Three lessons from my recent post-grads


This year I had four post-graduate students crossing the stage: 1 PhD, 2 MTech’s and an MBA. Congratulations to Dr Jacques Ophoff, Gary Jurgens, Laurie Butgereit and Riekert du Preez. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you, and in the process I learned a bit myself. While some of the learning was “subject-based” the more interesting and valuable lessons are much more personal and, compared to Information Technology, long-lasting. Thank you for contributing to my life.

I’d like to share three lessons with the world:
  1. PASSION is a prerequisite. No-one can do post-graduate studies without passion for the topic/field. All four had passion, but Laurie’s passion for helping kids with mathematics cannot be ignored. Gary’s passion for his business, mycopage, is equally noteworthy. Passion gives whatever you do purpose, and working passionately towards a clear purpose, what can go wrong…?
  2. PERSISTENCE is critical. You should not give in to what Steven Pressfield in “Do The Work” calls, the Resistance. In Richard St John’s 2005 TED talk he says that one of the secrets to success is to persist through CRAP (Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure); well I hope I wasn’t the A in that acronym… I can learn something about persistence from all four, but particularly from Jacques – Dr Ophoff, you taught me something about persistence.
  3. PROJECT MANAGEMENT, wow, this year’s group were exceptional at this. Laurie and Riekert certainly kept me very busy, delivering the goods at extremely regular intervals, but Gary you take the cake: you managed your project, and in the process me!  I never had to wonder about my role, or your expectations, you made both abundantly clear. Combine that with managing yourself and your outputs, how could I not play my part diligently… if not obediently (lol).  All four of you showed me that divide-and-conquer is definitely not an approach that only works in programming, but in life.
Congratulations again, as your promoter/supervisor I salute you!
If you read this far, have you identified your passion yet? If so are your persistently managing your life according to that passion?
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3 Responses to Three lessons from my recent post-grads

  1. Laurie says:

    We couldn’t have done it without you!

    I guess that is really called a win-win situation.

    Thanks for all your help

  2. rabotha says:

    Win-win, exactly, I think that is one of the reasons academia is very rewarding!

  3. Gary says:

    Thanks Prof !

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