PhD Journey

It is a journey of a scholar-in-the-making. Initially, it involves reviewing the findings of the relevant past studies. It is an intellectual path to discover new thing in a subject of your interest. For Dr Nor Zalina (2012), an associate professor at UKM, her discovery on the role of Padang as a public, open space that deserved to be conserved according to the values of its patron; the locals that regularly visited the fields such as Padang Pahlawan and Padang Kota Lama. Her finding is in contrast to the municipality practice on conservation of heritage buildings.

You will encounter many sweets as well as hiccups experiencing the scholarly journey. Able to construct a theoretical framework at end of your first semester (but most likely in second semester) is a pleasant feeling i.e. a reward. Your journey is progressing well. Making new friends when you attended conferences and colloquium is another sweet. You are establishing your network. People begin to know who you are in the scholar arena. Receiving a notification that a journal editor accepted your paper for publication is a mark of recognition of your intellectualism. Receiving a nod from your supervisor that your thesis is ready for submission to the Graduate School is a relief. Passing the viva voce is a fascination. Simply sweet. Mummy its over.

On the other hand, sometimes, you may encounter unpleasant incidences. You set an appointment to discuss your work with your supervisor but he cancelled it in the last minute. Your supervisor is a super duper busy professor; you can hardly see him once a month, let alone every week. You get sick in the midst preparing your research proposal. You failed to borrow a Pitot tube from a laboratory to measure the pressure difference in your experiment is a heartbreaking incidence. This happened to one of my students. You lost your pen-drive and it was the only storage that you keep your latest work. Worse, your laptop was stolen at a police station when you were to make a report that your other belonging was lost earlier. This also happened to a student of mine. These hiccups may happened to you beyond you expectation.

To encounter this unforeseen circumstances, it is a wise to do your work in a regular manner. Come to your workstation at 8 am and leave at 5 pm. Work five days a week. Each day is a step forward. For example, in interpreting your tables or figures, that is in your Chapter Discussion, you completed a section amount to 3-page write-up to answer a research objective in a day. But the following day, you only managed to get three lines in your discussion. This is the nature of PhD journey. At times you are push fast forward by the tailwind. On other time, you are slowed by a strong headwind. Worse, when you are experiencing a doldrums; your ship not moving at all. This is the situation you already get bored. Do not abandoned your vessel. It is wise not to procrastinate your assignments, keep doing it in regular pace.

Ismail Said is a professor at Department of Landscape Architecture. He has already retired from the university. He will come back to university as contract academics in April 2019. I can be reached at ismailbinsaid@gmail.com.

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