Last week, I finished and handed in my dissertation… And to be honest, it was really anti-climactic. I’d already been seeing those classic dissertation hand-in photos, where fellow students pose with their fully-bound projects and a big smile on their face. I’d already seen those statuses proclaiming peoples’ freedom. And I suppose I was expecting a little band with a big sign saying “WELL DONE YOU’VE FINISHED” to be waiting for me outside after I’d posted my 42 pages into the coursework submission box. But it was just me and a slightly lighter backpack that emerged.
Family and friends from home helped though. I got numerous messages about how proud they were of me and that I was finally free, and I had some of those “woo, go me!” moments, which was nice. I think that because I’m highly proficient in worrying, instead of really feeling relieved and accomplished, my brain immediately just started stressing about the next thing – my viva and presentation about my project! Eeep.
But, saying that… I did have a rather interesting day giving in my dissertation, so instead of trying to unwrap my complex un-feelings about my dissertation, I’m going to share my mis-adventures from the day.
I had been rather clever about the deadline for my dissertation, I managed to convince myself that it was a day earlier so that I definitely would not be late handing it in. So it was on Thursday, and not Friday, that I woke up ready to travel to Notts to hand it in. I’d already printed it off, and all that was left to do was bind it.
That bloody binding really stressed me out, and I ended up sending out a plea for help on Facebook, which worked really well. And so on a friend’s advice, I found myself trekking to Birmingham’s town center to a stationary shop to get the binding done.
The guy who worked there started up the machine to do it, and started asking me questions about my dissertation, about uni and life. He was pretty nice and friendly, and we had a nice chat. Inevitably, the topic turned to dogs (for I am a crazy dog lady and proud), and I was telling him about Sherlock and Watson – my labradoodles. He grinned and said I’d have to show him a photo. My sleep-deprived zombie brain paused for a second in delight – I love taking photos of pretty much everything and especially my cute pups, so I dug out my phone and showed him their fluffy faces. He agreed that they were cute (everyone does), and then cheekily added “Ah well, now you’ve got your phone out, why don’t you let me put my number in it?”.
I hope I didn’t look at him too oddly, but this was definitely not how I was expecting my dissertation binding to go… Plus I was totally out of it from writing the damn thing, so I suspect I might have looked at him like this:
And I am really quite sorry for that, because he was really very nice. It’s just that I’m already in a relationship with the man of my dreams, so I managed a “Urm… Oh, that’s urm, really nice, well I mean, I’m sorry, but I already have a boyfriend…”
So that was pretty awkward, and when I’d left, I phoned up my boyfriend because I was feeling a bit weird. I told him about it, and he said I should have given this guy my number! Well, it’s bloody typical isn’t it, you think you’re doing the right thing by your partner and then they come out with something ridiculous like that. I wasn’t going to lead a guy on, ya know.
I then hopped (well, gracefully stepped on to) a train to Nottingham. Read a bit about prosthetic limbs on animals (as you do) and two hours later, found myself ready to get off the train. As I carefully left the train, two things happened. I thought: “Oooo, it’s already 12 o’clock, I should really hurry to campus so it’s done” and simultaneously, my shoe decided to split in two pieces.
Not completely though, no. I was wearing flatform sandals and the sole had come off so that it was flapping and made this loud slapping noise with every step I took. Which, ya know, was perfect. So, off I flapped up to the tram stop, and realised I couldn’t flap my way across my campus to the room where I had to give in my dissertation. It was just too embarrassing. So instead, I decided to get the tram in the opposite direction – into town to get some new shoes. I realised that there was a stop in the main square, which had a Schuh. So I flapped onto the next tram, and got off at Market Square.
I think I’ll just add at this stage that this was the SECOND TIME that I had ever worn these bloody sandals, and they were from T.K. Max. Well, T.K. Max, I hope you’re bloody happy with yourself.
I had hoped that the square wouldn’t be too busy, because it was a Thursday. But there was a big market on, and it was busy enough that there were plenty of people to stare and giggle at me as I flapped through the middle of the square to Schuh. Only, after all that, there wasn’t a Schuh there at all. It was now a bloody pizza restaurant. I felt myself deflating, until I saw Debenhams a few shops down.
Flap. Flap. Flap. I reached Debenhams, opened the doors and came face to face with two beautifully pristine ladies who worked at the make-up counters, staring at my feet and trying to maintain a straight face. I asked them where the shoe section was, and they pointed me to it. My flaps were becoming more and more dejected the further I walked in to the shop.
I got to the shoe section, which was at the very back of the store, chose a set of sandals that looked similar to the ones I was “wearing”, and looked around for a sales assistant to get me one in my size. Only there was no-one there. Sigh.
I flapped until I found two older ladies chatting, dressed in Debenhams uniforms, and asked them to help me. Instead, one of them said she’d find the lady who was supposed to be manning the shoe section. I flapped back to the shoes and waited for my shoe-saviour. When she came, she was essentially my knight in shining armour. She helped me find the comfiest shoes imaginable (they feel like I’m walking on a water-bed) and wished me luck handing in my dissertation (Nottingham Debenhams, you should promote your Shoes lady immediately).
I was back on track and no longer had material hanging limply off my right foot. Instead, I was feeling fabulous AND comfortable. I got on the next tram straight to the University of Nottingham. I bounced (I was now bouncing, no longer flapping) all the way to the room where I had to give in my dissertation. NOTHING COULD STOP ME NOW.
I had my form to fill out, which I did, and I date and time stamped the thing and I was ready to go. I read the next step on the form: “STAPLE THIS TO THE FRONT OF YOUR COURSEWORK.” Well, I’d got my coursework bound hadn’t I? There was no-where to bloody staple it to.
All of this hard work over the months, and all the drama of the day, and I was stumped at the last hurdle. I just couldn’t take it. So I thought “fuck this”, and stapled it to the £3.99 bound shiny front cover and threw it into the coursework box.
So maybe that’s why the whole thing felt very anti-climactic.
Instead of celebrating with my happy band with the banners, I stalked off to Mooch, the student bar, and had veggie chilli with cheese and chips and people-watched for about an hour. Students are truly fascinating creatures.