You got to finish what you started. Always be closing.
One of the crucial lessons that I learned in life is to finish off what’s started. Be it writing an article, walking 5 km, making a website, learning a song on guitar, or anything, it’s vital to complete it. Else the energy that I spent, no matter how small for beginning it, is wasted. Not completing what I started also left a guilty feeling inside, and sub-consciously it hampered my confidence.
It was In 2016, I was working in Bajura under Rural Access Programme 3 (RAP3). The project was about alleviating poverty in rural areas by employing local people in the construction of the road. Coming from an engineering background, I was designing and supervising local people in constructing the rural road. To fully appreciate the nature of work that I was involved in, I ventured to get academic knowledge in social science, but attending classes wasn’t possible since I worked full time in far rural places. During the time, Tribhuwan University did not have an obligation to attend classes for the Masters in Rural Development program. So, I just took some books and appeared for the exams only. I passed the exams. Cheers for that!!!
However, to complete the Master’s degree, I had to conduct research and submit it in the form of a thesis, and it was going to take some more time. So, in order to make my research easy, I thought of a topic that would encompass my work. I prepared questionnaires, schedules, and a short proposal. During the process, I had also applied for another Master’s program abroad in Engineering. The latter degree was more lucrative to me as I was from Engineering background and the former degree was basically for knowledge sake. At that time I had not intended to build my career on it, so I did not pressure myself to complete the course. Moreover, the university in Thailand, Kasetsart University, sent me the letter of acceptance and the thought of conducting the research was long gone.
I had started a Masters in Rural Development in 2016 AD, and in 2017 AD giving a 2nd-year final exam without completing my research, I went to Thailand pursuing my much-awaited degree in Geotechnical Engineering. Through much trial and tribulations, I graduated from Thailand in 2019 AD, and I continued working in a research and consulting institute, GERD (Geotechnical Engineering Research and Development Center). In 2020 I had returned to my home country for personal reasons and was also the time the pandemic was soaring. Because of this, I could not return back to Thailand as everything was shut. Lockdown was announced just a day before my return flight and gratefully, they allowed me to work from home. I was designing a helical pile and suddenly, a thought came of closing what I started a long time ago.
The questionnaires that I had prepared, I had left with my colleague in the district and he had collected all the data. All I need to do was analyze them and write the findings. But I had to revive my contact with the supervisor. I had lost his email and forgot his name as I had contacted him only once during the proposal’s submission, but I was sure that I had his number. I dug my phone and luckily I had given a title behind his name as “RD Supervisor”. I called him, and I tried to introduce myself as a student who had submitted a proposal 3 years ago and had vanished. He told me to meet him, and so I did.
When he met me, he did not recognize me. Of course, how could he? Even I had to google him first before meeting him in person. He was a kind person and told me that I was still eligible to submit the thesis. Furthermore, he supported the topic that I had chosen and encouraged me to complete it.
I returned, and I was set to finish what I had started. After a thorough revision, in the 4th time, the supervisor agreed for the final viva examination. Viva examination has always found me in a panic mode. But, the external examiner was cool. He had been to the district of which the research was based on, and the examination was literally talking with him about its neighbourhood and how I had worked in a rural setting like Bajura. In the end, he asked about the findings of my research and suggested minor corrections. I passed.
Then came the documentation process, which was tiring. I did. I finished what I had started.
That feeling was sublime. Though it was a kind of second degree to me, I felt happy about completing it. Else, the money, time, and energy I spent on it in 2016/17 would have been meaningless. The ending is what matters. If there were a scale of importance, the beginning would occupy only 20%, and 80% would depend on the conclusion. If I had not completed the thesis, then nothing upfront would have mattered.