18 May
Between 29 and 33 years old - The stumbling blocks

When my PhD scholarship came out, it lifted a weight from my soul. I was married, I had no income... I lived on savings... I kept thinking about the madness that we were doing, my wife and I. She had a consolidated career and I was clearing the way. I had never imagined myself with a master's and PhD. The black sheep of the family was going to do a PhD... ironic, but the result of hard work, study and focus.

How would it be now? Newly married, just setting up the apartment, living on a scholarship and having to live in another state. I kept thinking about my wife... always by my side and always encouraging. She would be alone for a few periods so that I could take the necessary credits (subjects), in addition to research and thesis, to finish my PhD. At least she had a faithful companion who was always present while she was away... a dog called "badaró"... don't even ask why the name... but he was quite a companion for her.

I managed, initially, to stay in my city while I took the disciplines. Even on national holidays I had discipline to do and my wife with me. So it was almost two years of PhD. At the end of the second year, I had to move. I bought a small van and moved. I had to do fieldwork to get the information I needed for my thesis. I worked with flood risk analysis. In the middle of the third year, I got a surprise kinder egg... my PhD co-advisor withdrew for personal reasons and an important part of the research would be supervised by him. My first thought was that I was on a river, inside a boat, in the current and lost track... I didn't know what to think. I had a very good advisor, an excellent researcher and a friend. However, he told me that I would have to manage to finish the research, since the missing knowledge was not his domain. I had a scholarship from a very serious research organization. Every year, I had to send a report with what was done and the progress I had made. What would this report look like now? And my search? My bag? How was I going to do? The first thing I did was do all my fieldwork. Armed with the results, I began to develop the results. But there was still the part of the co-supervisor... how would I do it?

I started praying to God... I asked for enlightenment, because if I couldn't renew my scholarship, I would have to go back home and give up everything. One Friday, reading some scientific articles, I found what could be a light... an idea that could solve my problem... but I needed to think how to justify it... a thesis in my area is based on facts. So, analyzing the legislation of my country, the solution presented itself. I showed it to my advisor, explained the idea, and he gave me the go-ahead. We had no way out. I used the idea, sent the report... two months waiting for the result and a lot of field work. January of the following year came and the answer arrived. Success!!

At the same time, I felt like that dockworker who had carried a ton on his back and, at the end of the job, had managed to reach his goal. I kept imagining a tall, bearded, strong guy going to the bar for a coke... I started laughing at myself. I called my wife and my parents... I would finish my PhD. It was worth the sleepless days, but I still had a good part of my thesis to write... hard work ahead.

After several hiccups, the day of my thesis defense arrived.. five specialist professors and me... my mother, my father and my wife in the audience. During the presentation and defense, I felt like I was in a ring, like Rocky Balboa, being beaten. Five hours of debriefing and then the panel of professors asked me to leave. My mother had left the room as she was very nervous.

Suddenly they called me back. My advisor started by saying that it was a shame all my work, because there wasn't enough to be approved. At that moment, I felt as if the world had ended and there was only me left. For a few seconds, I thought about all the way there, the sacrifices and the stones along the way... I wanted to disappear.

It was then that the funny guy and the other teachers said it was a joke.. they told me that I had passed and with honors. My heart almost jumped into my mouth... all that weight stored for 04 years was gone. I thanked God at that moment.

I've always been grateful for the path I've taken in life.. I've made many friends during these years of Master's and Phd. I am very grateful to my PhD advisor, as he is my second father and a wonderful man. We are friends to this day. I'm proud of it.

As for my wife, I dedicated my PhD to her. Always together, always in my heart.

Months later, after my return to my homeland, with a PhD in hand, little did I know what was waiting for me....

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