Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mimpikan yang indah saja..


This week I went to 2 places for interview session with stakeholders in Port Klang and PPUM. 1 is for the project granted under MyCC and another one under the internal research grant.

I was looking for the doctors to be interviewed but couldn't get any of it.

Right now my brain couldn't stop working and thinking about the paper that I am currently writing. I just started with the literature review but I can't focused on writing it. And I don't really know how to connect the sentence and make it a story and flow.

Most importantly, I can't focused on the paper since I need to manage and handle lots of administration work.

Currently listening to the Arjuna Beta song from Fynn Jamal. For me, this is a high quality piece of work, and it is sort of soothing me, my feeling and what I am undergoing now.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Research is the key

Just to note Izzah,

'You're not going to do admin work for the whole life, it's not going to bring you anywhere"- prof rumi.

Only research would take you higher and up. Remember that. Just remember that in times where you may feel loss about you research. Just remember this.

Just a point for myself, to not give up and remember the end. Just like the second habit of highly effective people: Begin with the end in mind - Stephen Covey.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bear with me


Today is my second last day of working with the current boss.

My boss asked how I am going with my paper, am I doing good or not. I showed him my work (its only 4 paragraphs since 3 nights of working). I feel like moving in snail pace. I do my literature review first.

I think my boss is great at making me having mixed feeling. I feel happy when he complemented that I have a good English. It shows my capability of writing and producing good work, at least.

I need to learn more to write and create the flow of the paper. Its not easy, I can tell that. Even PhD students or even PhD graduates are struggling in that. It is not an easy job to do.

He then give me a week time to write my article, which I find it to be impossible to do that. I still have other tasks to do, like admin stuffs and even transcribing the recording which I have not yet completed. I feel pressured by the timeline of 1 week. 1 week means 7 days!!

 I read from the internet that the time to write may be as short as 2 days, but 7 days is just too short and sound really impossible. I am a new writer. I have just began my journey in this field. I have never learned how to write formally, not in any of my university courses. I just learned the terms used in journal and I went for 2 talks regarding publishing in leading journals. That's it. How am I supposed to write the whole article in 7 days time?

For the first and second night, I only get 1 paragraph of literature review. It has been more than a year since I write any essay or do any assignment. And my longest assignment that I have done so far is like 3000 words which I did it in 5 days. Not a 7000-9000 words of journal! Its a peer-reviewed journal, and you need to cite from someone. You can't just put everything without reference. 

So I am still polishing my writing skills. The speed seems to increase in the third night but not satisfactory. It is hard for me to focus. I try to find enjoyment in what I am doing now. I can say I will be satisfied if I can finish it on time and be accepted in ISI journal. I would say that is the highest level of satisfaction I would get.

Before my boss left, I asked him where this article will be sent to? He said not an ISI but a new journal that may not be rated as ISI or Scopus indexed. I don't know why but I feel so sad about this. Am I being underestimated? I keep wondering inside, because I hate this feeling. I always feel my work is not good enough.

I feel sad because I will not be working for him anymore, starting from next week onwards. He said, he hope I have learnt something from him through my short rendezvous with him. I said of course, lot of things that I learned from him.

I am afraid I didn't meet his expectation. I know he expects me to work very fast, but not as fast as him. Maybe he could give me some time to develop my skills. Not in a week time of everything!

This mixed feeling makes me unable to focus on my work now. I feel burdened by the feeling. Previously I was targeting for Tier 2 journals for my first paper. Because it is better to start at high position than start from the lower point. It will make you move faster on the track.

My 2014 has not settled down for me. I don't know how to balance my life. All I think is about work. Sometimes I feel I have abandoned people surrounding me. I am truly sorry for that. 

So blog, bear with me. I might be spending more time with you since this is my open diary about my research journey and my struggle with it.

