I submitted my PhD thesis for examination this week. “Congratulations! / That’s exciting! / It must feel good to have that done.” is the normal response from everyone, but I honestly don’t feel any different. Technically I am not completely done with the thesis because Australia does not have the same system of oral defense for doctorates that many other countries use.
Autsralian PhD students submit a thesis to two examiners, one in Australia and one abroad, who have 12 weeks to write a report and give a score between 1 (pass forthwith) and 5 (fail/accept as Master’s). If the score is anything less than 1, students have a few weeks to a few months to make minor or major corrections before printing the final copy, and only after that is the degree officially conferred by the university. The whole process is supposed to take 3 to 6 months after submission, and so I do not actually know when I will be able to put Dr. before my name.
I also have not yet found a job or a way to stay in Australia so I may have to leave the country in a few months, which is an endless source of stress. I suppose the main reason why submitting my thesis changes nothing for me is that it does not actually help that much with finding a job. Most job listings specify “must have PhD in hand” by time of appointment, meaning the degree must already be conferred. I was rejected from one job because I did not yet have my PhD, the second I never heard back from, which is just cruel and unfortunately a common occurrence in academia, and the third re-listed the job announcement with a new closing date, which I’m assuming is bad news for me.
In the meantime, I’m teaching French and linguistics this semester (as a casual tutor), which I enjoy immensely. My students are great, as always, and I’m already sad that I won’t be able to teach them again next semester.
Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.