It was not about the outcome of obtaining a PhD but instead it was about the process of getting there!

Life has thrown me many curve balls over the years and I would like to give special thanks to my parents for tirelessly supporting me through all the life changing events that eventually led me back to school. Thanks to my mum for being my rock and helping keep me in touch with reality throughout my studies. Thanks to my dad for letting me do it ‘my way’ and for encouraging and inspiring me to reach for my dreams.

Thanks to my husband Darryl (IAMIMOM), for all the inspiring and motivating conversations, that helped me grasp a better understanding of all things game related. Thanks also for being my gaming partner and fellow geek and for all those hours spent unwinding playing co-op Gears of War and Halo 3. Thanks to Kaci, for choosing me as your mum and thanks for keeping me entertained at work when I sneaked you under my table, dressed as a witch pretending to be in a castle full of evil vampires. Thanks to the Charles family for warmly welcoming me and Kaci into their family and for supporting me throughout my studies.

Thanks also to both of my lifelong friends Julie and Monica for being by my side all these years, through all the good times and the bad. “Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” Thanks to my friend Debbie (aka Wee Elf) for rescuing me from 2nd yr and showing me that there is a life outside of university and it usually begins with a trip to Next, swiftly followed by a Starbucks! You helped keep my sanity intact although others may find this debatable!

Thanks to all my brothers and sisters, Richard, Brian, Niall, Peter, Danielle, Michaela, and Grace. You have all inspired me and helped me to remain focused and finish my studies. A special thank you to Grace for adopting Kaci as her own and babysitting for hundreds of hours so I could attend university.

Thanks to my excellent supervisory team, Prof. Dave Bustard and Dr. Michaela Black for making the process of doing a PhD both an invaluable and enjoyable experience. Thank you for all your support and guidance throughout the project. Thanks also to Dr. Roger Austin for his advice in the lead up to the write-up. Thanks to the University of Ulster, and also to all the staff from the School of Computing and Information Engineering. A special thanks to Mrs Pauleen Marshall who warmly welcomed me into the School as an undergraduate student and for looking after me so well all these years. I am indebted to you for your kindness. Thanks also to Mr Tony McLaughlin, without your ‘banter’ I may well have thrown in the towel, or shovel!

Finally, I would like to thank Prof. Randy Pausch RIP for giving me perspective and helping me realise it was in fact a ‘head fake’. It was not about the outcome of obtaining a PhD but instead it was about the process of getting there!

“Experience is not what happens to a man, it is what a man does with what happens to him.”

– Aldous Huxley

Contributor: Therese Charles – Therese can be found on LinkedIn

Source: Charles, T (2010) Enhanced eLearning Engagement Using Game AbsorptioN Techniques (E.L.E.G.A.N.T), PhD, University of Ulster, School of Computing & Information Engineering

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