Friday, 17 December 2010

at the end of the day

This young man standing at my door, looking slightly dazed, has just been examined on his thesis. It was a two hour analysis of his research by two academic experts and was the culmination of three and a half years of fieldwork, reading, writing, rewriting, rerewriting. He has passed with distinction and I am the first person that he has seen since he stepped out of the room where the viva was held.

I grasp him by the hand and congratulate him...he is Dr now and will never be plain Mr again. We talk about his plans for the future and I know that he will work hard and be successful on whatever road he chooses to travel.

Finally, he gets the bound thesis out of his bag and shows me the front page where my name is included in the acknowledgements. It is completely unexpected and I try to think what I could have done that would be worthy of such a privilege. The only thing that I can think of is that I listened to him and encouraged him.

And I am overcome.