‘I’m a fucking genius!’
That was my initial thought when I came up this hypothesis:
Doing a Ph.D. is a lot like getting an annual subscription to Weight Watchers. And here’s why:
Pros of both:
- You believe you’re making a positive change which gives you a greater sense of purpose.
- Every time you step on that scale and you’re half an ounce lighter than last week or you hand your chapter in on time you feel like a better person, even if lasts for just five minutes.
- First impressions count. And there’s nothing that says ‘I’m better than you’ quite like a small waistline and/or a Ph.D.
- Develop relationships with people who have similar goals and are sickeningly middle class.
Cons of both:
- That moment of ‘why the fuck am I doing this again?’ when you realise your holiday is in three weeks and your beach bod looks more like a beach ball or you realise that promise you made to your supervisor about handing in before you go away is about as real as Donald Trump’s tan.
- Every time you step on that scale and you’re half an ounce heavier than last week or you’re late getting that chapter in, your inferiority complex starts flexing its muscles, getting ready to punch you into your next panic attack.
- It’s so competitive that you begin to hate those middle class twats. Who do they think they are doing better than you anyway?!
- You’re going to have a mental breakdown halfway through and balloon up to a size 40, so why bother?
These are the lessons I’ve learnt over the course of three years. And it took me a while to get there.
The day I learnt that mascara is as debilitating as pepper spray was after I broke down in front of my computer. There I was. Black tears streaming from my red, irritated eyes. Bubbles of snot flying out of my nose. My throat forming unhuman sounds that, even in my manic state, surprised me. I had become hysterical. If some 19C physician had seen me then I would have been strapped into a straight-jacket and diagnosed with an incurable case of ‘tilted womb’.
But my office mate didn’t even flinch. It’s customary to have a Ph.D. breakdown at least once a year. If you don’t suffer a breakdown during the years you’ve spent staring blankly at a computer screen trying to string what could be said in 10 words into 80,000 words, it probably means one to two things: A.) You’re so emotionally mature you make Ghandi look like a pubescent teen, or B.) You’re a raging sociopath who Literally. Feels. Nothing.
I’m joking. But seriously…