Writing the thesis which formed the basis for the award of my PhD was one of the most demanding experiences of my life. I look back with a mixture of emotions: extreme pride, spine-tingling revulsion, trepidation for those who consider undertaking this endeavour, and respect for the institution that is Academe.

During my seven-year tenure as a higher degree research student my world fell apart. I was tested to the ends of my resistance. I found depths of fortitude I didn’t know existed and learned the intricacies of politically-charged environments. My graduation coincided with my 40th birthday and I named the weekend of celebration my “Coming of Age”: I truly felt like I was emerging from a rite of passage.

The enormity of the PhD experience results in the questions:

“Was it worth it?”


“Does it make a difference?”

You feel this emptiness, an inner despair that the only outcome was the piece of paper that now adorns a shelf in the office. And yet there are times when you get to reflect on the other outcomes, the consequences that make it worth it, that truly make a difference.

Being in a classroom contributing to the personal growth of your students is a privilege enabled by the piece of paper. I get to be a part of the learning journey of a wide range of people, sharing in their self-development and contributing to the collective abilities of the community.

It turns out that my PhD thesis is also having an influence: it has been downloaded 705 times since being published in late 2013!

People are reading it!! (at least some of it…!)


Here are some highlights of unusual places:

  • Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Lenina, Ukraine
  • Tampere, Finland
  • Beirut, Lebanon
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Quatre Bornes, Mauritius
  • Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Hangzhou, China

…along with 68 downloads in Australia, 159 in North America, and 109 in south-east Asia.

Wow! I had no idea.

Sometimes the impact of university research is not readily measurable. I am unsure as to what benefit, if any, the thesis has provided to the recipients of the 705 downloads. I know that it represents the best work I could perform at the time, and trust that it has helped others in their own pursuits.

If you’ve got a spare few (!!) hours and wish to learn about the influences of medical facilities the price of retirement housing, check out the thesis. If nothing else, it may assist you in retiring for the night if you’re experiencing some trouble.