Thursday, April 19, 2007


A few people lately have asked me what I plan to reward myself with when I finish the PhD. And I really don't have any idea.

I think I need two rewards, though (at least!). The first is for when I complete the whole thing and hand it to my committee (which is supposed to happen at the end of April, but—my my, is that the time already?—you may have noticed that this is nearly upon us. I'm hoping to get it done by mid-May, though, at the latest). The second will be for the official submission, which is scheduled for the end of July (i.e. after my committee returns it with their suggestions for improvement and I make the necessary changes (like fixing overuse of parenthetical asides, just to choose an example purely at random)). I might also reward myself when I actually graduate, which given the university's graduation timetables and the time factored in for the international examiners to mark the damn thing, probably won't be until July 2008. And I suspect I will be totally over it all by then, so only really need two rewards.

The only thought I had had so far was that I will finally be free(er) to travel, so could reward myself with a trip to New Zealand to visit those friends and relatives who always get missed out on our duty visits to the parents. Geekman and I are also long-overdue a trip somewhere nice to use up our frequent flyer miles: we were thinking of going to the Cook Islands again, where we spent our honeymoon.

Travel might not work out so well, though, as various problems conspire to make it difficult for the next few months (including the fact that Geekman currently doesn't have a visa that allows him to leave the country and get back in again), and after July I'm hoping to be teaching again, which restricts the amount of time I can spend waltzing around the world.

So what else could I use as a reward? It can't be too expensive, since me completing this thing will also (coincidentally!) mean I no longer have any funding (and isn't that a great incentive?). But I could probably stretch to a couple of hundred dollars.

So, a question to all academic readers: if you've graduated already, how did you reward yourself at the end of it? And current grad students, what do you plan to do?


wolfa said...

A massage? Some kind of dessert from the overpriced but beautiful dessert store that must be *somewhere*? An evening or two at a luxury hotel in a different city in the same country?

Geeka said...

I would really like to travel after I am done. I would also like to take like an intensive cooking class: one of those two weeks classes that takes place somewhere not in my hometown.

Anonymous said...

i have a whole series of things planned!

When I turn the diss in, I am going to spend the money to have my hair professionally cut and colored, which is something I never do.

Upon graduation, I'm getting a bag I picked out a long time ago. It's a red leather bag, very chic and professional looking.

If I get a job, I get two things. One is that I get a chunk of money to buy all new teaching clothes. Two is that I get to go back to the restaurant with the chipotle chocolate pecan tart and avocado ice cream.

That's it. :)

Weekend_Viking said...

I had a bondage themed 'Submission Party' after submitting my thesis. After my oral exam and revisions, I blew some bits of my thesis out of a cannon. I try and do this at least once yearly, with bits of the spare-pre revision softbound copies that are essentially scrap paper.

RageyOne said...

I rewarded myself with diamond earrings.

StyleyGeek said...

I like wolfa's massage idea. And if there WAS an overpriced but beautiful dessert store, I'd like that one too.

Geeka's idea of taking a class is very appealing. I've been wanting to take a painting or drawing class for ages but can never really justify the expense. If it was a reward, though...

I like the idea of a series of rewards, though, so maybe I can incorporate a whole bunch of people's suggestions. (Though I think diamonds are probably out of my league.)

Weekend Viking: I may have to borrow your cannon.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

The cannon idea is spectacular. (And Anastasia, Chris is talking about that tart all the time. In fact, it turns out that his company is headquartered in AnastasiaCity, and he totally just put in a request along the lines of "If we have to get retrained this year, can I get sent there, please? There's this restaurant that my wife's friend has told me about.")

My suggestion: travel within the the country (take less time, bypass Geekman's visa problem). Choose somewhere where you haven't gone before and be tourists.

Anonymous said...

Photos of the thesis cannon destruction finally up on Flickr.

Can't remember if we inflicted these on you before or not...


wolfa said...

I want to move to Anastasia-town and eat that pie.

paideia said...

fabulous question. I am in a similar position [submitting late May/early June; defending July; not graduating until May 08 'cause there's only one graduate per year]

I love fiber arts and want to reward myself with a spinning wheel [and some lessons] at some point in the process... probably after the defense.

Got the job the same week my ipod broke, so, _coincidentally_, the new ipod went with the job.

I don't think I can purchase myself any other extravagant gifts, but wow, Weekend Viking's "Submission Party" sounds fabulous.

Perhaps you could reward yourself with.... lots of time to do nothing? :-) Fancy dinner out? Something nice 'n geeky? Definitely something that doesn't have to do with work, though.

Free time, to me, sounds like the very greatest reward there is.

Omar Burgos said...

I find that the best thing to do after the year's work of thesis writing is to just forget about everything. After you get a job, there would be no more breaks from then on, so savor those moments while you still got them! Though a quick excursion won't hurt either.