Change can be good at times


I went to Melaka for my road trip with my girlfriends last weekend. It was an awesome one indeed. We truly enjoyed Melaka as a tourist in our own country. This is my first time travelling with friends in Malaysia and be the tourist. We have done Aussie road-trip for quite couple of times and travel across the North Island New Zealand together. This time around, only the location and our status that have changed. Previously, we were students and now everyone is working except for El, because she's continuing her Phd journey soon.

After I went back from the trip, my boss did 'whatsapp'ed me, saying that he got something to discuss.

When I heard the word 'discuss', I can already guess what he wanted to say. It must be about my job, and future undertakings -- who I am going to work with since he will go for his sabbatical leave next week onwards.

Without telling me, he actually offered me to other lecturers who need an RA and there are two of them that wanted me to work with them. After discussing with my boss, I agree to work under another Prof since there would be more good prospects for my future if I work with someone who is already 'stable' enough, rather than someone who is climbing the hill.

For now, I am still working under the current boss till the end of this week and next week I will be officially appointed for the work under the new boss.

Back to the story, the Prof, my new boss later text me and ask me if I want to be her RA. And I said yes, I agree and I discussed about the payment. She said I would be getting more than what I currently have with a condition that I need to fulfill the KPI.

Surprisingly, the KPI is quite high (publish 3 journal article in a year) for someone who has never ever published anything, any journal, or even any thesis before. But without hesitation I told her that I will publish and accept the terms and conditions. That's the challenge to myself. I believe we won't get higher if we don't go out from our comfort zone. And that means I will work harder towards it.

With the new boss, I currently have 3 projects under my responsibility;

The first one is to be an RA and do what the other RAs do -- transcribe, interview, find articles, make summary, do questionnaire, run the data analysis and other administration and research work.

My second task is to go for interview with the medical tourism stakeholders for the project called 'Islamic Medical Tourism'. This one would be ended after I finished interview with the stakeholders.

My third task is managing the project as the research admin, or my boss call it financial manager, or whatever it is. Basically the project has 3 sub-groups that have 3 RAs. So what I need to do is just manage the main account expenses, make claims, organise meeting and other admin tasks.

It is sad to think that Friday would be my last day of working with the boss after 4 months being under him. I learned quite a lot, but still unsatisfactory for me. I need to work harder with the new boss. But I am really grateful that Allah has given me this amazing boss for me. Thank you for accepting me and treat me well for the past 4 months. He never complained much about my work but it is me who always think inferior, and the inferior feeling drives me to work hard and never give up on anything. I hope my research will still go on even I would not be working under him anymore.

Change, is something that we always do. Sometimes it could be good, and sometimes it could be bad. But I believe there is always hikmah that Allah wants us to ponder upon. This time around, I really have a good instinct that I would be in higher position with my current job. I would learn a lot and improve myself.
I believe Allah has chosen the best for me and I will work through it.

No matter how hard it is, no matter how countless sleepless night I will face, I won't give up this time around. This is my promise.

May Allah eases the journey.
Insya Allah.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Transcribing the recordings


Alhamdulillah, thumma alhamdulillah.

I managed to finish my content analysis within the expected time. I did analysed the 37 essays in 5 working days -- it took me the whole last week when my boss was not around. Alhamdulillah.

But I haven't started my writing yet, not even started the literature review. Because I need to do another thing, and it takes my time so much that I may not have time left for my literature review.

I don't wanna blame the people or my bosses. But its just that I need more time to finish everything. For now I have 3 work under different bosses.


Last week I went for an interview with a doctor in PPUKM. She's a specialist in family medicine and a lecturer there. The interview is about the project that I am currently working with my second boss.

And this week, I have to transcribe the interview that my 3rd boss gave to me last week. There are lots of interview recordings that I have to listen and transcribe word by word, which means I have to write everything that the interviewee said.

I have around 4-5 hours of recordings. Oh em gee.

