In a new relationship, the number of milestones you take together seems endless, and exciting at the same time: the first kiss, the first breakfast together, telling the ex, meeting the parents, getting your own toothbrush at your partner’s place. Not necessarily in this particular order. Ideally, they just happen, some you have to fight for, others happen way too soon.

In a PhD, milestones are allocated from uni. Griffith tells you when they are and what they are. But it makes me wonder, if ECM, confirmation, etc. are only official milestones, then what are the real milestones?

Is it your confirmation? The first publication? The first time you dig into your Tequila hidden at your desk (possibly around confirmation)? The first publishable results? The first time you wanna quit? The first time you wanna rock up to your professor and whine? Or the first time you actually do rock up to your professor and whinge?

I, myself, just had a milestone: I realised that my supervisors can only be of partial help to me. He said ” I hope I can be more help to you soon.” Arrh. Words you have never wanted to hear from your supervisor. From now on, I will have to think my stuff through all on my own, put my foot down, defend it, convince them, do it. For me, that doesn’t come with the status of a student. But that’s what’s gonna help me produce a dissertation. My dissertation.

However many milestones there are and whatever they are, just like in a relationship, they catapult us into the next level. It might seem tricky at the time, but once we are over it, they open up a new phase. And that phase might be awesome. Or not. And that’s ok, because unlike in a relationship, higher degree has a final milestone: thesis submission.

See you out there, Wenx