PhD research is not about who finishes first

I REMEMBER two months ago when Dr. Patria Manalaysay encouraged me to submit my research paper entitled “Experiences of Women Drug Reformist: Evidence from a Meta-Synthesis Literature Review” in the East Asian Forum of Nursing Scholars Conference 2021. I was hesitant at first. I feel that I may not be able to submit the requirements on time considering that I am so busy with my PhD paper completion.

But I see that the will of God always prevails. I was able to beat the deadline, as I always see deadlines as an inspiration. And my research mentor Dr. Mark Donald Reñosa helped me sharpen my abstract presentation. I truly thank him for the non-ending knowledge he shared and book resources he provided me. The Sunday schedules which I called our “research moments,” oh the hours of conversation -- so heavenly that my soul does not feel tired at all. I can even remember during our first encounter, I see how strong and confident his personality is, yet he is so humble. Highly intelligent, but never sly. Indeed, a professor that encourages diligent research. I guess I am twenty years older than him -- but he is older when it comes to knowledge and research experience.

As far as I have known, Dr. Mark is a Public Health Specialist with 10 years in global health research, with a special focus on infectious and neglected tropical diseases including clinical trials on vaccines and evaluation of health programs. His research interests are on the development of global health interventions using human-centered design, implementation research, epidemiology, and biostatistics and on research with a special focus on tackling social determinants of health. He has already finished his Master of Science in International Health and a Doctor of Science in Nursing. Now, he is completing his PhD in Global Health as a scholar at Ruprechts-Karls Universität Heidelberg, Institute of Global Health. Whew, how to be like him!

He is indeed like a human textbook -- the source of knowledge to the ongoing creation of our universe. In fact, whatever he tells me through text messages, emails, or during our conversation, can be compared to a combination of motivational books and comprehensive references that guide me to the truth I needed for my research.

I will never forget Dr. Mark’s message to me last Friday, when I won one of the top 10 in the research poster presentation during the East Asian Forum of Nursing Scholars Conference 2021 -- “Ph.D. research is not about who finishes first, it is about your learning experience, every step of the way.” And yes, when I finally present and then pass my dissertation defense in time, I hope to change the world, as he would want me to be. Surely, if that opportunity happens, he will always be the major reason I am there.

May your tribe increase Dr. Mark Donald Reñosa!


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