I just received the stamp on my ph.d. thesis today. What a relief! It is still not the very end, but I am able to see it now.
Making a ph.d. is like running a marathon. G. reminded me that in my first marathon I decided to give up (as I had done two times before at 30K and 24K). That time, I was on the 25K. And I stop running, sat on a bench and thought how uncomfortable that stone bench in Reforma was. So I laid down and had a nap, at least half an hour. When I woke up, I started walking back home. After 10 or 15 meters I noticed that all my pain had disappeared, so I made up my mind, turned around and started running again. I was in the middle of the cars, since the last runner had seen me already sleeping my siesta (yes, I was in the last group, not at the front). I kept running and feeling great till I reached the end.
That was my first marathon. The second one was in Berlin. And now this Aristotle thesis.
The project lasted for almost ten years. First I had to learn German, Classic Greek, to un-learn all those misleading interpretations I had learned in Mexico, read around 200 or 250 titles (books, essays, articles, chapters of books), learn how to write properly in German, tolerate Germans with their food and awful weather... But then I fall in love with this Germany full of pretty girls who are unaware of their beauty and their awful food and their awesome country, all of which makes me a bit angry.
Veni, vidi, vici.
There is nothing else I can do now except wait for a date for the defense. And defend my thesis and proposal.
Alea iacta est.
You learn too many things about your own self while training for and running a marathon. The same with the ph.d. There are several difficulties, specially if you are in Germany. But a special factor is that your old friends left centuries ago the university and think of you as some sort of fossil. And the new people you meet in the university are either ñoños dedicating their life to their field in order to became the best researchers of the world, or are younger students who are funny but not your peers. In either case, there is a gap. Of course, there are many exceptions and nuances.
Other difficulty is the pressure from outside, say family, funding institution, friends, etc. As I wrote before, asking for the status of the thesis is like asking for the exgirlfriend. That makes you only sad, if you are still dealing with it, and that is exactly when people ask, since people stop asking just when it is really over. A. is the only person I have met all these years who really knows how to talk about the thesis: she never asks, never shows surprise or disappointment if you get stuck, she just unconditionally supports you. That is the only right thing to do.
Today I am happy.
Foto: Aristotle, Musée du Louvre