Last Friday, before I left uni for the day, I did an amazing thing. I submitted my thesis. *cue victorious music* Despite everything that I have battled this year, I finally made it! Friday marks our absolute finish line with our final presentations to share our findings to our peers and the faculty. I’m sure I’ve said it many times, but this year has been an incredibly steep learning curve for me. In terms of academically, career-wise, health-wise and just me in general.
At the start of the year I tried not to be too phased with the thought of having to write a 12,000 word thesis. I took things one thing at a time, achieving smaller goals to hit the bigger goals. This technique works wonders for me. Before I knew it, I had comfortably stepped into my role as project manager of my Honours research, finishing lit reviews and assignments and eventually writing my thesis. There were many late nights across the board but never all-nighters. Having to find ways of working smarter rather than working harder was another challenge (hint: it involved many cups of tea and nibbles for motivation). Throughout the year I can tell that my writing has improved consistently. It helps that my mind works very systematically and I use this in my writing method as well. Just like in everyday life where I always have to plan a to-do list in my head the night before, otherwise I would stumble. On extremely trying days, I even needed to run through my checklist when I wake up (I was too scattered today, which is why I have forgotten my watch 😦 eep! My wrist feels naked!).
Another question I had to keep pursing was what I was going to do next year. Initially I was insistent on dietetics. Yet somewhere, in the back of my mind and at the bottom of my heart, I had this niggling feeling that “No, this isn’t right. Keep looking”. So I did. I explored and shut down the option of doing a PhD several times for many reasons. Yet, the more I became involved with diabetes in social media, I saw that all the things that I wanted to accomplish by helping others, sharing my experiences and providing them an opportunity to empower themselves can all be accomplished via research. And the more I looked into research, I realised that what I was really passionate about was promoting health and motivating individuals to take their health into their own hands. I started exploring research opportunities and public health nutrition etc., which has landed me in writing up a research proposal for a PhD next year. I do have the power to make these changes happen and am so excited to be able to do so! I know I’ve disappointed several people who were keen to see me in dietetics but I may go into that down the future anyway if I decide to take on patients. However, I would love to help develop programs and services to vulnerable, minority groups, starting with young adults out there who are less recognised and gets buried under all the stigma of diabetes by the public. A few people I’ve spoken to about this were initially concerned that it was a bit too close to home and I initially brushed it away. Until a few days ago when I realised I haven’t been able to keep up with my health regime because of uni, because of life. If I couldn’t do it, I’m at no position to help others. I felt so defeated and disillusioned about it until I spoke to a new friend I met through the generation T2 event and again through OzDOC. She said that it needs to be acknowledged that it IS hard to live with diabetes and that some days you feel like a flat tyre. The fact that I can comfortably say that not only gives the program more credibility but lets others know that it’s okay to have bad days. Thank you for your words of wisdom. You know who you are.
Speaking of bad days (more like bad weeks). I took a whole week of gym last week because I was too tired, too stressed and my right arm hurt. A lot. From my blood tests. Even today (a week after!) my arm is still spotting some nice bruising (although it makes me a look a bit hardcore haha). But because I have been consistently snacking throughout the day (on fruits and rice cracks), my BGLs are never where I want them to be. That has gotten me a bit down but I’m now that my thesis is out of the way I’m going to start heading back to the gym and just do what I can as close to my program as possible. I do have my appointment with the Exercise Physiologist (EP) in the next few weeks too, which is a huge motivator of me going back to the gym actually.
So I’m still not sure what the point of this post was meant to be. But I’m just so happy that my thesis is done and huge CONGRATULATIONS to all my colleagues, for all their hard work and effort this year. Here’s to new friendships, knowledge, skills, and opportunities!