New (new) beginnings

by - 13:15

I'm getting a little personal on this post, but I will never, ever, ever forget the day I found out. It was five days before my birthday, a colleague/dear friend and I were out enjoying the sun for lunch, and were forcing ourselves to head back to the office when I checked my email - and saw these words: 'Congratulations Dr!'. I screamed and then cried - completely forgetting where I was and who I was with. My poor colleague had no idea what was going on, and probably a minute into my crying - I say, 'It's happy tears.' 

That was the beginning of June and saw the end of an extremely long and very difficult PhD process filled with anxiety, uncertainty, feelings of inadequacy, stress, tiredness and for 2 and a half years juggling it with a full-time job. 

For the longest time, I felt there was no light at the end ... Source: PhD Comics
I struggled (I mean really struggled) with my PhD. My loved ones may have all believed I could, and would, do it. Post-viva - I, on the other hand, had lost any faith in my ability to actually do this thing. Many times I wanted to give up because this clearly wasn't for me, and I was fooling myself that I could do it. This self-doubt went so deep that even after I got the official email from my university, it took me many, many, many weeks to accept that I had actually been awarded. It's still sinking in (if I'm honest), but with my graduation in a few months I think more and more I am accepting that it's happened, I did it, I survived - and the best part, I will never, ever, ever have to do a PhD ever again.

There clearly was something in the air in June, as a little over a week before I received the email about my doctorate, I was contacted by an organisation and asked if I would be interested in being considered for a new position they had available. I also remember that day - I asked my family and close friends what they thought. The unanimous answer- go for it, the worse thing that could happen is I don't get it. So on my birthday - five days after I officially became a Dr (whoop! whoop!) - I headed off to be interviewed. That was a little over three months ago.

Well, 5 days ago, I finally signed my contract for the new position - which means it's official and they can't take it away from me (I mean they can't right?!). Now, after a little over three years in my current organisation, I am kinda sorta terrified (new things always scare me), but also curious to see what this new role will bring - especially as I will be stepping out of my comfort zone and leaving academia. 

I am also excited (as scary as it is) to find out what comes with this entirely new chapter in my life. I really and truly have no idea what the next few months or even year will bring, but I am also ready for it. So here's to new (and hopefully positive) beginnings, but also to hard work and perseverance and never giving up, even when I wanted to. And most important - to those that believed in me when I was struggling to believe in myself. 

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