My thesis will eventually be accessible (open-access of course) through SFU's library, but for those who are just dying to read it now, can access it here (+ appendix).
I feel obligated to give some type of advice to future PhD students. Unfortunately, I don't have any huge insight, but I would recommend not worrying too much during your graduate studies. Many times, I thought the whole thing would unravel and I would never finish, especially during years 2-3, but all of a sudden things started to fall in place. Every grad student I have ever talked to has always agreed that productivity increases greatly in the last year or two and so you can't worry about how long it took to do X in time Y. I hope I am not giving the impression that doing a PhD is easy, because it is not. It is hard, and different from all other schooling. If you think of an undergrad degree as sprinting, then a PhD is more like a marathon. I was great at sprinting, but learning to be a good marathon runner was a completely new set of skills.
In between all of the moving steps (I don't want to see another cardboard box for quite awhile), I had lots of time to reflect on my past 4.5 years in Vancouver, BC. Although there were some challenging times, I will greatly miss Vancouver and the people that I met during my time there. The first years of my marriage, living far away from family, the completion of my PhD, and becoming a Dad all happened in Vancouver and I will cherish the multitude of memories that accompany each of these milestones.
To end this post, I think I will list a few flashes of memories that are ingrained in my head from the past several years (in no particular order):
- Driving across Canada and seeing the Rockies from a distance for the first time.
- Looking out my first downtown apartment window for the first time.
- Standing on top of the "Chief".
- Snorkeling in the ocean with my wife along the "sunshine coast".
- Houseboating on a quiet lake in Vancouver Island surrounded by the most beautiful scenery.
- White water rafting near Squamish.
- Walking the sea wall countless times, and every time still being impressed by it
- The various camping adventures including a jump into a cold lake to escape a never ending swarm of flies.
- Standing at the peak of Whistler for the first time.
- The various conferences that included travel to destinations such as Maui, Vienna, Cambridge, UK, and California.
- The birth of my son, Gavin.
- The happiness of reading a short letter stating that I had completed all requirements for my PhD.