It's a very painful process I tell you. It took me more than 1 day to finish transcribing a 36 minutes of interview recording. And honestly I haven't finish it yet. Its painful, really. Because the interview was conducted in a very noisy room. I can hardly hear what the interviewer said or what the interviewee answered.

I even feel like crying when I was doing it, and I have no one to help me. :(

I tried to search for softwares to convert the MSV files to the ordinary mp3 files and try to use another software to reduce the background noise and increase the volume. And after that I find it easier to hear what they said.

May Allah ease my work tomorrow and the day after. I really hope I can transcribe as much as I could so that I can go off for my holidays this weekend with a peaceful mind. I wanna enjoy my life as a single person with my friends aka my ex-housemate in Sydney.

Life is about journey, and it doesn't promise to be easier by day. I pray to Allah that He eases my way and makes me stronger in this journey. Good luck to me.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Of research challenge


I have never expect I would be in the academic field before.

I have a strong background in education field, as both of my parents were former teacher, 3 of my sisters are teachers and another 1 going to be a lecturer. Before graduating, I was expecting to work in a private company where I would not practice my economics side, but rather my finance major.

I seek position in lots of companies in banking and finance industry, but to no luck. I have been to many interviews and done my best but I didnt get any of the job.

My interest has always been in economics though it is REAL hard to score it in exam, because there is no black and white areas but there is always grey areas in economics. But, it is quite hard to find a job within the economics scope. Maybe that is why I choose to apply jobs in finance and banking sector instead.

After several months of jobless life, Allah has grant me the best job indeed, not the one that I want but the one that I need the most. The experience of being a teacher for three months has deepen my interest in education field, cause I love to teach but I always think my result is not good enough to apply for a lecturer position.

Why I didn't choose to become a teacher? That is the question that need to be answered in another blog post.


I think I am quite workaholic for now. Sometimes I feel like I have no life since I always think about work and my research for almost 24/7. My brain keep on thinking non-stop about the research.

But I believe in 'no pain no gain'.. Life is all about choosing. It is either you choose to enjoy first and suffer later or suffer now and enjoy later. For me I would choose the latter so I can relax in my golden age.

I also believe that I have to work hard from now on since I have no commitment currently. Later when I have my own family, I would slow down a bit so that I can have some time for my family. I respect those who afford to become a housewife, but for now I am not planning into it. I have my own ambition and dreams which I have to achieve it.

Currently, I am doing analysis of essays submitted by the students. That is my project with my boss. It is basically qualitative study for experience of the students in the zoo. It sounds easy but the reality it is not. You need to read carefully and go deep into the writer's thinking before you can categorise it according to the theory that you have chose.

There are 37 participants altogether with the essays ranging from 1000-2000 words in length for each. It takes me around 30 minutes to finish 1 essay. On average I can finish 8 essays per day since I have some other jobs that I need to fulfill besides the analysis.

I will write my journey in research in this blog. Insya Allah

Among the challenges that I faced up until today:
#1: finding the right theory for my analysis
#2: once the analysis part started, you can easily get confuse with the theory and categorisation
#3: confuse and confuse, that is what I am facing right now

But my boss said, just trust yourself. Because as I am doing the analysis alone for now, I need to have the courage to trust myself. He can only guide me through but not doing the analysis with me. So, I need to learn to be more confident and rely on myself instead of others. 


I have never expect the research to be this hard. But I believe I can do it. I will do it. I will be able to publish it ASAP.

I am pushing myself off the limit, and trying to focus to the analysis. Fast working pace is not something that I need to try, but I really need to work on.

Today my boss reminds me that I need to aim high. Always aim high. Insya Allah.

My short term dream is to publish at least 5 papers before I start my master degree journey.

and in the long term, I dream to be the editor of top journals -- the highest achievement in the lecturer's career. Plus I want to contribute to the society as much as I contribute the knowledge to the academic world.
insya Allah

may Allah eases the journey. Amin.

I will keep updating, though I am not really sure if this blog has a reader.