The wait only lasted one week.
Lancaster University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences sent me an email notifying me that my application was up for reconsideration. I just needed to make a few clarifications and submit some additional documents. I was extremely thankful for the renewed chance, but I wasn’t going to press my luck and ask what happened. Don shed more light on what went on when during his visit in early 2018. I don’t think I’m at liberty to share and he probably didn’t tell me the whole story, anyway. But there is one thing I can be sure of: my grades had no real impact on anything.
Regardless of what really happened, it hardly mattered anymore. I only had to wait for the formalities of my acceptance, which came shortly after. And there I was – scheduled to enter the programme first thing in 2019. It was a year later than I had intended. But that was a dramatic improvement from being on the brink of quitting my career. I know that there is a review process involving different people. But this is something I will always specially thank Don for.
I’ve reflected on the whole PhD search experience in different ways. But it always boiled down to two things that I regard as facts. First, I achieved my goal of getting in a highly regarded school. But just barely so – which means I am not as good as I thought I was, or at least as I wanted to be. That makes sense. Otherwise, why am I even bothering with this, right? Second, reflecting on the whole thing also made me think about the experiences of other people, particularly the students in UPOU whom I’ve encountered.
The common struggle
Blogging is usually a core requirement in the classes I handle. It’s a learning tool that offers substantial benefits to students. But on a personal level, I find it fascinating to see what students would write about. One theme that always came up is how hard it was to make it to UP. And how harder it was to stay. I’ve recently been reading posts in the r/peyups Subreddit and a lot of them revolve around the same thing. (Seriously, I wonder if guidance counsellors monitor that Subreddit because I find the posts deeply concerning.)
While I got where they were coming from, I couldn’t totally relate. It wasn’t like I didn’t go through many of the same things in the past. But I don’t remember feeling so weighed down as some of them were. It’s only now in the face of these new challenges of mine that I have begun to look back to those stories from my students in the past. And because of that, I finally get it.
Walking in the shoes of my students did not end there. As I progressed through my coursework, there were times when I’d just shake my head and smile at myself. Old habits resurfaced. I thought I was cured of them when I transitioned from student to teacher. I thought wrong, it seemed. It was particularly amusing because I was not above preaching to students how bad things like cramming, slacking off or not having contingencies are. And yet, I kept finding myself guilty of committing them.
I found it amusing to see myself as a bit of a hypocrite. But no way was I going to let it go any further.