Monday, January 7, 2013

A 2012 Reflection - Lessons I learned while doing a PhD

Happy New Year!!! Now that 2013 is here, a 2012 reflection post is required, I think. :) The year 2012 did not start off in the most positive of ways, but it certainly ended on a high: I submitted my PhD thesis! Yay!

When I first started 2012, I told myself (and anyone else who would listen) that I would like to complete my studies by the end of the year. So I set off planning milestones throughout the whole year (as seen above in my calendar), such as finish literature review chapter by this date, and this chapter by this date. Despite my "perfect" plan, things really did not work out as I expected. So despite the best laid plans, I found myself adjusting my completion date. First, there was 3rd September, then 3rd of December. I finally submitted on the 17th Dec 2012. It took me about 3 years and 9 months, as opposed to 3 years and 6 months that I had planned for. On the up side too, I finally understood what is it really that I am doing when I was preparing for submission. As it turned out all along, other than researching in the area of engineering education, my research is also categorised under engineering professional practice.

As I put my thesis together, I had a couple of epiphanies. When I did my textile design degree, I was taught how to manage projects. We did not have exams, instead we have design projects. At times, we had 3-4 projects due around the same time. My biggest take-away from my design course is time management. When I did my MBA, we had to do a lot of presentations. The course helped me to grow to be a better speaker and presenter. When I did the PhD, I had to use all the skills that I had learned previously, and refined them. Certainly though the PhD taught me the most. It taught me that it is not about doing what you love. Rather, to love whatever you are doing. I actually grew to love my research, if that makes sense. The topic that I had done was not really my first choice of topic/subject area, but I came out of the PhD still loving my research and enjoying the whole process (despite the ups and downs).  I can also say that I learned a whole lot of new things about engineering problem solving processes, and working with engineers. Ultimately, I did feel that I came out of it feeling more confident as a researcher.

So what is next? I am really unsure of what my plan is, or what 2013 will bring. Nonetheless, I am excited and hopeful. What did 2012 bring you? :)

from me to u.

1 comment:

  1. Jen, thank you for the insightful writing. I particularly like the approach of loving what you do and finding yourself immersed in new and challenging experiences. It's already February but oh well, the year is still fresh! so I'll seek some of those challenges ; ) x


Related Posts with Thumbnails