How God led me through my Phd journey (part one)

Wow, it’s been a while since I last wrote here, and so much has happened between then.
It’s been a rather amazing journey as I leafed through my diary (yes, I’m a guy and I do keep one…I recommend everyone to keep a diary too!) to read my entries for the past few months. That set me thinking to how God has led me from the start of my Phd studies till now. Here I’ll recount some milestones in my journey….

I did my bachelor degree in science from 2008 to 2011, and God blessed me with a wonderful scholarship that covered my tuition fees. In my final year, I had a choice between two labs for my Honours project, and I decided to join a lab doing structural biology. My project went rather well and I stayed on there to continue my Phd studies. However, as several months went by, I became really disillusioned as I realized I didn’t like that research field at all. It wasn’t what I would do for a career. I hated the structural biology course I attended too.

Around Sep/Oct 2011, a new research centre opened in my university and my twin brother, Seth, wanted to join this centre for his Phd. He spoke to the research director there about the possibility of his joining. Here, I have to add that Seth at that time was doing his Honours project with me in my lab, but his project wasn’t going well. So Seth told this research director who was a Jew, about his project woes and also mentioned he had a brother in the lab (me!). I guess Seth spoke highly of me too 😉

I happened to be waiting for Seth to finish his meeting with the Director so we could go back home together, but then Seth called me on the phone saying the director wanted to meet me. My brother brought me to meet him and the research director, like a master salesman, told me about the research centre and invited me to transfer there. I was really impressed and he offered me to tell him in the next few days my decision.

The next few days were terrible as I thought, mulled over and prayed about whether I should transfer from my lab to that new centre. I felt fearful about how my supervisor at that point would react – I assumed the worst. I discussed the issue with my mum and dad. I also thought about what I really wanted to do. If fear wasn’t an issue, what would I do? That Sunday, just a few days after the meeting, I called the Research director to tell him that I decided to take the leap to join the new centre. He was delighted, and I simultaneously felt an imaginary burden fall off my shoulders.

But I still worried how I would break the news to my boss. I prayed that God would intervene.

The next day (Monday) , I stepped into the office and my supervisor called me into his office. He somehow sensed I had been a little “switched off”/distant lately and asked if I had any personal issues. I felt the blood rush to my head, gulped, plucked up my courage and then told him everything about my transfer and why I wanted to change my field of research. I was so thankful that he didn’t flare up or get emotional. He was calm and cool as he noted my decision and heard me out. By the end of the meeting, he was actually wishing me the best for my career! He wasn’t the enemy I thought he would be.

Things couldn’t get any better than that, God really did step in for me. The transfer was done in November 2011 and I actually had a month to relax (in December) before the new school term started. So I started research with Seth, at this research centre (where i still am) in January 2012.

So that was the first chapter of my Phd life, I hope to write more about the next chapter soon.

Preview: Just when I thought structural biology was going to be of no use to me anymore, God had other plans!

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