The Comfort Pursuit

Thesis acknowledgements, the heart of it all

Yesterday I have finally touched the finishing line: I’ve got the ‘graduation clearance form’ signature.

After three years and four months doing field work, reading and writing the thesis, 10 months between submission and oral exam, and three months to make the final amendments, it is now DONE! The next and very last step – the trophy – is to deposit the final volume in the library, which will happen in the next few days and I will then be able to share the link here on the blog.

In these past few years I’ve repeated many times how important I believe it is to talk about research, to get feedback, to organise ideas, and in particular, the role of peers and friends on keeping us motivated and on track. I do believe everyone needs it, but I recognise I probably need more than others. This is the very reason why the acknowledgements page of this thesis is probably the most important one. It is the heart that kept me going all this time, and without these awesome people I wouldn’t have made it. So a massive thank you, this achievement is ours!

From page iv…

“This research would not have been possible without the support of a number of people. First I would like to thank my parents and my brother for being my example, inspiration, support, motivation, and especially for having insisted so many times on the importance of studying English. As always, you were right. I also wish to thank Phil who has always believed in me, even when I was not so sure. Who has been walking by my side, respecting the silence and absence that long projects sometimes impose. Without his balance and comprehension I would not have come this far.

My deepest gratitude goes to Professor Simon Swaffield, my main supervisor, for agreeing to take me as a PhD student. My initial insistence was totally worth it, and I knew this was the right choice. I am also grateful to Dr Emma Stewart, whose support, help and advice have been crucial. To you both, thanks for your patience with my ‘Latin style’, for the uncountable career advice, and for believing in this work. Your clarity of thinking is something I will always aim for. 

I am thankful to Lincoln University for the PhD Teacher Fellow Scholarship, which made this thesis possible, and provided me with both a teaching experience in New Zealand and great colleagues: Jacky Bowring, Neil Challenger, Mike Barthelmeh, Don Royds, Andreas Wesener, Shannon Davis, Wendy McWilliam, Mick Abbott, Erica Gilchrist, and Bianca Van Rangelrooy, it has been great to work with you. Thanks also to Shona Mardle and Douglas Broughton for always finding the right answers and places for everything. My appreciation also goes to the Library, Teaching and Learning staff, especially Caitriona Cameron, Sarah Tritt, Roger Dawson and Michelle Ash. Your support and encouragement have been invaluable.

I would also like to acknowledge the cooperation of the 86 participants of this research, and the managers of cafés, commercial areas, and the shopping mall where the fieldwork was carried out. Thanks to the Christchurch City Council for taking an interest on my research, in particular Tim Church, Jenny Moore, and Hugh Nicholson. Thanks also to Kelvin Nicole and Warwick Hill for helping with the technicalities of the weather station, and Keith Unsworth and Alan McKinnon for allowing me to use the SunEye.

A very special thanks goes to my colleagues and friends Lindsay Sowman, Dennis Karanja, Charlotte Murphy, Anne Spicer, Majed Mustafa, Chundi Chen, Rosalina Torgard, Leicester Murray and Wendy Hoddinott. Thank you for reading my drafts, for your questions, comments and coffees despite the scarcity of free time as postgraduate students. These past years would not have been so enjoyable without you around. Finally, a big thank you to my friends around the world, who have always supported my endeavours despite knowing it may mean physical distance. My special gratitude goes to Marina Cañas Martins and Carolina Fernandes Silva, our Skype meetings have been extremely valuable for both my professional and personal life, besides keeping me sane. As we say in our mother tongue, ‘who has friends, has everything’.”

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Image credits: kazuend, sourced from Unsplash.

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