Thesis submitted!

Last Wednesday I submitted my thesis to the university. I still have the defence to prep for (which will hopefully be in about 5-6 weeks if all goes smoothly, and of course all the revisions that will come from the 3 manuscripts that are under review for publication), but it does feel good to have the document out of my hands.

I was very lucky that my final 2 week sprint was less of a sprint and more of a fast and steady jog. I wasn’t writing any new material or doing new analyses, I was editing, incorporating feedback, and formatting. It was still stressful, but it I shouldn’t complain.  My one “big task” was going through absolutely everything looking for grammar, spelling, formatting, and consistency errors. I did so by doing a visual scan of everything zoomed out for consistency and formatting first, and then used the speaking function on the computer to have every paragraph and legend read back to me out loud. I am happy I did it of course, but it was also frustrating because I did find small mistakes in every single chapter (which is insane because its not like they were drafts, I had read them so many times!).

I am sacred about what the thesis reviewers will say and thus have some associated nervousness, but I also feel relieved that an important mile-stone is done.

Now I am taking a little bit of time out of the city to make sure I am taking advantage of the end of summer (I can see the leaves turning on the trees so it really is coming to an end) and the wonderful ecosystem services lakes have to provide! I am making progress on little bits of work that I didn’t focus on during the end-of-thesis-jog, and prepping my talks for France (and my defence). I really really would like to blow my audiences out of the water with these talks. I want to deeply incorporate the training about science communication I have received and make sure I finish my degree on a high note. I am consulting online resources and thinking about the “stories” I want to tell, but I also know that I need to be practicing!


View from Parc de la Gatineau


Anthruther lake

Next up is France and I will try and use the blog to do some nice recaps of the conference sessions as well as reflections on science communication throughout.


T-2 weeks but already thinking of post-submission

I know my mind should be 110% in thesis writing mode, but i find myself thinking (and worrying a little) about the 2 talks I will be giving in France at the beginning of September. Of course its all about my thesis, and will be great prep for my thesis defence in October, but I still feel a little guilty my head isn’t solely focused on finishing the writing portion.

paris 2008 046

Urban garden in Paris last time I was there. No talks in Paris this time, but I will still visit a few days.

As soon as I have submitted, I will delve back into the links I have already come across about good presentations, as well as a few new ones. Just today I saw one I quite liked ( only 5 steps to a great presentation, I can do that right!). I am looking forward to working on some science communication, and I know that both of my talks have very different audiences (one is to agronomists in french, and the other is to P sustainability folks (from lots of countries) in english), which means I will need to tailor both the presentations.

Even though I admitted my brain has been wondering off to presentation land a little, I have of course been making progress on the thesis front (thanks to my advisor’s (and other co-authors) thoughtful comments and quick response times). I have finally submitted my framework chapter manuscript! As it had 10 co-authors every step was a little longer, but its finally submitted.

I don’t know why I still find this surprising, but I am bedazzled at how long it takes to add new content to a manuscript when you are not intimately familiar with the literature (and even when you are, you still need to go make sure you are properly citing). A friendly reviewer suggested I add some more content on social capital and innovation in my barriers and facilitators chapter. I already had some citations in there, but I wanted to broaden a little. It took me a week, I read a lot, and in the end probably only added 10-12 sentences and 7 citations. It got done though!

I have also reviewed all the “extra” bits of the thesis (introduction chapter, connecting statements, and conclusion chapter), which are key in making sure the external and internal reviewer see how it all fits together. I am focusing on some of the formatting of the overall thesis over the weekend, and will hopefully be ready and refreshed for a next round of revisions on my last chapter (which I do hope to submit for publication before submitting my thesis), and my extra bits.

It seems unreal that this document might actually exist in a few days!

Garden in full bloom in from of the house this week (hopefully the thesis will also be flowering soon!)

Garden in full bloom in from of the house this week (hopefully the thesis will also be flowering soon!)