December 31, 2014

Forgive me, Blog, for I have not written

Forgive me, Blog, for I have not written. It has been more than two years since my last post and throughout this period, this site has been inactive. So much has transpired since the day I left Christchurch that I haven’t had the time to write or reflect on the life changes I've gone through. So why now? Well, today is new year's eve. That time of year when one feels nostalgic about everything. Upon reflection on my old posts, it dawned to me that I have not  written a closure to my PhD-struggle stories which dominated this site. Hence, this entry. 

Let’s pick up where we left off shall we? In May 2012 in the days leading up to leaving New Zealand, I wrote a sappy post about not wanting to leave Christchurch. Well, the moment I got home, my misery subsided, only to be replaced with confusion, doubt and joy. Confusion over the new stuff to learn at work, doubt over my ability to finish up my thesis and of course overwhelming joy upon reuniting with my family. Over the next few weeks, I was bombarded with social gatherings with family and friends, teaching workload and the pressure of getting settled. 

It took me over a month to get my family settled in; new school, new house and a new environment. A whole new life basically. I was not in a good place at that time, having to worry about my thesis  24/7 and juggling between teaching and family life, which to my regret, was filled with loads of panic-attacks. Not one of my finer moments, no. I somehow managed to get myself on track to continue my PhD struggles by following a boring routine: wake up - worry - write - panic - write - sleep. It took all of my blood, sweat and tears, but I finally managed to complete my thesis on 30th November 2012.  Relieved, disbelief and smug. I was all that when I clicked the send button on my email. It was finally over.

About 5 months after thesis submission, I received an email informing a viva defense scheduled for me in May 2013. Consumed with excitement and anxiety at the same time, I quickly made travel arrangements. This was the final leg of the race! I flew to Christchurch a few days before the big day so Yoda could prep me for the viva. That final prep session I had him was probably  the most valuable and memorable. When the time came for me to do the oral exam, things went surprisingly well and all that Yoda chat paid off. After my viva, I had a celebratory lunch with Yoda, who was absolutely delighted that I became his 1st doctoral graduate in New Zealand. Since all of his previous doctoral graduates were supervised when he was still in the UK, that makes me his first NZ baby! 

Yoda, me, my dean and Obi-Wan after the viva

My graduation day was a moment to savour. Although the ceremony lasted for 2 hours, the only minute that mattered was when my name was called and I walked slowly on the red carpet to receive my scroll. The feeling was indescribable. It marked the end of my PhD journey which I have dreamt about for so long. As I sat with my bonnet on my head and the scroll in my hands, images of my countless meetings with Yoda flashed through my mind. I owe my success to him and I knew that I would miss having him as a mentor. I love you Yoda!

Graduation Day

All that happened only a year ago. How time flies. Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Let's write a good one. Happy New Year everyone!