Thesis Writing: A Hectic March


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I submitted my thesis on March 8th. Submitting the thesis actually much more stressful than I thought (discussed more in my next 2 posts: Tips for Submitting a Thesis). The final few weeks of thesis preparation were very stop and start as I waited for supervisors to get feedback to me and then rushed to get the newest version out, to ensure that they weren’t wasting their or my time by editing sections which had already been changed. Finally, however, I was able to print the thesis, get it bound, and officially submitted it to the university.

Throughout this process I had to file a lot of beaurocratic paperwork with the University including permission to receive dispensation for being in residence. Oxford requires that graduate students be “in residence” in Oxford for 6 trimesters of their DPhil. This generally does not pose a problem, because most students are here for the whole of their studies, but as I was traveling back and forth to  the NIH in DC, this meant that I was only in residence for 5 full academic trimesters (they don’t count all the time spent working outside of term time).  Additonally, I officially set who my examiners were to be, and officially requested that my viva (thesis defense) occur by the end of April (which I thought reasonable given that it was seven weeks after the thesis was to be submitted). However, it became clear that the examiners weren’t available within these time constraints, and neither were the back-up examiners, and therefore the thesis defense has now been set for July 8th – exactly four months after I submitted the thesis.

As an international student this posed a large problem because the question became one of what to do during the interim period. I discussed this with my supervisor at the NIH, and we came to the solution that I would stay and write papers/plan experiments in Oxford until the April (I’d already paid for the rent) and then move back to DC and work at the NIH for 2 months prior to returning to England for the viva.  I’m really lucky to have a supervisor who’s willing to pay for the extra months that I didn’t think I would require to get everything taken care of.

Right after I submitted my thesis my boyfriend came into town for a few days and we took a short vacation to Paris, where he proposed. So now I’m aflutter with wedding planning as well as viva preparation and continued science writing. Currently I’m still living in college in Oxford. I’ve just finished the first draft of my first paper, the topic of which is the syngeneic murine model of ectopic bone formation.