Rereading my PhD. I keep expecting that I will find something very wrong with it, like a sanitary towel stuck to the back cover, or a page from my journal, or novel, or shopping list, accidentally imported in where it should instead say ‘Chapter 4 part 2’, or one of those notes-to-self that we write in bold letters, accidentally left behind in a footnote, which reads something like ‘WOT???... THIS IS SHIT. CHECK ON WIKIPEDIA.’
So far, not too many sanitary towels or notes-to-self (although some random commas where there should be full stops at the ends of paragraphs, and some auto-correct bullshit that I swear was put in there by evil gnomes, because I DID tidy all those things up and I have no idea how they can still be in there; and there’s a random forward slash in one place which shouldn’t be there).
So far, so good. Until I got up to Chapter 3.
Chapter 3 was sort of where it all went a bit wrong. Chapter 3 suffered somewhat from my realization that I was missing quite a few words, and needed to beef up the word count. Chapter 3 was also the one which I had submitted for my last progress review, and it therefore benefitted from some drastic last-minute revisions, more so than the other chapters.
Suffice to say that some atrocities were committed in Chapter 3, very late in the day, for reasons of must-beef-up-the-word-count and this-is-clearly-wrong-and-needs-changing, and I am now seeing the devastation. (don’t get me wrong, I saw it before, but at the time I just waited for all the blood to slowly drain back into my face, took a deep breath, and put it all in anyway.)
It does not help that I obviously did not have a lot of time to reread and correct all the typos in Chapter 3. A classic one, in one of its closing paragraphs, reads: ‘… and this is an idea which I shall discuss next in Chapter 3.’ (THIS IS CHAPTER 3, you idiot. Try ‘Chapter 4’!!...)
I am not excited about the possibility of discussing all this with my examiners, but hey, it doesn’t matter. I am taking comfort from the words of those people smarter than myself, those who have written books and blogs that say ‘no matter what happens, I will find a way to carry on. If I fail my PhD, I will not let this be the end of my world.’