Total Clarity

Yesterday I finished the hard part of my ‘pre’ data collection (this photo is, in fact, part of that data). For the first time in my PhD candidature, I can see the finish line with total clarity. 30 October, y’all.

An Unusually Long Series Of Small Steps

Doing a PhD seems big when considered in the aggregate, but it’s actually just an unusually long series of small steps. One step at a time tends to get the job done.

Many of those small moments are thresholds, the crossing of which being worth celebrating. Finishing a draft, completing an article. Selfishly: the first time you cite yourself 😂. But there’s rarely time to stop and properly soak it in. The next step is always waiting.

From today, the next three months will be the busiest such period of my life. Along the way there will (hopefully) be much to celebrate, but I’ll have to contain my excitement.

For now.

I Felt As If I Was On Solid Ground

I recently received the official word that I have been accepted to complete my PhD at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). This is the happy result of over a year of legwork that included choosing my research topic, composing my research proposal and endearing myself to the faculty by assisting with teaching.

I completed my MBA in Sport Management and Marketing last year (also at UTS) and it wasn’t long after graduation that I realized study is a passion of mine that I wasn’t ready to let go. I reached out to a former professor, Nico, who is one of the world experts in the field I am interested in studying (sport for development) and asked if he wouldn’t mind having a drink to discuss the possibility of doing a PhD under his supervision. Fortunately, he happily agreed and we set a meeting in Manly.

We met on a Friday afternoon just over a year ago. The sun was shining and we enjoyed a cold beer on the wharf as we discussed the future. Nico had sold me on the prospect of further study within moments, confirming that it was everything I thought it was and so much more. I would be able to study, write, pursue my own interests in terms of research, and teach!

We parted after an hour or so and I immediately rang Claire to tell her what I’d discovered. Her advice was simple.

“Well, obviously you’re doing it.”

I watched storm clouds roll in over the harbour as her and I discussed what the next few years would look like. Marriage, honeymoon, kids, and now a thesis. Dr. Greg – and why not?

I stepped onto the ferry just as the storm hit the shoreline. The rain pounded against the windows and the boat pitched more violently than is typical. It was dark and rainy and it seemed as if the entire world was moving around me but for the first time in my thirty years, I felt as if I was on solid ground.