 will be remembered for the global pandemic and the pandemonium it caused to all our lives. We all were swarmed with devastating news from friends and relatives about illness and deaths throughout the year. The mind was fueling up the fire of panic while the heart was like a sad child unwilling to go home. With this background on the canvas, I was trying to paint the most daring art of my life — finishing up my PhD.!!
Permanent Head Damage In The New Normal
The new normal of staying at home came into place almost at the same time when I finally sat down to do the writing. It went just fine for a few months, with hiccups on the way related to the writing. After the first draft was done in about three months, it was time to circulate it to peers for proofreading small sections. It was mentally taxing to wait for their corrections — why is it taking so long? Have I made several mistakes? Do I really understand what I did? Was the project worthy of a PhD.? Why did I choose to do a PhD.? Do I like Physics? Am I an impostor? Am I happy?
It took five full months of churning day and night, after which I had the final draft ready. When I saw the first printed copy, I wanted to hold it and cry in the print store. And it looked so neat, colorful, and intelligent! It was like my own book of tales but with formulas and graphs that had emotions hidden in the ink of the prints. It was indeed an incredible piece of art that I had created. The next big thing was to prepare for the defense.
I love the term defense — it indeed feels like standing in a war zone with a sword and armor! I had practiced quite a few times for it, and with each practice, my tone became calmer. On the final presentation day, I was on an automatic mode. I spoke like a mature presenter who believes in every word that she utters. I put on a terrific show! However, the surprise came after it was all done.
I realized that something has changed in the channel that connects my thoughts and speech. Like a new smooth highway that needs no speed breakers, my thought process has become clear and calm. I think I’m getting slower on the outside but faster on the inside. It might appear that I’ve had permanent head damage, but please believe me when I say that I’ve never been more proud of myself! And I wish to get never cured of this state. A PhD. is a journey of SO MANY emotions and EXPERIENCES. It is like holding a mirror and staring at yourself for six long years. In the end, you see how far you’ve come and the infinite distance to which you can travel now!
Signing off, Dr. AB!!
PS: I stole the title from another page 😛