Nicamil’s PhD Journey: Living a Life that is Inspiring, Fulfilling and Exciting



Nicamil is from the Philippines. He is currently writing his dissertation about “Successful Ageing” at Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Canberra. Doing a PhD is quite demanding and I would like to thank Nicamil who agreed to this interview despite his busy schedule!.




Doing a PhD must be quite demanding! How do you balance your research work and social life?

The secret is to invest about 30 hours per week to finish in four years. A PhD dissertation is like a triathlon that every athlete is dreaming to complete – it requires preparation: I organize my personal schedule through planning for daily, weekly and monthly goals. One of them is to maintain quality relationships with friends and loved ones via Skype or FaceBook in the Philippines and going out on the weekends or for a coffee after work. Additionally, I always remind myself of the word “Life”: for me that means that my PhD journey is about living a life that is inspiring, fulfilling and exciting. The dissertation is a significant chapter of my life and should not be a hindrance to maintain quality relationships.

Why have you decided to do your PhD at Australian Catholic University?

Nicamil won the 2011 Australian Leadership Award

As a recipient of the prestigious Australian Leadership Awards 2011, the university’s mission is based on forming students to become professionals and leaders in their own field. ACU is my first choice because of its seasoned lecturers in the field of social sciences and its long tradition of catholic education. Also, ACU has the most extensive international network with other catholic universities around the world and it is currently pursuing collaborations through exchange programs that are beneficial for its students as they have an international experience of living and studying. I believe that ACU is the primary university in forming citizens with character, integrity, and honour.

What do you like about ACU?

ACU is proactive and sensitive to the needs of its students as well as the community. I share the mission of the university in promoting positive change at communities through innovative research and advancement of knowledge in different areas, and ultimately, to be of service to people. Also, ACU is pioneering community engagement that provides opportunity to disadvantaged individuals to pursue their university education. ACU develops a culture of caring for one another to ensure that students will have a worthwhile experience.

Tell us about your research topic and why you wanted to investigate that area?

My research topic is about successful ageing and its implications to the social work knowledge and practice. Population ageing is a worldwide phenomenon that will affect both developed and developing countries and will have a greater impact on countries like the Philippines. Successful ageing is a life-long journey which requires preparation to adapt to an environment of being an older person and maintain independence, age well, and continuously participate and interact. The findings of my study will be useful in influencing the Philippines’ social welfare policy and program and contribute to social work knowledge and practice with older persons.

What advice would you like to give to our future PhD students?

Continue to be passionate, caring, idealistic, and most importantly, step forward to make a difference. Don’t lose your passion in searching for new knowledge, and remember to care about what’s happening in your community and the society at large, and most importantly, contribute toward the improvement of quality of life. At the Canberra campus, we have initiated the “Meeting of Minds” which is a monthly forum to encourage interaction among postgraduate students, which is open to all students who are thinking of doing a higher degree course. Remember the saying that “there are many called, but few are chosen”.


Have you ever considered taking a PhD? What would you like to research? ACU offers a variety of Research Higher Degrees which you could consider!

Posted by Nirveeka

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