There is something about 2010 that challenges me to get out of my comfort zone and push my personal boundaries. My getting married at the end of last year is included as part of the general theme of this year. I am also in the process of conquering my fear of driving and learning the skill pretty late in my life. When my then-colleague Ben left my company in mid-2009 to work in a local university, I started thinking about going back to uni to polish my education again. I know, some people probably think that I’m crazy, returning to university hustle and bustle, as well as dealing with all of the stress related to being a student. I’m not collecting extra letters after my name, I just enjoy learning more and continuously exercising my brain cells.
I couldn’t shake that thought out of my head though. Deep down, I know that I enjoy teaching and working in the area of academia. Even when I realised that I should really consider my situation: married with the possibility of a baby in the future – how would I be able to support and finance my family? I was also warned with the high level of politics within the academic circle. However, I’m not a spring chicken anymore – I’ve had my share of politics and I know how to handle or avoid them. I’m not that naïve anymore. 🙂 Those concerns helped to solidify my decision and provide an acid test whether I was really serious or not. So as I alluded previously in one of my previous blog entries, I started my discussions with the School of Marketing at the University of South Australia. One of the reasons why I approached them is because of their Ehrenberg Bass Institute for Marketing Science. It seems studying Marketing in a dedicated institute is a great plan indeed. I don’t feel like doing any coursework-based degree though, so I approached the University for a research degree. Initially I wanted to undertake a PhD programme, however, I realised that because my formal academic background is not in Marketing, I do need to take baby steps in the area. The plan is to formulate a thesis and then see whether I can upgrade the programme to a PhD level.
After several weeks of soul searching and with the encouragement from Ben and the permission given by Yani, I sent my application in October 2009. In late December 2009, I was notified that I had been accepted and that there would be a scholarship given to finance my study. Praise God. The scholarship will only be enough to cover my mortgage unfortunately and I will need to scrimp and save and perhaps even secure a part time work so I can live comfortably. Again, God has been fantastic – my current work didn’t want to let me go and when I suggested that I could work eight hours a week (as allowed by the University) to support my former team, they agreed with the arrangement. I can work seven hours offsite at home, and work at the office for one hour, just to see whether Rory or Laura want any coaching or mentoring or whether they have issues that I can help resolve. I know that this arrangement may not last forever as well, especially with a potential conflict of interest with the school. Until that happens, I’m happy to support my old team – the money will certainly help to bring food to the table. So today, after spending a long day at the Uni, I had to take a bus at 5.40pm to my old office so I could spend an hour there. I’m tiiiiired! :zzz:
Something that I have learned in my current situation is not to rely on the channels of the blessings – I should seek God. He can reopen doors that were firmly shut before and make a way when there is no way. I also learn to always ask for new blessings and for His grace every morning – like fresh daily manna that I should not keep for tomorrow. I am reminded that in my years of living on earth, never have I been so hungry with no food to eat. I always have food or money to buy food, even when I couldn’t buy anything fancy. I have been sustained by God throughout my life. I have faith that He will sustain me and my family for the rest of our journey. He is Jehovah Jireh! 🙂
Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase – Martin Luther King Jr.