The Sassy Scientist – A PhD Carol

The Sassy Scientist – A PhD Carol

It’s Christmas! Time for celebration! Time to write your EGU abstract! Time to unwrap your presents! And for some, time to start writing yor PhD dissertation! Rudoplh is one of the lucky ones! But he has a question:

How should I start on my PhD dissertation?

Dear Rudy,

What better time to get started on your dissertation than during the Christmas holidays? I recommend to start writing during the Christmas of your second PhD year. So you can be visited by the ghosts of your past, present and future Christmas. The first will bring you inspiration from all the papers and book you reviewed during your first year (because you have reviewed them already, right?), nicely organized chronologically and by topic, in bibtex format. The ghost of the present Christmas will bring you clarity on the struggles of your current PhD year which, as conventional wisdom dictates, really is the worst. Hardships are meant to forge character, so much will be learned from the present. The ghost of future Christmas will bring you delightful visions of your finished dissertation, complete with the must-have inspirational quote from your stereotypical science hero. The three of them will bring you clarity, inspiration and energy to start your writing process.

Think about it: what better way to start writing than sitting next to the Christmas tree, with an eggnog on your side and Jingle Bells in the background? You can excuse yourself from your family (which you don’t see much anymore, thanks to the you-know-what) between the traditional dinner and the unwrapping of the presents, to write down that paragraph that just took shape in your mind, also thanks to a generous portion of mulled wine served by that one funny relative.

Actually, if you have been really, really good in the past year Santa might have brought you a complete thesis already, printed in multiple copies and already signed off by the department head, well within the much dreaded institute deadlines.


Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: Tell my editor I want to unwrap my presents now. The next bag of salt will have to wait the next year!

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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