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My PhD journey, Covid notwithstanding

Angoro - Barbara Angoro
Barbara Angoro - the real pressure is on now

| Duresi’s Odyssey

AUCKLAND - Time sure has flown. I’ve completed two years and two months of my PhD. I still have a fair way to go but that this journey is halfway through amazes me. Seems like yesterday I was attending doctoral induction day.

The real pressure is on now – no thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns (the first very long one began in March last year and there have been short ones since, including twice early this year).

These have significantly placed me at a disadvantage because, for a laboratory-based research, time away from the lab means no data generation for my research.

I’m very aware of the outputs I need to accomplish and the time factor involved, not to mention the scholarship deadline.

I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t stress me out sometimes. However, through it all, I’ve learned how to adapt and adjust, and work smart.

Fingers crossed for no more lockdowns in New Zealand so I should complete on schedule.

I want to acknowledge my dear child for her support throughout this journey.

She has had to accept and adjust her life according to mama’s schedule. I can never thank her enough for being my number one supporter. Arohanui!

Apart from full time study, I’ve also been holding down part-time work to get some teaching experience and extra income.

I’ve done lab teaching and demonstrating for pharmacy undergraduate students at the university and it’s been an amazing experience.

It’s a good chance to step away from work for a bit and interact with the next generation of pharmacists-in-the-making.

I also work with the clinical simulation centre from time to time when required. The more regular work I do is teaching pharmacology at a local naturopathy college.

I have to say, I’m learning a lot about herbal medicine and appreciating its existence alongside pharmacological medicine. I truly count my blessings for the opportunities.

The next seven months are going to be more intense as I move towards introducing my method into plasma matrix.

For people who have experience working with plasma matrix, it’s one of the most, if not the most, complex biological matrix to work with.

I feel a little anxious already but keep reminding myself that I shouldn’t worry right now – I’ll cross the bridge when I get there.

In a nutshell, my research is developing a method for quantifying a toxic form of iron in the body called ‘non-transferrin bound iron’ (NTBI), usually seen in iron overload conditions caused by increased iron absorption due to faulty genetics or increased iron caused by frequent blood transfusions for conditions like thalassemia.

Thank you to everyone who over the past few years has reached out to check on my child and me. Thank you for your kind words, prayers and just making sure we are OK. God bless you all!


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