It’s Over!

August 30th, 2011 by Potato

Thank you all for the messages of congratulations. The long slog is over, the thesis is revised and accepted by the faculty, and in the morning I’ll be dropping off the printed copies to be bound into book form (I tried to get it done today but just barely made it up to campus graphic services just as they were locking up).

Some quick notes before I get back on track with the regular blogging:

Yes, it is a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree, so I’m “not that kind of doctor”.

No, I didn’t end up meeting my weight goals (which were initially to lose a certain amount of weight, then to simply not gain weight during the final stretch), I ended up gaining about 8 lbs over the last few months. I’ve been really bad on both the exercise and diet fronts: though I started out the spring ok for exercise, when the oppressive heat hit in July I pretty much stopped biking and haven’t really gotten back in the saddle. There have been three times now that I went on road trips with my bike packed in the car, and didn’t even end up taking it out (though to be fair, on one of those the water pump at the cottage broke just as I was on my way out for my ride, and I didn’t much fancy the notion of going for a 20 km ride with no working shower at the end).

For student finances, it worked out almost according to plan. I’m pretty good at being frugal and sticking to a budget, and though it did end up taking longer than I thought (and after my MSc, I really thought I wouldn’t be overly optimistic for my PhD timeline… yeesh) I managed to cope. As you may recall, I had a scholarship for a number of years and was actively saving a portion of that since I expected I wouldn’t finish by the time the scholarship ran out. Most of that savings I invested, and most of that into dividend payers, so in this later phase I was using the dividend income to help make ends meet when departmental minimum funding wasn’t enough to pay the bills (well, it was enough to pay the rent and food bill, but not the internet, phone, insurance, or tuition bills). I did get surprised by a few mis-calculations, the most recent being figuring when my last stipend would be paid out: I knew June was the last month I was getting paid for, but I thought my pay was arriving the following month, so that I could count on money arriving in July — it turns out I had my pay cycle wrong and the money I got in June [which I thought was for May, etc.] was the last I got. So that lead to an even tighter belt than I thought, but I suppose that’s what emergency funds, lines of credit, and investments are for. I picked up a bit of contract work in July, and I didn’t realistically expect to be paid for it until August, but here we are at the end of August and I still have no idea when I’ll be paid. Wayfare’s in much the same situation, I think she just got her paycheque for work done in May.

So right now I’m into full-on defer everything mode. I know that I’ll eventually get paid again, but until then I’m trying to defer as many expenses as possible, and tapping my non-traditional emergency funds like reward points to pay for things like groceries and gas where possible. I normally keep a large stockpile of food on hand (I suppose I have my mom to thank for that), and aside from seeking some variety and fresh foods, I could probably go 3 weeks without having to go grocery shopping. So I’m going to eat through some of that cache. I wore a suit for my lecture and defence (yes, I own a suit now, crazy!), but I think it can wait a few more weeks to be dry-cleaned. My shoes have holes in them (not serious ones, I’ve just worn through the lining near the heel so the plastic heel cup is showing on the inside), but they still work and soon enough I can switch to my winter boots which are in good shape.

I’m really good at procrastination.

As to where I’ve been for the last week: well, I didn’t have that many revisions to make, but there were a few, and I only had a week or so to make them. Otherwise I’ve largely been catching up on half a lifetime of sleep deprivation and spending time away from the internet. I got a kobo reader as a graduation gift (which I’ll review shortly) and picked up the next few books in the George RR Martin Song of Ice and Fire series, and they are not short books. I’ve already finished the second one and have moved on to Storm of Swords. It’s still technically summer, so I can make some progress on that summer reading list!

Now that I’m done my PhD what comes next for Dr. Potato? The clever-boots answer I came up with was “Dieting. Definitely dieting.” Short-term, I’m going to be doing some more research work for the next few months. After that, I don’t know yet. I’m looking for jobs, but seem to have more of a geographic limitation than an occupational one: I’m open to private sector R&D, academia, or may even try a turn at finance or pure teaching/lecturing. I’ll just have to see what opportunities present themselves.

2 Responses to “It’s Over!”

  1. Rez Says:


  2. Netbug Says:

    Bill Paxton expresses my concern well on this unexpected event. ;)