The Doctor Will See You Now

Ok not yet...there is still some paperwork to do and the university has to confer the degree blah blah.

About 2 weeks ago I had my PhD defence back in Zurich, and luckily I passed. The exam was challenging and the small party (apero) afterwards was a great opportunity to see some friends who I haven't seen in months. It was a nice conclusion to 5.5 years of work (that should have been 4 ish).

Me in front of my PowerPoint before the public presentation began

The PhD exam process at the University of Zurich has two stages - a public presentation with Q&A afterwards, followed by a private exam with just your PhD committee (and other professors). My presentation went fairly well I feel, but the exam was tough. I honestly felt under prepared as I had started a new job just a few weeks before which took up the time I should have spent studying.

In Zurich it's traditional to receive a hat decorated with memories for competing your PhD

But passing is the only thing that matters. I'll hopefully get my thesis printed and hardbound over the next couple weeks and finish the remaining paperwork so I can officially use my new title. I can't promise it won't go to my head for a few weeks - booking flights with my title etc.

My Professor and I agreed to write a couple of papers resulting from my work, so I'll have those to work on too. Regardless, I feel like a giant weight has been lifted. I have been so eager to move on from this stage of my life for the last year or more, and it's finally (nearly) over.

I really owe a big thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last few years. I could not have gotten this far without the help of so many people, from colleagues in the lab to friends and family.

Paul Mac Eoin

Read more posts by this author.

Vienna, Austria