It’s dissertation week and, no, I’m not handing it in carefully bound with a sense of relief attached to it. It’s the week that the dissertation nightmares begin. They were bound to happen and were lurking in the perimeters of my mind, just waiting to leap out and attack. I had felt them venturing in closer when I woke up at five am to do some ‘light reading’ for it, closer still when I was counting up the books for my bibliography before even being half way through the thing itself. Yet I had not anticipated them this early. There is still a month or so left and I had assumed I would get some respite until at least the end of April.
Alas it is not to be. Ernest finds it hilarious and attempts to goad whatever form the dread of dissertation takes in my mind. He’s something like a cross between a sarky Jack Black and a cartoon devil. He even encourages its behaviour during the day which, frankly, I could do without. He raises the questions that I know I will never answer or even attempt to address in my dissertation yet sit there like the black crow in the back of my mind, a ‘what if’ of dissertations. I wonder if I will still get that 2:1 if I don’t answer them and Ernest shakes his head miserably. I wonder if I just read five more books would my bibliography look more impressive and boost me up a grade?
Ernest tuts and looks pityingly at me. He knows how this works, he knows the score, he will stress me until essays are over, until everything is done and I can do nothing about it. Then he will look at me and say, “you know, you couldn’t have done much more” and I’ll think, “yeah, he’s right, this fictional and probably unhealthy character in my mind, he’s bloody well right”. We’ll form an alliance again, be best buds, probably around the time I start interviewing for jobs. But right now, during the dissertation nightmare period, I hate him.