Sunday, November 6, 2016

My master journey: Among the hardest path I'd chosen (PART 3)

You can read  part 1 here and part 2 here


Only hubby and me. One more ticket for mom tapi dia asthma time ni. We sengaja tak allow sesiapa family member nak datang kalau takat tunggu2 luar sebab nak cepat. haha. Macam tanak konvo je kan.
I went back to Malaysia twice to settle my thesis and study. The first time was just after a few months in Oman, as soon as I finish my drafts for 2 chapters. I didn't take long Alhamdulillah after the hard head start. No choice but to go back to Malaysia to make discussions easier. I then decided to stay until I complete thesis submission.

Sounds nice, but of course the kids followed me. So basically I had to face the exact same thing i.e. a single mom, student, and a thousands miles away wife! Only during school holidays/Uni breaks, I'd be soooo happy cause my sisters and brothers would be around. At least my kids were not trapped in boredom. And at least, they still have their Tokdy, Lola and Onni at nights and aunties/uncles that come and go depending on their holidays. That's more than enough for us! Sometimes during the weekends we will visit Nenek Pantai Dalam and met whoever available there.

I submitted my whole thesis after 2-3 drafts for each chapters. Each one with different corrections from both supervisors. The most challenging part in this phase was always to find agreement between all parties. Hahaha. But that's one life lesson worth to keep. 

For all that I'd been through, I thought my thesis would end up as a piece of crap. How can I produce a Scientific Thesis with a quality like this? I can't imagine how screwed I'd be when my supervisors and all the examiners read my work. 

But Alhamdulillah, I passed with only minor corrections! the correction that I took about less than 3 weeks to amend. 

My baby, and a piece of notes I did during my early years of study. Still keep it.
So now, is the article publication part. UM has the requirement where a Master student must publish at least one article to ISI-listed journals only. And based on my labwork grant, I have to submit to either Q1 or Q2 listed jounals only. For those who's not familiar, scientific journals are divided between Quartile 1 until 4 based on its ranks and Impact Factors (I'm not sure other fields but this applies to most Science and science-related field).

So although I had already submitted my thesis and the internal and external examiners had let me pass, I can't straight away graduate until I have a publication. 

As stated in the regulation, I can't even get my thesis for correction before I send proof of paper acceptance. Since I took almost a year to get ONE publication (Hahaha too bad, not a bombastic research), my thesis was put on hold for that entire time. That's when I multitask ehem.. for another ehem... baby- Eve Hawwa! (^_^)

My supervisor's strategy was to target the Q1 journal first. 3 attempts and all failed, I begged to her to downgrade to Q2 to make my life less like hell. Haha. I promised her to look for a decent Impact Factor (IF) although it's a Q2 (politics mannn, haha. and It worked!). Alhamdulillah, the 4th attempt of paper submission, which was my 1st attempt of Q2 journal was successful. Not so bad huh. Not bad at all. 

Sedapkan hati sendiri haha. Padahal, all the Q1 journal yang submitted last time punya lah mak datuk popular dan IF yang tinggi. kau punya research kecik je, takde link dengan saintis lain pon... Nak buat macam mana, lecturer husnu dzon research student dia ni bagus. Kihkihkih. Thank you Prof. Tak pandang rendah research ku yang memang kecik cenonet je ni.

Oh butttt... you have to wait for sometimes to get a reply (depending on the journal's prerequisite). It can take up to a month and can even reach half a year or more just for a journal's reply! 

So, I learnt the hard way. After the 2nd failure, I didn't just opt for journals that have good IF, but also how long it'd take to process your submission. Average waiting was 2-3 months for each trial, regardless of the result; accepted or rejected! From my experience, only one of them managed to reply within a month and half. So altogether, almost a year of just waiting for paper and nothing else. 

So for whoever had asked me why I still didn't graduate while I already did nothing (neither do the labwork nor writing my thesis, this is why) 

Another tips for Science student: Always start to submit your paper once you got your result done! 

That's why there's no last minute work dude!
You got your result, do discussion ASAP and you can try to submit a paper. You'd never know how long you'd take to get it accepted.

Mine, I got my paper accepted a week or two before I delivered Hawwa! It really feels like I got two babies at once. The feeling, oh its like a big relief after giving birth to a baby. Told ya its like having 2 babies. (^____^)

Paper tak best pon nak tepek jugakkkkk. Haha
I emailed my sv asking permission to hold it until I deliver. UM gave 3 months for final correction and since my correction was just minor she didn't worry much.

I flew to Malaysia when baby was around 40 days old. Again I brought my off-spring to be my companion in my jihad, but this time only one- the latest bundle of joy. The other two were left with dear husband. I knew the fact that I can't take a lot of time because husband can't take long leave. I made a dateline to make it maximum 3 weeks, and Alhamdulillah, after sleepless nights and days, we made it within 2 weeks’ time. But I had to wait again till end of the year to graduate (the ceremony). I don't care at all. You know, after all that you've been through, getting things done is the biggest relief.

What a sum up! Haha. ZzzZzzzzz.
So again, is it possible to study (especially the fields that require research and labworks) and being a mommy?
Of course!

And it doesn't have to take so long like my case. A lot of people (moms) out there have succeeded within the anticipated years. 

Difficult?
Everything we do has its own challenges. To be realistic, yes it's difficult. It takes a lot of courage and determination to do it.
But again, it is not impossible if you want it.

It is my destiny to have this path, to be tested stage by stage, from cutting scholarship before the agreeable due time, changing of research methodology after a year of research and labworks hence the wasted data, long distant relationship with husband, to having health issues. If my life was so easy, maybe I'd not be who I am right now. I may not appreciate hardships, I may not treasure 'Ilm (knowledge) as much as I do now. Indeed, Allah knows best.

I can't thank enough to the people who have helped me throughout the journey. They were indeed the reason I succeed, of course by the wills of Allah.

And I can't deny I had relinquished a lot of my parenting responsibilities along the time I'd taken to finish my study. That's why, in this particular event, Aaron is so special in my heart because he had sacrificed a lot for me. And now that I am a full time Rabbatul Bait, I am so happy to spend my whole time with my family. No regret, in fact, truly blessed! Alhamdulillah.
Carcosa Seri Negara

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