My bad boyfriend- makes for a good husband?

11:18:00 Karen Li 2 Comments

I have wanted to be a university lecturer for a long time. Inspired by The Thesis Whisperer who is giving a talk tomorrow about thesis completion (

Many university students in Australia are about to attend their first lectures. I remember my first few weeks of university. I had obtained a residential scholarship to stay in university housing and was fortunate enough to have met some peers who would be attending some of my lectures. Being an absolute nerd, I had made sure I knew where my classes would be, bought my textbooks and had a look at the course content before the semester started.

I was a little anxious sitting there in the lecture theater waiting for it to start. I made friends quickly and finished assignments before due dates. I studied for exams from day one. While some lecturers inspired me, others were downright boring. But I am proud to say that I didn't skip one undergraduate class- although by mid semester, there would be less than half the student population in attendance. While I found that I learned a lot from assessment pieces, feedback was left wanting.

That was nearly a decade ago. And now I'm on the other side. I have been giving guest lectures for a number of years now. And I try to make my lectures stimulating (many failed attempts) and I am attentive to the students in front of me. Come the digital age, and many of my students choose web-delivery, then I can't really gauge the attention of the students. I love teaching, because I love watching the minds tick for students, I like to watch their reactions and inspire them to pursue more.

"The university is like a bad boyfriend" Simon French

I'm in the final stages of thesis completion. And we have had a rough ride.  I wake up early in the morning, work through to lunch, from lunch I work through to dinner and from dinner I work through to at least midnight, 7 days a week. And the output is frustrating, I find I do more editing than writing and I'm stuck over and over on the same issues. But I can safely say, my writing has improved over the course of my PhD, and the way my mind works to solve problems has also shifted. Being an academic isn't what I imagined it would be. Teaching is only a very very small part of it.

Unlike pure research academics, my training has provided me with options to combine research with clinical experience. And this leaves me pondering, should I give my bad boyfriend a flick? Or should I embrace it's positives and negatives and make a career out of academic work? Currently, I'm praying for direction, but I know that whereever I go, you will be also.

Joshua 1:9

New International Version (NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Here are some tips for first-year university students
- Make friends: you will need academic and social support at University.
- Make note of assessments and plan ahead
- Employ your time: there is no one to tell you what you need to do all the time, so make sure you balance your time, explore your interests and get real-world experience
- Be yourself
- Enjoy the university experience as well as the extended breaks

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