Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Ph.D. angst

I’m not a fan of palpitations. My neat, tidy organised life is structured to avoid self-inflicted nasty surprises.

It should really not come as a surprise when you have friends round for dinner and someone, gently, reminds you that you need two referees to support your Ph.D. application.

Ideally, you should know this, and have started chasing referees weeks before. You should not wake screaming at 4 am when it finally sinks in that between the impending DOOM of Christmas and your departure for Singapore, you have under 10 days to write a research proposal and get your references together.

Indeed, it should not surprise you to do the maths and realise that only a saint (fully equipped with miracles) could get references to you from Australia in time to meet Cambridge deadlines and requirements.

(“No, fax copy will not do, sir. Three originals, with a completed cover form signed by applicant and referee in a sealed envelope. Remember the referee must sign the envelope over the seal, and cover their signature with clear tape. Red tape, sir? Ha ha. No, since the Act of Supremacy, papal blessing of the documents is no longer a formal requirement. Remember: only return the sealed references with your original application. Do not have the referee post them in directly. That will simply result in wailing and gnashing of teeth. On your part.”)

Anyway, one wonderful referee now teaches in Nottingham – and I caught him virtually on his way out of the office on holiday and he has still prepared a reference; and my lovely LL.M. supervisor (who knows me so slightly I’m happy that she can distinguish me from surrounding inanimate objects and remember my research idea) has also stepped up to the plate.

Now to pound out a 2,000 word research proposal. After referees, though, that should be a piece of cake (in an eerie moment, I first typed “panic attack” instead of “piece of cake” … ).

PS Oh, the photo - things are no longer this green, but ain't it pretty? (Thanks for hosting it Beth.) I'm working in the library just out of sight to the left. Squint, I'm waving.

No comments: