Almost there. I did the 3 year master's (should've been 2), followed immediately by the doctoral degree that was supposed to take 4 but never does and is instead taking me 5 years. I am so fucking ready to be done with this chapter of my life. I don't even care what comes next. It doesn't get a whole lot worse than this -- thinking all the time, writing all the time, constantly worrying about what comes next or whether I'll have the mental and emotional stamina to finish this dissertation without losing my mind. I am determined to finish the diss on time even though my thesis went way the fuck past my personal deadline. I stayed on schedule through my BA but the ridiculous amount of reading, writing, and worrying demanded by grad school compounded by the stress of living on a very very tight budget makes it impossible to hit targets from the department (unless you do quantitative type research that is more formulaic and more efficient in terms of writing and publishing). Anyways, I digress.
I'm pretty sure this dissertation will get done no matter how bad it is going to make my life suck the next 12 months. I can't have 8 YEARS of my life culminate in an ABD (all but dissertation). I survived general exams and that seemed impossible, so I think I have enough in me to do this dissertation thing too.
So assuming the above, there is no fucking way I will still be a grad student 1 year from now. Oh shit, unless I get a post-doc. Oh the horror. I don't know if I could do that.
OK assuming I don't get a post-doc I'll be doing SOMETHING else. Maybe being underemployed outside of academia, maybe community college teaching, maybe doing something temporary back in Vancouver, maybe even actually teaching in a 4-year university (chances not high given cuts to education funding nation-wide). Maybe something I haven't even thought of yet. Worst case scenario I'll be unemployed and sticking around on the 1 year practical training allowance of my student visa while cramming into my bf's studio apartment. That's not horrible. I won't be writing a dissertation. And that's comforting. I'll have some time to get my shit together and see what's next.
This dissertation hell is temporary. It has an end, and if I focus on the fact that there IS an end I feel a lot better and I can refocus on writing. This hell will end sooner if I work harder and the reward of not working on this diss anymore is a big one.
So far I'm feeling much less wound up about it...Man, it takes a lot of self-talk to get through a fucking day these days.