When life takes over

So… It has been a while, hasn’t it? The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me and it’s been quite hard to find balance. Actually, I’m still struggling to fit everything in without going crazy.

I thought I would update you with everything that’s been going on in my life.

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PhD

I had my PhD viva at the start of August. In typical fashion, I procrastinated all through July and didn’t really start preparing for it until the week before. I felt confident that I could answer any questions about what I did during my PhD, and be able to justify it. However, I was a bit worried terrified about having to answer more general questions, after all there is no specified study material for a PhD defence, anything and everything goes. As the big day approached I started getting more and more nervous about it, and I was having ridiculous nightmares every night.

In the end, the viva was far easier than I expected; it was an almost pleasant 2.5-hour chat with two experts in my field. I cannot describe the feeling of relief and joy that I felt when, after a few minutes of the horrible agony of waiting, they announced their decision that I should be awarded a PhD. It was one of the best moment of my life! I suddenly felt as if a huge weight was lifted and I’m fairly certain I’ve been a little bit taller since.

I am now pretty much ready to hand in my thesis with final corrections included, and I’m looking forward to seeing it bound, all pretty and important looking. And that will be it for my PhD.

Work

Continuing in the theme of “All my dreams are coming true!”, I now have a job. A proper job, with a salary and everything. It all happened so fast! Actually, I had my second interview with this small start-up just two days after passing my PhD viva, and then I had the job offer by the end of that week. Insane! I keep telling The Boy, a year ago everything felt slow and difficult and heavy, as if I had to move through honey, while now everything is just falling into place and happening so fast. I love it!IMG_20151023_173815

I started at my new job in September and so far it’s been going really well. My role is varied and interesting, I’m given quite a lot of independence and freedom to take my own initiative which I really like. As if that’s not enough, my commute is a 6-minute cycle ride to the centre of Oxford. How awesome is that? Ok, I’m going to stop now because I feel a bit silly gushing about the whole thing.

Life
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We said goodbye to the summer by spending 3 days in the glorious Cotswolds countryside at The Big Feastival. It was so amazing! It was 3 days of great food, fantastic music, and fun activities. It felt like a brilliant way to mark the end of my student life and the beginning of a new era.

I went back home for a little holiday in September, which you would have seen if you are following me on Instagram. It was the perfect combination of family time, including a super-fun family wedding, great seafood, and relaxation. I did take about a million pictures, which I will try to share on here. I returned from holiday feeling rested and really quite excited to properly settle into my new routine and find a balance between all the things I have to do and want to do every day.

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This is something I’m still working on. Working at a proper job is a lot more structured than writing my thesis was, so that took a bit of adjusting. I started adding a bit of exercise every week, I’m doing yoga every morning and then some kind of exercise (or just going for a walk in the countryside) after work a couple of days a week. Of course, now with the clocks going back it gets dark so early, I’ll have to change my routine but, oh well.

I also took up knitting, after attending a Wool and the Gang workshop at The Big Feastival. My first project was a soft and warm grey snood, which I’ve been wearing a lot recently. I’m now working on a slightly longer project, a beautiful blue scarf, which required me to learn a couple more stitches. I find knitting very relaxing and it’s great to get to wear something that I made.
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Um, what else?

Oh yes! Just last week I heard that the commercial license to one of my photos was sold on EyeEm market. So incredible! It’s not really a way to make much money, but it’s such a nice feeling. And really, I remember I took that picture on a glorious day during a walk in Wytham woods, so making any money for it is the cherry on the cake. It’s this picture, if you are curious to see it.

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Another pretty exciting thing is that The Boy and I felt inspired to make some positive changes in our diet. We try to make our weekday meals healthy and nutritious, and perhaps most importantly we have more sensible portions. Then the weekends are more free and indulgent. It’s all about balance. We’ve both noticed increased energy levels and a general feeling of wellness since, which is fantastic. I’ll try to make a separate post about it, at some point.

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Of course, that depends on whether I manage to find time to actually blog again. I really want to get back at it, so it’s just a matter of prioritising it, as I know people a lot more busy than me find the time to blog.

And I think that’s pretty much it for me. What have you been up to? Let’s catch up in the comments, or link up any great blog posts that I missed, I’m really very keen to get back to the blogosphere.

Speak to you soon!

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5 thoughts on “When life takes over

  1. Trish says:

    So great to see a post from you Maria! And it sounds like so many great things going on–you sound very happy. πŸ™‚ But I do hear you on the balance–it’s TOUGH. I’m constantly feeling like life is a juggling act and that I can only have so many balls in the air at one time. I’m sure over the next few months, though, you’ll settle into a nice routine.

    • Maria says:

      Yes, a juggling act precisely. I feel as if I’m slowly getting better at fitting things in my every day but oh, there are so many more things I want to do!

  2. Charlie (The Worm Hole) says:

    Good to see you, Maria! And so well! Congratulations on the PhD and the job – a start-up is an excellent beginning (pardon the pun). Working in the centre of Oxford doesn’t sound bad either.

    You’ll have a few jumpers by winter at that rate πŸ™‚

    • Maria says:

      Thanks Charlie! Haha I don’t know about jumpers but my scarf is coming along nicely. I’m still a beginner knitter and I’ve found the video tutorials on Wool and the Gang very helpful.

  3. Patrisya says:

    Congratulations on both your PhD and job! Last year I applied for PhD programs in Political Science in Germany but I was not admitted. This autumn I will apply again. PhD is my biggest dream and I am not going to give up. I am always happy for those whose “PhD dreams” came true already. Good luck!!!

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