Very often when someone is asked what they would do if they had super powers for a day, they think of providing solutions to their problems, some more immediate than others. You also get those who want to go back in time to correct the mistakes they regret the most, or live one of their happiest days one more time. Because PhD students need to expand their imaginations and intellectual horizons, I decided to ask my friends what they’d do if they could be president for a day…

To quote my friends

They gave me answers mostly based on their concerns and issues pertaining to the current state of our country. For instance one of my friends said, “I would give myself a

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One of our busiest days, #feed mixing 

permanent job overseas,” obviously to escape from the high levels of unemployment in our country. Another replied “I would pay attention to education, especially at primary level” and concerning the most recent events in our country one of my friends replied “all drug lords and human traffickers would be locked up without bail and appeal, neither would parole be granted”.

 

It turns out that I will be a bit of a tyrannical president… But a tyrant in the name of Science!

A president for Science… or at least, for postgrads!

The first law I would pass would be:  All those submitting their theses/ dissertations in 2017 are only required to write one page of literature review.  Concerning lab work, you are allowed to have just one sample without replicates and whatever you find will be acceptable for you to pass your degree. All those who’ve had to start over an experiment because something went wrong with a machine or some chemical was accidentally spilled on their sample(s) would be paid over-time. To all those who have missed a planting season  for reasons beyond their control, I would pass a law that as they wait for the next one  they should take a trip around the world, to explore the planet and get a different kind of education while  thinking about their experiments. To top it all off the maximum number of pages for a dissertation/ thesis would be 20. This would only be the beginning.

Researchers go through what I would call traumatic events during their data collection phase, often related to animals. My sister was chased by dogs in unfamiliar villages while conducting surveys, some friends have been kicked by cows and horses while trying to collect tissue samples, and others have had to run for their lives to escape an ostrich (hello Makhosi Mahlangu). So if I were president for a day, I would order that everyone who is collecting data should have a beauty spa voucher for a massage session each week until data collection is done, just for some stress relief.

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Leo praying for my data collection dilemmas 

To cultivate the next generation of researchers and academics (because they are an endangered species). I would build a library in every street, yes, every street because I believe the culture of reading is cultivated by our surroundings. Just imagine if all kids in South Africa had a library in every street (smart hey, I know).

Lastly, I would spread the love. I  would put a lot of funding into inventing  a drug would help people to love one another just a little bit more, show more compassion, love and Ubuntu.  This drug would work on your brain and hormones (hides). It would definitely make people tolerate each other more, and sympathise with each other. I foresee a great country with this drug in use (Laughing very hard).

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