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Notes for the Journey

I look forward to seeing new students arrive at OCMS to begin RIS not only because it reminds me of my own journey, but also because there is a certain sense of excitement in seeing the ways that incoming students step into the world of research.


In my own journey I arrived feeling that I was a fool to think I could ever do a PhD.  I struggled with 'imposter syndrome'.  The first piece of advice that stuck out to me was taking advantage of the relationship with the house tutor/mentor.  'You drive the relationship.  You decide how to make the relationship work.' I did just that.  As a verbal processor I spent many hours in person and on Skype trying to work out what I needed to do to get the proposal done. I had to focus and follow through and trust my instinct then narrow ideas down.

Secondly, I noticed that there are no shortcuts.  It doesn't matter what level of ministry or leadership you have acheived or how much you have published.  When it comes to producing academic material you will have the same requirements as anyone else.  There are no shortcuts.  Admittedly, those of us who have had the privilege of education in the west may have some cultural and lingusitic advantage, but that does not mean that our Majority World students will be neglected or given an easier ride.

Thirdly, I spent time with other students especially those who were further ahead in their studies.  This was at frequent Friday night gatherings where we would talk and listen to each other over food at a fish and chip shop.  Sometimes many hours in the library is like going grocery shopping and filling up the trolley with everything but not knowing what to do next.  Listening to others sorting through their own trolley as they shelve some ideas and use others really does help.  

Finally, I learned this is a messy journey that will dig deep inside you.  It will change you forever.  You will feel exposed and vulnerable beyond belief, but you don't have to do it alone.  Share the hard stuff and the good stuff.  Allow yourself and others at OCMS in and the journey becomes so much more enriching. 


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