Last week, to my newsletter subscribers in passing, I said I completed my thesis – talk about an understatement!
I know it is just a stage – I’m waiting to find out my examiners and have the date for my Viva (Intense interview about my research) but it is a massive milestone to complete in 2 years.
I’d missed the first cohort meeting back in October 2019 as I was in Nepal. Had two cohort sessions before lockdown struck, we continued via Zoom and a WhatsApp group, and whilst at one level I had more time, like so many I was under stress and felt it hard to concentrate.
25 years since I last did academic study
I hadn’t done academic work for about 25 years, and it was hard. I could have dropped out, but I have resilience and determination and kept going, week after week, study after study. So much was hard work – learning how to critically appraise academic papers, trying to make sense of complex stats, write in an academic style, and referencing …. So many times, not making proper notes and having to search and search again. And that was just the first year! I then moved on to my independent research, I had to gain ethical approval, undertake in-depth interviews, and then learn how to use the methodology I’d chosen that was more in-depth than I’d expected. Then final write up and lay out, and more corrections.
But I’m there. I have my thesis as a PDF with word count and submission forms and Friday afternoon I uploaded. I’m not getting worried about the viva; it’s all part of the process and I know my research and I’ll be ready to defend why this approach and not that one etc.
Looking back to school days, I was at Grammar school, but I didn’t enjoy it, didn’t work, don’t think the methods matched my learning style. Left with 4 O levels and no one had any expectations of me.
The Open University changed my life. I was working for The Post Office they paid for 80% of my fees and I got promotion after promotion. They also made significant contributions to my counselling qualifications, MSc in Occupational Psychology, and my MBA. But these qualifications were all because I wanted to enhance my career prospects.
Doing it for me
Studying for my Doctorate at 60+ I could study something that I wanted to, a subject that fascinated me and was meaningful. Over the coming months I’ll be sharing more about it. My research is into how people find meaning after full-time work and I undertook in depth interviews with 7 individuals.
Am I now an Academic?
I’m feeling like an academic, I’ve spoken at an online research conference and more recently spoke at a professional forum, talking about retirement transitions. I look forward to more opporutnities to talk about my work.
It could help you
My readership covers a wide range of ages, what we all share in common is that in time we will age. In time we will move on from full time work. I also wonder if this may be relevant at an earlier stage – looking forward to make sense of the now.
Do you have a challenge
Never feel too old, or too anything – if you want to do something you can go for it, and if there are voices in your ghead that hold you back, that’s something that we could talk about.
What brings meaning in your life?
What brings meaning in your life? Make a note for yourself, or write it down and share – I’d love to hear from you