Writing a PhD thesis

Some inspiring words from Peter Hancock.

Writing a thesis is like being confined in a pit of your own sewage, well over your head. It is little comfort that it is your own sewage. Indeed by comparison, other people’s sewage is like the crystal waters off an island in the Bahamas.

Writing a thesis has parallels with giving birth to a child. There is a long and protracted labour, with little opening of the cervix. Then application of forceps, and finally a bloody and painful Caesarian. In a cow-shed. Using a piece of scaffolding. The midwife here is the thesis supervisor, before whom it is vain to try to maintain any dignity.

There is also the possibility that the thing will be dead on arrival, or too miserable and monstrous to let live. The examiners don’t want to do much more than cut the cord, hold it up by its feet and slap its arse. Or give it a couple of kicks of a shit-stained abbatoire boot. Else it gets slung out for the crows.


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