The University of Otago is not just a great place to do a doctorate, it also is the place to find true love. To celebrate Valentine’s Day and all thing lovely and lovey,the awesome Mel Adams hunted out Daniel Wee (PhD candidate in Philosophy) and Saemyi Chung (PhD candidate in Social and Community Work) to discuss juggling love and a PhD.
First up, how did you meet?
Daniel: At Abbey College–she arrived as a new resident and sat at my table during dinner.
Saemyi: I arrived at Abbey College and the senior college assistant introduced me to Daniel because there were no residents left at the dining room. He was lucky!
How do you find balancing PhD study and life as a married couple?
Daniel: We’re doing fine. The important thing is to organise your time well and take breaks!
Saemyi: We are doing well. Since we stay at Abbey that means that we don’t need to prepare meals and clean our rooms!
If Abbey College was burning down which will you save – your PhD research or your beloved?
Daniel: Saemyi, but thank goodness for Dropbox!
Saemyi: Of course you know my answer, Daniel!
Any tips for couples who are about to start a PhD?
Daniel: Try and have a rough budget planned together, and try to subsidise costs through sharing.
Saemyi: They should learn to respect each other’s discipline, and share housework.
Do you find it helps having a spouse who is also studying a PhD?
Daniel: Definitely. It helps to have someone going through similar challenges to talk share experiences with.
Saemyi: Of course. We can understand each other very well, particularly with regards to meeting deadlines!
When did you get married? Did you have a big wedding?
Daniel and Saemyi: We got married in June of last year. I guess it was a fairly large ceremony, about 300 people attended. It was held at Saemyi’s church in Seoul, Korea.
Did you take your theses on your honeymoon?
Daniel: My supervisor suggested it, saying you never know when inspiration or an idea might hit you! But I think I left it at the back of my mind until we got back to Dunedin.
Saemyi: Of course not! My supervisor said they got married when they were doing their own PhD and knew that it would be best for me to enjoy my honeymoon.
If your spouse was an animal what would they be?
Daniel: Saemyi likes nature and walking in the botanic garden, so I think a bird would fit her.
Saemyi: A dolphin, because he’s quite clever and likes salmon.
If your thesis was an animal what would it be?
Daniel: I guess it would be a circus animal, something that needs constant care and training—maybe a circus elephant?
Saemyi: A cheetah would be nice—reaching its target without making any mistakes!
Who is due to submit their thesis first?
Daniel: I am, by about ten months before Saemyi .
Saemyi: He is ten months ahead of me, but you know what, anything can happen before the end!
And do you have plans to celebrate the first thesis submission or will you have a joint celebration when you both submit?
Daniel: We’ll probably have a small celebration when I submit, and then a bigger one once Saemyi submits hers.
Saemyi: Thank you Daniel, I agree!