Last week I was at Keele to attend a business course and get my PhD thesis submitted to the library ~ which involves getting it printed off and nicely bound in (faux!) leather.
In all of the craziness of getting married, having a baby, and starting up my own business ~ I forgot to mention on the blog that I was actually awarded the PhD a little over a month ago!
Doing the PhD was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. The journey began about 12 years ago. I had three GCSEs and was doomed to a life of pretty dull (but nevertheless still honest) jobs. I decided that I wanted to do more with my life ~ to go to university and study anthropology ~ ultimately specialising in visual anthropology. I signed up for an Access Course which are like 2nd chances for people over 21 who either didn’t have the opportunity to go to University ~ or (like me) just didn’t try hard enough at school. The courses allow people to make amends and get a qualification so they can go to Uni.
Even as early as when I signed up for the Access Course at West Oxfordshire College, Witney ~ I knew that I wanted to progress to a PhD.
Seeing my thesis bound and lodged in the library was a rather profound experience ~ all the hard work, self~doubt, long periods of painful head-in-the-sand procrastination, and numerous highs and lows are there ~ but so is the realisation that I actually did it ~ and that is the thing that takes time to sink in properly!
There were several times when I literally had the phone in my hand to ring my supervisors to tell them that I quit. But something inside me ~ a tiny little seed ~ said that it would be alright. I think it was sheer bloody~mindedness that got me through it in the end!
One thing is for sure though ~ the experience did exactly what I thought it would do ~ it strengthened what I can give to my clients who commission biographies with my business, LifeBooth.
Oh ~ it also gave me the idea for this blog! :0)
I’ve never been one for the 9 to 5 drag. I always wanted to do something different with my life career-wise. The way I see it is that unless you are lucky, when you apply for a job you are like a circle trying to fit into a smaller square. Some of you will fill in the gap ~ but there will be other great characteristics and skills that just won’t fit in. With LifeBooth I am making use of all of my skills and experience ~ plus the exciting promise of developing new ones whilst making a difference to people’s lives. This is the great thing about creating something for yourself ~ you’re a circle in a circle that will grow with you.
Other than the knowledge, experience, and credentials that came with my experience of doing a PhD, I think the one major lesson I found was this: no matter how hard things get (and believe me there were times when things got so low I actually felt completely empty) ~ you always have a choice ~ to let it swallow you whole ~ or to gradually lift yourself out of the mess and take small steps forward.
Setting up in business is just as scary and unpredictable ~ especially with one as unusual and unique as my own. I still get that feeling sometimes of “what the hell am I doing?!?” ~ but that sheer bloody~mindedness is still there ~ and thanks to having already won one battle ~ I take that strength with me and know for sure that it really is possible to achieve your dreams and ambitions no matter what (or who) tries to keep you down.