Sunday, 8 April 2012

Time to Move On

I should have jotted down my thoughts about it last week, but the feelings were not strong enough to warrant any meaningful remarks.

Quite honestly, to my own surprise.

It is true that I have been awaiting the professor's feedback. But I have no idea when it would arrive, or whether or not it would anyway.

So I think it is better for me to write something before it is too late.

For two years in a row, I have missed the opportunity to pursue my second dream - reading for PhD in history.

More than a year ago I was too immersed in the coursework of the master's degree. Virtually I paid no attention to what happened around me, partly because I enjoyed the study very much. More importantly, I was so obsessed with the objective I have set for myself - attaining a flawless transcript that would increase the chance of advancing my second dream of life. But needles are not sharp at both ends, as the saying goes. God is as fair as He has ever been. No doubt my hard work is paid off, but I missed the application deadline having submitted all the coursework in early December. A sigh of relief was soon replaced by irresistible waves of indignation and disappointment. Yet I could blame no one but myself for the negligence. Those emotions were extremely hard to suppress, let alone get over.

Although I could hardly forgive myself, I have been looking forward to the next opening of applications. Over the past year I have been reworking the research proposal, meeting teachers and scholars for advice, and paying close attention to any news of admission to postgraduate studies. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my lecturers at the Chinese University, I filed my application well before the deadline at the end of January.

Time heals. Time also gnaws away. How true it is! By the time I was invited to an interview on 29 February, I almost forgot that I have applied for admission to a part-time PhD programme. Of course I was happy receiving the call, but I kept telling myself that it was little more than a small step towards the ultimate goal. Whether the result would be favourable remained uncertain. I think I did well at the interview, and I was hopeful to hear something positive.

Once again, however, good news did not arrive as hoped. My application number was not shown in the admission list. If I were to console myself, there was no candidate to the PhD programme, full-time or part-time. Only two MPhil students were admitted. Does it mean that the PhD candidates are not good enough? Or the panel members have something else in mind?

Apparently I was - still am - disappointed. But I don't feel as strongly as I did last year. Rather, I take the result with extraordinary ease, to an extent which surprises me upon reflection. For some reason it seems to me a strong hint from God that having tried my best to attest to my capabilities, I should take whatever the result is and move on. Over the past week or so, more often I feel like accomplishing something that has been longed for years although the results did not turn out as I have wanted. C'est la vie. The important thing is that I have no regrets. Somehow I feel relieved too for having done what needs to be done. There are so much more to learn and explore in the years to come. And I know for sure that I'm not going to abandon history as my favourite subject. Whatsoever. I'll keep reading in breadth and depth to prepare myself for the next opportunity, which may pop up any time.


  1. Anonymous12:48 am

    In my pursuit of higher learning for a doctorate degree, I enjoyed totally the path to conduct research and gaining deeper understanding of my subject. I missed submission deadlines three times when I had commitments of works in overseas. I then move on to the next and enjoy doing more research and more studies on my own. It is nice to own a title on a piece of paper but I think it is more important to think about what I can influence others to get something done in real terms in the near future.

  2. Thank you for your comments. While I understand the path leading to one's dream is always tortuous and long-winded, I do think there is some sort of hint that I should take a detour and explore something else. And I can't help thinking whether I am obsessed with the title or the genuine interest in historical research. This is something I need to contemplate for an honest confession.

  3. Samson10:34 pm

    I feel your disappointment. However, keep in mind that the rejection does not mean you are incapable of doing the study. Often the university has been restrained by its resources when admitting postgraduate students. The world is big enough to accommodate your dream. When one door closes, the other doors will open to you. You have my moral support.

    Ontario, Canada

  4. Thank you Samson. I know, but my constraints as a part-time student also restrict my choice of university. In any event, thank you again for your support. I just receive some feedback from the head professor and I need to think about it carefully.


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