I write to you not only as your student but as one among the many young men and women whose lives have changed because of your presence. I write to you because out of every helping hand I will receive in my academic life, you are most probably going to receive the least amount of recognition for all your big and small efforts. You have mastered the art of molding us and then standing back to watch us shine without
expecting anything in return. It’s about time I used my words to shift the spotlight in your direction.
The greatest gift you have given me – and others like me – is believing in me even when I wasn’t sure what to believe about my future. The last time I saw you, your parting words were “work hard”. I know there was more to them than I perceived. “Work hard” was your way of saying “nothing must put you down, stay focused and the ultimate goal is that science must prevail” (saying this in your voice). Most importantly what I have perceived is that at the finish line you be waiting for me; though on my not-so-straight path to the finish line you will be cheering me on.
Of course, like a father, you did not turn a blind eye to my faults and mistakes. There is a proverb that says “A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible”. Truth be told there are times your disciplinary measures have saved me from myself, there are also instances where it has made me a better person — particularly as a young professional. For that, I thank you. I can only strive to be sensible enough to accept your discipline though I may not understand it sometimes (well most of the time). I guess what I am trying to say is you’re doing an amazing job.
I may not fully comprehend the burdens that come with being as a supervisor, mentor and father because you carry them so well. At times, I ponder on the thought of referring to you as comrade where I imagine your slogan would be “Science Must Prevail.” I also think you are well in your right to write a book, one which I imagine the title would be “The chronicles of raising world changers: one student at a time” and when you publish it, I will be more than willing to accept the cheque for helping you with the title (I’m joking). I hope to make you an academic grandparent one day, you know – graduate a PhD student of my own- but for now I can only work as hard as I can to achieve that and more.
Dear Father, You are appreciated.