Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Per aspera ad astra

"through the thorns of struggle to the stars on high"

A year ago today (19 December), I became a PhD.

Graduation finally came. It was the (most) exhilarating and pleasurable culmination of the seemingly endless research journey to finish the dissertation, having my supervisors review it for the 'go-ahead-submit-it', hand it in for external examination and get it accepted to be awarded the degree for a piece of original research (applause, applause).

As Stewgad indicated, being in graduate school is both ego-building and utterly emotionally shattering. But having weathered this so-called 'limbo of academia', I'd like to think that I got through it unscathed (albeit a social pariah?). It has only been 12 months since I left* the academe, but the years spent as a research postgrad have been the most fulfilling. I actually reveled in doing research. I took delight in doing the hard work it invariably demanded. I was the best me I know doing academic research. It certainly was character building. They say (this, I really and truly believe) that you don't need to be a genius to earn a PhD (although it doesn't hurt). I am smart but have never thought that I am an outstanding or exceptional student. What I have going for me are: the great capacity to learn as well as, perhaps, not afraid of hard work.

I believe that nobody finishes a dissertation without discipline, determination, grit, tenacity and fortitude. GUMPTION!

Summing up the experience, I say earning the Ph.D. is "Pretty Heady, Doggone".

*this is another story which merits another blog entry

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