Light @ the end of the tunnel!

In order to really understand the intensity of the light, I would have to paint you a portrait of where I have been, to where I am currently with regards  to my MSc research.  This blog entry reminds me a lot of a song that I like to sing whenever I am in a good mood; “I can see clearly now the rain is gone, I can see all the obstacles in my way. Here is the rainbow I have been waiting for, it’s going to be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day”. Well in my case, it’s going to be a bright, bright tunnel end. For the last two and a half years, I have been on a long, often dark journey.



If that journey was to have a sound track, I think it would be “Thunderstruck by AC/DC”.  My journey has had a lot of ups and downs that I would say were filled primarily with downs than ups. Normally, I enjoy going to theme parks for the roller coaster ride but this roller coaster which is my MSc research was different. My past blogs have been mostly about all the things that I have been through and how hard I’ve had to work and struggle just to get my trials going.

This blog is a little bit different, this blog is about nearing the end of my MSc degree, the end of the dark tunnel with a bright light at the end. It’s about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as my bright future, instead of a train coming to knock all my hard work off the rails, as well as using support structures in your life as a coping mechanism.

Keep your head up. Keep fighting. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, and your struggles only make you better in the end

The obstacle that has been standing in my way from submitting my dissertation was the fatty acid profile (egg yolk) samples that I had sent to the Agricultural Research Council Lab for profiling. I have to sincerely thank them for their quick turn over time because fatty acid profile analysis normally takes forever and a day. To be honest, my impatient side was starting to get the better of me. At times, the desire to succeed does force us to make irrational decisions that we later regret in life, all in the name of progress. Thank God it never came to that though (Chuckles). So I received the data a few weeks back and since then, I have managed to put the data on Excel, run it using the SAS Procedure, tabulated and finally discussed the obtained results.

The results were not what I originally hypothesised in my proposal. There is no doubt chemically, that Moringa oleifera seeds are exceptional but the results obtained were not at all positive. Moringa oleifera seed meal in my study decreased feed intake and body weights of chickens and did not improve the omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids in egg yolks. This was a horribly negative result from my perspective.

But was “negative” really negative?

I was once invited by Caradee Wright to speak at one of her “High School Spaza Science Club” and on our way there, we ended up talking about cancer research. I felt that it was dangerous conducting research as a post graduate on Cancer and other hard to treat diseases because the inability to find a cure would mean your research would’ve failed to produce positive results. She said “Any result in research is a positive result”. At first I was a little puzzled but later it made sense. My “negative” results may not be what i had hypothesised but they were still positive. Having those results meant that no one will ever research this again because now information is available in literature. In the future, the next time a researcher thinks of using these seeds in layers, they will be able to find information (my study!) advising them against that.

Through the dark times in my life, I have always been lucky to have coping mechanisms that assisted me in navigating my way through the dark tunnels of life. Having important individuals travelling with you through the dark times of your life is one of the coping mechanisms. My supervisors, my friends, my family and my girl friend have always been part of that support structure. Any great person will tell you that there are times in life where you doubt yourself, times when you feel like giving up would be easier than to continue.Having such people in your life is awesome, people who will remind you of your talent, your abilities and why you decided to embark on that journey in the first place.

So what’s the bottom line? Well the bottom line is that you will struggle in life, your life

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will have ups and downs, maybe more downs than ups and you will virtually travel under pitch black tunnels but if you have a rigid support structure and also use all the acquired knowledge and assistance from all the troubles that you faced to navigate those dark tunnels then you will be fine. It will be scary at first but just like me, your tunnel will have a light at the end if you work hard and believe in yourself in whatever you do.

Tagged: academic, animal sciences, science communication, South Africa, South African Young Academy of Science