I was surprised with good news yesterday: I received official approval of my PhD research proposal. I was also surprised at the relief I felt when I saw that my proposal had been approved.
I submitted the proposal in early May, so I've been waiting on pins and needles almost four months. My adviser let me know that World Cup 2010 would delay the process since all state universities in South Africa were required to adjust their schedules to accommodate the World's largest sporting event. But that didn't make it any easier to wait and wait and wait.
I've struggled with proceeding very much with my research because I've been afraid that I might need to make some major adjustments to my project framework; and I think struggling with the pressure/desire to move forward (to actually get something done!) but not wanting to go too far is the pressure I felt float away when I received this news.
I was confident in my proposal because I had worked hard on it, refining it several times to meet the guidelines. Also, I had a few qualified friends make helpful comments that improved it's quality. And my adviser, who is supposed to know about this kind of stuff, said it was a very good proposal.
However, since there was so much riding on the "whims" of people I don't know and my adviser had "warned" me that it's almost automatic for the committee to return proposals, even good ones, with some recommendations to improve the document, the delay was causing me to feel some uncertainty that my work would be satisfactory.
So, I was quite happy to get this notation at the bottom of the evaluation form:
Aanbeveling / Recommendation
That the proposal be approved.
Evalueerder / Evaluator: Prof. CJP Niemandt