So, um, what now?

After nearly 7 months of hard work, sleepless nights, endless cups of tea, countless hours of wondering why on earth I’d attempted it in the first place, and the occasional beautiful moment where everything came together and made sense, I have finished my dissertation! I submitted it on Wednesday – one copy online, and two dead tree copies handed in at the university (actually, the dead tree versions were handed in by my partner, the ever wonderful @CryoFishTank – I’ve been at home, ill, for most of the week). This marks the end of my MSc, which I started in September 2008. It’s been a good 16 months – I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of being a student again, and of having to plan my time around work and studies. It’s been hard work though. I switched to part-time for my dissertation, but did the rest of the course full-time. That was tough to cope with even though I was only working three days per week at the time – basically meant I’ve had to do all of my studying in the evenings and weekends. I’m not sure I’d recommend that unless you’re ok with having literally no time off and no social life for over a year! On balance, I am glad I did it that way. Much as I enjoyed the course, I don’t think I’d have wanted to drag it out over two or more years.

The title of this post refers to my feelings immediately after submitting my dissertation. It’s been a bit of an odd week really. I should be celebrating having finished, but given that I can barely stand without everything starting to go grey and I have completely lost my appetite (although, on the plus side, this does mean that my xmas weight gain is just falling off!) I haven’t really done anything to mark the end of my studies. I am going on holiday in a week’s time though, which is definitely giving me something to look forward to!

As mentioned, I’ve been at home for most of the week due to illness. It feels really odd to be sat at home and not have anything that I actually need to do. I’ve spent almost every weekend for the last year and a bit at the library, so it felt especially odd to wake up this morning and realise (with relief!) that I didn’t have to get up and go anywhere. Recently, every time anyone asked me how long it was until my deadline I’ve joked that I wouldn’t know what to do with all my free time once I finished. I’ve found that’s actually truer than I realised though – I literally don’t know what to do with myself at the moment.

I do have a few things to pick up though, once I’m feeling a bit more human! I’m going to write a proposal for the New Professionals Conference: it’s been in the back of my mind since the call for papers was announced, but I’ve not got anything down on paper yet. I’m also going to start putting more effort into my professional body involvements again: I have roles with BIALL and SLA Europe, but am sorry to say I’ve not given them much attention recently. Now that my biggest commitment is out of the way, I’m happy to be able to commit more time to both roles.

One other thing I’m glad to have more time to spend on is the Library Routes Project. It’s really been gathering momentum over the last few months: we now have over 100 entries, and the wiki has been viewed over 11000 times. If you haven’t seen the wiki yet, give it a look. There are tons of really inspiring stories on there already – why not add yours?


6 comments on “So, um, what now?

  1. How about another degree?

  2. well done for finishing up – despite being ill :0)

  3. I remember it took a while to get used to having nothing to do when I finished my degree last summer, especially after the dissertation part. When you have thought about something that huge for so long its odd for it to be over. I had that feeling of I’m sure there is something I should be doing! Hope you feel more human soon and enjoy the holiday (I’m very jealous, Christmas is barely past and I feel like I need a holiday already..)

  4. Congratulations on finishing your dissertation. I know exactly you feel.. I studied my BSc in Information Management part-time over 5 years, while working full-time as a Librarian, commutting to Manchester from Leeds one day a week and fully understand the whole concept of no down time or social life and the struggle and madness of having tons of free time once it’s done and dusted. It’ll improve though… and if you’re looking for your challenge, why not Charter???
    All the skills you used to write your disseration you can throw into writing your portfolio…

    Once again, well done on gaining your MSc :o)

  5. […] come back to a few interesting projects/opportunities too, which pretty much answers this question! As well as submitting a proposal for the New Professionals Conference, I’ve also agreed to […]

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