Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Finally finishing my thesis

I just sat and wrote my research proposal for my thesis which is to date, six years overdue. Don’t get me wrong, I have attempted to do so before. This is my third topic during that time.

My weakest point academically is research, and while I have managed to get good grades for the courses I sat, I knew from the get-go that I would have a problem with the research. Why? Because I had nothing that I wanted to write about.

I first took a leave of absence due to my close aunt’s death. I was very close to her and watch her fight a painful battle against breast cancer, with which she had been diagnosed at 26 and died of at the tender age of 31. That was hard for me and submitting a thesis was the last thing on my mind during what I knew would be her last months. I am happy I put her first. No regrets whatsoever.

Unfortunately for me, I developed a whole range of excuses that have now spanned six years. That is a long time to put off getting a piece of paper. I could have finished a PhD. by now- but I don’t want one anyway so no point dwelling on that.

I had come up initially brilliant idea of presenting my research in the form of a documentary on the reality of those living with HIV in Jamaica. Unfortunately, that would have taken funding (video is expensive) and that would have meant several proposals and tireless follow-up to funding agencies for grants. For me, that was too much work. Then I had jobs that required too much of me.

Then I came up with another brilliants idea (still incorporating my first love- film) which would allow me to examine how Jamaicans portrayed their own on film. This turned out to be slightly boring and yet again, I pulled the plug somewhere in the midst of gathering a load of information and books on stereotypes.

Now, I have a time issue on my hands. If I am going to be successful getting decent jobs outside the Caribbean, I have to be suitably qualifed and beyond the Caribbean Sea, a bachelor’s degree and a “pending” masters just do not cut it.

So I have decided to take all of this work drama here and develop an academic research around it. If I am not successful at actually doing the job I thought I came here to do, I must at least gain success academically.

It is the perfect scenario for my thesis, and I have access to all the supporting materials. Plus, the research is really my job- writing communication strategies and policies to improve communication in a place that never had any formal strategy or policy.

The challenges only make the research more realistic and less academic, and you know what I have found? Just by writing the proposal just now, I have come up with some new ideas about how to tackle the problems at work.

It is a exercise in self-criticism and commitment, not to mention patience.

I know that there is ageism at play on the job. I realise that in most workplaces, and cultures, it will be same. Nobody wants to take crap from a woman, much less a younger, prettier one.

But I have to learn to find ways around my own obstacles, real or perceived. I have to learn to get the job done in every circumstance that I am placed in.

My first bible verse that I learnt from Aunt Rosa (who I thought was An Trosa for many years) was “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Maybe I have been trying to take the praises for me, and as such have come across as self-centred and conceited. There is a thin line between confidence and conceit, and maybe I have crossed it a few times.

So this research is teaching me so many things.

It is reminding me that no matter what, I am not at core a quitter. I finish things worth finishing. It is also pushing me to meet personal deadlines that I am not otherwise self-motivated to meet.

I have been trying to get my financial house in order, but I also have to ensure that I maximise my career potential.

If I am contemplating marriage and the inevitable raising of children, I have to make certain that I have pushed myself as far as I can go now.

I have been blessed with talents. Sometimes more than I know what to do with. But talents are like minutes in a bad telephone plan-use them or lose them.

My single years were supposed to be spent on developing me and finding my way, and in many ways I have but I need to go further. Too much time was spent dwelling on men and heartache. Too much time on chasing the all-powerless dollar and too little on doing what truly makes me happy.

And that brings me to today. Today is the day of reckoning. Today is my day of salvation. What am I being saved from? The most destructive elements of myself.

I keep on moaning that there is nothing to do here when I have this grand opportunity to finish something so critically important to my next move that has been hanging in the balance for all of six years.

When I get married, I will not only be debt free, and have some personal savings set aside, but I will also have the qualification to ensure a good future for myself and my family.

One thing I love about writing is that I just don’t know how my thoughts will develop. Somehow, they have a mind of their own and become coherent when written.

This is a wonderful place to be at the end of a long, rough, but good year.

I have discovered personal strengths I never knew I had. I have discovered love and support from people that I never knew I had. I have gotten closer to my family by moving away from them and having to take part in the day to day drama.

I have discovered in me a capacity to love another even after getting burnt.

I am a resilient force of nature. I fall. Sometimes repeatedly, but always, do I get up (even if it takes painful nudging and shoving from those who love me most).

So, in essence, thank you all who love and support me. My successes are your successes. It is on your shoulders I stand. Thank you for your wisdom and insight and most of all, your time.

Good friends are really worth more than pocket money. As it stands, based on the support I have in my pocket, I am a rather wealthy


Azikiwe said...

Be confident and passionate about all your abilities...the trick is to not let anyone know you are conceited ;-))

Anonymous said...

mi dis hope say mi inna dem fancy thanks dere, but I am soooo proud of you my dear!

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