Category Archives: PhD

The other end of the PhD tunnel

After 4.5 long years the PhD ordeal has come to an end. I passed with minor revisions and ready and raring to take on other multiple things in life.

I can see the sun, smell the flowers and notice the stars in the sky. Its like I am reborn again, with so many things I could do in a day. Things that I could do without remorse or guilt of not giving my all to the thesis, the despair and anguish of an unfinished draft, unaddressed comments and half-formulated arguments. The viva itself was an intense discussion of the decisions, my understanding and clarification of what I had written in my thesis in itself. It helped that they wanted to know why I did this project in the first place. A very intelligent comment really prised open the gist of the entire process for me in this thesis. It goes: “Make more explicit (potentially in each chapter) where you are addressing gaps, approaches, and new knowledge in relation to either of concept development, institutional interventions and donor policy or your field methodology.”

This one really got me thinking on how my research actually addressed a gap, and how I position my arguments in relation to a concept, theory, practice, methodology or policy. Having understood these criteria exist, I reckon its useful to delineate our findings and arguments in these compartments for clear thinking and critical analysis.

Really speaking, there is no big change in the level of competitiveness in job applications, despair in rejections and lethargy in submission to publication speediness. I hope to sharpen the skills I acquired in my PhD process and enhance my interests in areas that require further research, expanding my knowledge and interests.

Of course this entire journey itself would have been impossible without the unwavering support of my supervisors. I think they shared my anxiety and understood my challenges at each step, and yet stood by me to ensure I reach my destination. I hope I have made them both proud – Dr John Twigg and Cassidy Johnson. I welled up in tears inside, when he sent that proud message to all members in the department that I passed. I don’t know how you ever repay your teachers, guides and mentors. My biggest aspiration is to be like them, clear in thinking, contributing to society in any way through their work and seeking to explore newer areas of social research in disaster and conflict settings, and working with vulnerable and marginalised sections of our communities. I have a heart filled with respect and gratitude for both of them and will remember the approaches and apply learnings in my field.

Onwards towards an enriching journey.



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The end-point seems far far away!

When you slog so hard, and work each day,

You fail to see the sun shine and the moon brighten your dark way.

The nights go on, and brightness withers, but in your heart you know –

the caged bird sighs!

The path for this thesis is set by your determination

You look at systems, you look at linkages, you persevere for those whom you research!

Their houses get washed, their surroundings fall apart, they give you the courage to move on.

When nothing seems clear, and the end point seems far away,

Your weary ways, your puzzled mind will be awash with sleep, and a new day will rise

  • and the caged bird will sing!

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