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Conquering milestones in my PhD journey

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Conquering milestones in my PhD journey

Fifteen minutes ago, I sent my final thesis (pre-examination) to the editor. All eight chapters are consolidated into one document with the abstract, table of contents, dedication, acknowledgements etc. After this, it goes for examination – another milestone on the journey.


I finally finished the corrections to my final draft and finally got the thumbs up from my supervisor. Every postgrad student will agree - it feels like a really painful experience. I pray that I will always be kinder than needed to my own postgrad students because heaven knows – I understand that sting.

Making corrections is painful because as a student, arguably, you always present the best work that you can at that moment in time. Then your supervisor comes along and says “this” or “that” was not good enough. Even if you are not pedantic about you work – when you’ve done the best you can, you can’t see the “better way” yet. So, maneuvering out of the dark spot just ain’t that easy. It ain’t!

It’s not making the changes, per se, that is difficult – it’s figuring out how to change it. When you don’t yet know how to do something, then you just don’t. Nine times out of ten when you reflect, you realize it wasn’t such a huge task. But still, I guess that’s what growth is.

Enough on that. I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to the 18k mark of this half marathon journey (if I can equate a PhD to a half marathon). I can’t actually see the finish line yet, but I know it’s around the corner. I can hear the sounds of noisy crowd and music playing in the distance…

Funny… yesterday a friend suggested we meet for lunch so that I could tell him about my PhD findings. Instinctively, I immediately replied, “Hay Naah. Uh, Uh …When we meet, we can talk about ANYTHING but Quality Culture and Operational Excellence” – and yet I know in my heart that I am completely passionate about anything related to quality! Quality management, quality tools, quality strategies, planning, analytics, and, especially, quality culture. But, right now, I’m just saturated.

My reaction took me completely by surprise.

I have a feeling that it’s a phase, and it will pass. For now, I just need a little bit of breathing space.

Bronwyn Swartz is a Lecturer and postgraduate research supervisor at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in the Western Cape, South Africa. This story was published on January 16, 2019, on Bronwyn’s blog (available here), and has been republished here with her permission.

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Published on: Jun 05, 2019

Lecturer and postgraduate research supervisor at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in the Western Cape, South Africa
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