As much as I’d like the answer to this question to be “Take a massive holiday”, the actual answer is somewhat more complicated.
The pace can definitely slow down a bit. Days off can be taken. Staying in the office till midnight becomes less critical. I can now respond to invitations to things with something other than “Sorry, writing!”. I’ve also been able to attend a few statistics workshops, which are definitely going to help with the work mentioned below. However inevitably I was drawn back into the office to try and do some more science..
Post thesis I can take stock and look back at the chapters so as to work out how best to turn them into papers. My lit review surprised me by suddenly coming out online. My tracking work received some comments as I was writing up, and I spent the week after my hand in dealing with those comments. Other chapters will require some more work for them to reach their full potential.
One thing I keep returning to is my collective behaviour chapter. I did quite a lot of work on this over the last year and a half, so I’m very keen to try and develop this further. The main thing I’m interested in looking into more are the different diving rules animals might follow. Previously I’ve modelled this as a discrete process with 3 simple mutually exclusive rules. I’d like to investigate the individual parameters such as the probability of diving depending time and distance from a previous dive, or the likelihood of diving when a dive is directly in front of the bird compared to behind it.
So with help from Colin Torney from our department of applied mathematics, we’re developing a new model (looking at social diving parameters!), using a new statistical method (bayesian!) in a new programming language (python!). So I’m learning many new things, which is also a good idea in a post-thesis world.
Of course I’m also having to delve back into old data files so as to reorganise them for the new model to read..
(The other thing you do after handing in your thesis is wait on tenterhooks for your thesis defence date. Don’t panic!)