Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to mentally survive a dissertation.

I strongly felt like blogging today, but unfortunately didn't have any idea what about. Luckily, I found this old unfinished post from some darker times of my life (finishing a dissertation!) and I am posting it post-factum. You all know the story has a happy-ending, so you can read without concerns.


Ok, here we are, it's two weeks or so before deadline. Actually - and unfortunately, it's four long weeks and not two, if I skip submitting to my promoter (who wouldn't be more sour than I guess he already is with me), and submit to the much more supreme authority of the secretaries. Two to four weeks, that's it in any case.
So I am quite on the verge of my nerves, and blogging about it seems almost a therapeutic step and not just procrastination.
But I was also already almost daydreaming that blessed moment, when I put the final point and say, 'phew, it's DONE'. This is where the grammar/style-and-other corrections of my husband had hit me. I am writing a thesis in Italian, a language that is not my mother tongue and I anyway don't have big experience in writing in Italian, so, yes, corrections are more than welcome. But keep in mind that my husband is also a scholar, and, indeed, a scholar in the same field, historical period and having ca. dozen articles on his Publication List. That said, you can imagine in what way exactly it's going to be tough.
So I'll fast forward, to where I am actually right now, after a day of struggle but yet no catharsis.
What does one do in order to preserve a happy marriage of a couple where the partners are doing the same job.
Option 1. Change job. No mater if it feels like surrender or like sane choice, seems like a far better option than a constant competition.
Option 2. Don't talk. Especially on work and/or scholarly matters. Works fine for the most of the year, leaving us with very few occasions like a thesis submission where confrontation is inevitable.
Option 3. Personal growth. Achieving those fine things like accepting oneself's limits and points of strength, being happy with your own achievements and, in a separate column of the self-help chart, be also happy for your partner's achievements. Achieving this state of mind is possible, especially when your partner gets a well-paid job.
Option 4. As Option 3 is probably the highest ranking one, it is also the least realistic, so I offer this fourth alternative (by the way, never say 'fourth alternative', since 'alternative' comes from the latin 'alter', meaning 'another', thus making it a bipolar choice. I have this mental scar, i.e. being particularly careful not to say 'another alternative', or 'second/third/etc alternative' since high school, when our Latin teacher was teasing us about it). So, the forth... eh, choice. I don't know what is it, but would be nice to have one, wouldn't it? Still haven't found it though, so, no priceless life lesson here. I still have the hope that there exists that blessed fourth option which would help keep the same job, have some reasonable conversation about it, all that without being in a higher state of mind, and stay cool and married on top of that.


What can I say, my marriage has actually survived three dissertations and is presently surviving four kids, which sounds like quite a success, and feels like quite a stress. Shall I actually call the survival a success?! Who knows, we'd keep surviving for the time being. Keep walking down that road... and around.

Family Walk at Sunset

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