You thought you had done everything but you forgot to get the bin out!
What to do when you think you have finished everything?
This works the same for your thesis. You are sure you have finished it – read: you have submitted your last manuscript to your supervisors – however, there is still a lot of work to do.
What still needs to be done
Fat chance you still have to check all your literature references, which will cost you a lot of time. Have you added your supervisors’ latest comments?
You have to make sure your printed manuscript is distributed to the right persons. And hopefully, the reading committee doesn’t come back with lots of comments. Make sure you plan some time to integrate these comments.
Then the hard work commences: writing the summary, foreword or acknowledgements, designing the cover of your manuscript. Maybe suggest some hypotheses. Arrange the final date. Prepare your manuscript for printing. Some printers are specialised in printing these, they have some handy checklists. Request an ISBN number. And didn’t they mention a symposium once all the Committee members are present? To organise this will take up a lot of time. Do you have any influence on who will be appointed to the Committee? You will have to send the invitations sooner than later.
These last couple of months are to make sure you familiarize yourself with your University’s procedures. Have a look at your University’s website. Check the University of Amsterdam for instance. Or check the Beadle’s Office.
Last but not least is the preparation of your defense. Check out if your University organises ‘test academic ceremonies’ or organise one yourself with your assistants. Check with your supervisor if you are not sure about something and talk with other PhD students who have just completed their defence ceremony. Make a visit to other defence ceremonies just to taste what is waiting for you. Make sure you know everything about the actual ceremony. This can vary per University.
And finally the organisation of the actual day. Who are you going to invite? Perhaps you have to prepare your introductory speech, so-called lay speech. Have you booked the ceremony rooms, made the reservations for dinner afterwards?
Ask PNN about the costs and maybe your University has some grants for certain costs. Don’t forget to inquire.
Open a new document on your computer and start with a script for this last phase of your PhD. It will be very beneficial!