Many of you may have already seen on Facebook that I have completed my dissertation! I submitted it this past Wednesday afternoon, a whole 5 days before the deadline. After submitting it I was shaking, though I'm not sure if that was due to excitement or to the excess of caffeine and lack of food I'd consumed that day. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved doing it. It was my first chance to do my own research and how much I enjoyed doing that has actually opened me up to the possibility of doing more research in the future. I've even applied for a few research-based jobs. But I am also thrilled and relieved to be done. As well as a little bit scared. Because for the past 18 years--pretty much as much of my life as I can remember--I have been a student. And now I'm not. For the first time in my life I have no readings, no essays, no assignments, no classes to attend or new semesters to prepare for. And I already feel a bit directionless with my newfound freedom. I'm still working at Caffi Glas, but I can't take on more hours even though I have more time now, as I'm already near my limit of 20 hours a week on my student visa. I'm taking driving lessons, and I am looking forward to continuing my volunteering with the British Red Cross, which I had to give up in the last few months of dissertation work. But that's pretty much the extent of any sense of structure in my life.
As an undergraduate, even when I was on breaks, I was nearly always either taking summer classes or still in Iowa City working two jobs. The last time I was really this "free" was the summer after my freshman year of college. I went back to Peoria without a job or any obligations really, and it was pretty miserable. I am someone who thrives on a sense of order and structure, and I felt guilty having so much free time and not contributing anything substantial to the world. Of course, I have plenty of hobbies, some of which have been a bit neglected over the past few years, and I can't wait to get back to them. I can't wait to have the time to scrapbook and make cards, continue learning to sew, and to read and write for pleasure. And of course I am job-hunting, scouring job postings every day and writing up cover letters and applications. But the thought that the only real obligation I have right now is my cafe job is a strange one. It'll definitely take some getting used to.
Other than that, as stated before, I've started applying for jobs. I don't want to go into too much detail about that here because it just stresses me out, but the short of it is that not being an EU/UK citizen makes the job hunt a lot more difficult and there are all sorts of requirements a position has to meet to even be eligible for a work visa (which I'd need). If you're curious for more details, just look up 'Tier 2 visa sponsorship'. Though I should note that the fact that once I graduate in January I will have completed a degree in the UK makes my chances marginally higher than if I were applying for jobs in the UK straight out of the States. So there's that. Anyways, it's way past my bedtime but I wanted to get this post up tonight. Goodnight!