Then what?

I have been away for a few days to travel to attend a friend’s convocation — of which he kindly asked me to accompany him — which also lead me to think of two things with my impending thesis submission myself (I have submitted a notice of submission which basically means I have given my word to submit the final draft in entirety in December). One, I noticed now that whenever people asked me about my research topic, I no longer unconsciously made myself small to evade the talk — not because I didn’t know how to answer it, it’s because I dreaded telling people about my research in Political Sociology. One thing about the mention of politics is everyone has opinions about it, and everyone thinks they are right and they have no qualms of trying to educate / shove it down others’ throats, whether or not the person they are talking to is an expert, has a PhD, or just another layperson. And sadly because I am a non-confrontational person, most of the time I’d just nod begrudgingly and waved it off politely. Well, after close to three years now, I no longer wave it off. It struck me of how comfortable I was in discussing my research and fielding questions diplomatically in a conversation yesterday, and if that is not growth, I don’t know what is.

But also, second, it struck me how scared I am that my journey is also about to come to an end. There’s that question, then what?

I almost didn’t manage to edit my thesis draft today. When I was younger I would often wonder how long my body will somehow deteriorate, and crumble under the smallest physical exertion. I guess it didn’t take long. I am T-3 years in reaching 40, and one whole day of travelling could render me with fatigue enough to last for at least two days. 6 years ago I could work full time and do my MA full time, and today my body fell into exhaustion by itself the moment I thought of those days. But today I got up anyway and managed 3 hours of editing work. My advisor said to me yesterday as he walked me out of his office, “You’ve come a long way. This is almost your final stretch.” I have heard many horror stories of my PhD colleagues having to deal with their difficult advisors, that lead me to think that I must have done something right to deserve a professional mentor so knowledgeable, so supportive, so trusting, and know the right thing to say for someone who, despite always being called an overachiever all her life, has always doubted her capabilities every single day.

I am so, so scared.

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