As of yesterday, I am officially a Doctor. I have the certificate and everything.
I'm still shaking my head with amazement about that gown. As well as being a little confining on what was another very warm day, it makes me look like I'm a member of an ecclesiastical football team (by ironic coincidence, following semi-family tradition I vaguely support West Ham United). Those of you looking for the silly hat, fortunately we didn't have to wear that in the ceremony itself, although to keep Mum happy I wore it for the official photo.
I was discussing the total ridiculousness of this attire with a friend at work today. As well as claiming that I'd got off lightly (I'm hard pressed to see how, mind), she proposed the highly plausible theory that it is just the Universities' way of putting us upstart graduands in our place. As she put it:
"It's like they're saying: you think you're so smart? We can still make you look ridiculous"
So, the final postscript to my PhD? Perhaps, but it left me a bit cold - who cares about a certificate when you have the thesis on your shelf? Curiously though, I found that all of the major events at the end of my tortuous academic journey - submission, viva, final submission - have turned out to be somewhat anticlimatic. I'm not sure why that is. I think part of me feels that despite passing my viva, and even despite having published a large chunk of the work I have done thus far, the verdict on my work is still out - I'll only start to feel happy when I see it being cited by other people. But perhaps part of it is also that like life, the journey - the process of doing a PhD - is more important than the actual destination. Although NERC would add that you still need to get there, within four years if you don't mind very much.