“What would you like to do for your thesis?” This question may sound simple to answer for some, but definitely is not for me. Telling myself what I don’t like to do is surely a lot easier than telling myself what I like to do. Discovering myself and my strengths, is indeed part of the journey I have been taking since I started MIWM.
I decided to challenge myself and took the Urban Water Management pathway, the only pathway that unquestionably took me away from my comfort zone. In fact it was the direction where I had to confront my fear and dislike of mathematics, logical thinking to some extent, and the problematic technical areas of water management. It took 10 months of studying for me to discover the area that I would like to explore further through my thesis. I knew it would be something to do with the water-energy-food linkage in urban areas. It took a car ride from Brisbane to Fingal Bay in Port Stephens for me to narrow down my topic to one of the two options, either water-energy linkage in wastewater management in developing world cities or the water-energy linkage in bottled water vs potable water from a centralised system.
One of my former colleagues told me that I certainly have the energy of an active five year old so the thought of spending 6 months on a thesis alone was scary. That led me to seek out other tasks to harness that energy and diversify my time. I had been searching for opportunities for an internship by starting from asking people I know and networks that I have created through conferences I have attended and my volunteer work together with following water professionals’ networks and communities they are linked to. I found promising places that I felt I could contribute to and where opportunities would exist to improve my basic skills. I applied for an internship with Global Water Partnership and the good news arrived the day I had a major haircut. Global Water Partnership has kindly accepted me as their intern where I will be working with three units: urbanisation, energy and water security together with knowledge management and toolbox. Yes, I am going to Sweden for 6 months! Leaving Australian sunshine to Swedish winter, I will surely need more than my hair back for this trip!
Author: Vanh Mixam, MIWM Student in 2014-2015 FT cohort