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Let me through – I’m a doctor!

It’s done. The chapter is over. We did it, folks. We reached the end of the tunnel.

Over a month ago, I successfully defended my PhD dissertation. This means I gave the best presentation of my life, put all of myself into it (cats, jokes, and some research results), and passed the final examination of my studies. I am immensely proud of myself. I have to thank a lot of people for this achievement, and I did so, privately and in public through my dissertation, which you can freely access and read now (link at the end of this post).

But I underestimated how much pressure and effort went into this PhD, how much despair and chaos I collected over the years. I noticed it when I submitted my work last November. It felt like I had reached my peak form, my last evolution, the best I could do. I would never need to work that hard for something. That is what I needed to hear at the moment, and what I still want to feel today. I am constantly exhausted when I think to hard about tasks I need to do. The PhD (and some other events, to be fair) completely erased my tolerance for bullshit jobs, anything that harms my mental health, anything that might take away enjoyable time from my day.

Gray cat screaming or yawning
Me shortly before submitting.

A new side quest

Surprisingly, I started a new job in February. I gave myself only 2 months to recover from this experience. It is a job I started to hunt for since September, and it seemed stupid to let the opportunity pass. It is a startup job, and as a security engineer, you never find such positions. Because no one wants to pay for security, especially small companies.

But a lot changed. I am not constantly thinking about work. I can give my best at work, and leave it behind when I’m done. Not only that, but I spend the weekends not working (crazy, I know). I actually enjoy taking time for myself, doing things like reading books, playing video games, and not worrying about deadlines.

Work has taken the back seat in the work-life relationship. But surprisingly, I am still not capable to fully enjoy life. I still struggle to not feel exhausted even after a rather short day at work. Why would I work on my personal goals if I just can play games or spend some quality time with my family? Why do I even need personal goals right now?

Gray cat sleeping on a bed with a doctoral hat on.
Me right now.²

I need more time to heal

So I realized that I am still healing. But that is okay. I can rest and enjoy my achievement for some time now. My new hobby is finding all the places and documents I can put new title on. The first (and easiest) is going to be the health insurance card, because why not. I wanted to share it, because bragging about your most impressing achievements on your own blog is socially acceptable. But I still wanted to mention what is behind this, at least in my experience.

Let’s finish this post with some impressions of the day:

¹Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash
²Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash

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