WHEN TO FINISH? NOT YET DONE?

Anddd suddenly, there’s no Oct part 2 bahahaha. I’m home. And home, you’re too busy doing you’re not sure what and don’t have time for blogging. I actually love blogging the most compared to other social media platforms because there’s no word limits and I can write whatever I want. And here, you have to know my link. You’re not like have to  see/read my updates, unlike FB or IG. Of course you can choose to hide/unfollow/block whatever, but maksud I, kalau you nak baca baru you buka. So if you’re annoyed with what you read, you can’t blame me hahaha.

Anyway, people’s been wondering why I haven’t finished with my thesis corrections yet. It’s been months since viva, and I’ve only started with repeating some of my lab work late august. Let me list it here so that you (and probably me too) know why it’s not as easy as you (or I too) thought and why it took so long. Of course some of them was my own fault, but that happened two years ago. I only learn of the effect(s) now hahaha padan muka. Here goes;

  1. I passed on a scale of 3. Major corrections with a given 9 month to submit my final hard-bound, 50k worth of thesis. Or maybe 60. Why?
  2. I started with six isolates, and went to clone Isolate B1 for the first two years of my master and failed. It wasn’t successful, and it consumed so much of my time and money and energy and moral.
  3. The thing is, you can’t simply just change your sample or re-start with something new. You have to prove that it wasn’t working and to do that; I did every-single-thing I could.
  4. So eventually B1 didn’t happen. I finally got the green light to proceed with B10.
  5. B10 was alright. Took another three semesters to clone, express and purify. Also wrote my thesis and submitted the ten copies at the very last minute. I didn’t want to proceed, but my sv was afraid I won’t have much data to put. Might jeopardise the whole thing so I kept doing more work. Did my assay a week before I submitted my draft.
  6. I ended up putting results for both B1 and B10. Also included all six which I began with. And all unsuccessfulness for B1 was there as well. I didn’t want to walk in and got ‘you don’t have enough data’ as to why I put results for both.
  7. Viva was horrid.
  8. I was asked to pick one.
  9. Or retain both but add more supporting references.
  10. Which is not available because cloning apparently is super easy to many and no one reported on failures before.
  11. So I chose to stick with B10 since it was successful.
  12. But I didn’t manage to purify B10 because the proteins got washed out in the columns and didn’t bind to the resin. And I was already into my eight semester I don’t have time/money/energy to continue. I’ve reached the maximum candidature limit.
  13. So my ultimate objective was not achieved.
  14. And my whole project will be deemed as a failure. (The examiner actually wrote this you know)
  15. So I have to change my title.
  16. And my objectives. And discussions. And conclusion.
  17. And must include all sorts of photos.
  18. I’ve picked only the best to put in my thesis.
  19. But some were unnecessary -_____-‘ because they’re a negative.
  20. And the ones I have to put, I no longer have.
  21. During my 3rd sem, I lost all my data due to some silly incident/accident.
  22. Haven’t had the time to repeat.
  23. Must repeat now.
  24. Already repeated and spent one and a half month doing that.
  25. Because psychrophilic/psychrotolerant bacteria from Arctic took a veryyy long time to grow.
  26. Weeks.
  27. And now I’m looking into adding moreeee discussions since I chose to stick with B10.
  28. I have to add and remove a lot. A lot.
  29. I have to make amendments cover to cover, literally.
  30. My references suck big time.
  31. Already settled that.
  32. Now to adding more supporting statements and formatting.
  33. And basically dying a little inside.
  34. The end is so near but also very far.

I guess that’s enough. The summary of my journey. I know no one can help me with this, but your prayers. Your prayers will, InsyaAllah.

Till then, ask me again in December okay? Late December. Thank you.

Eyhh, other people one and a half year already graduated. You so long?! 

ps: And if you were to ask me ‘should I pursue, Kiah?’, my honest answer is ‘Sure. Kalau you kaya. Atau pandai gila dapat biasiswa.’ Jawapan positif sikit ‘Of course caaann, if that’s what you really want.’

My friends and I, those who have made it or those who don’t, share one struggle in common. Money. In the end, we’re all rushing and feeling down because our financial was critical and fees must be paid, rents, bills, food. We have loans circling our waist, and stomach, and head, let’s just say we’re a walking mummia of loans hahaha. But all in all, we… survived. Thank you, everyone.

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OCTOBER

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October was a tad mad. I was supposed to leave Penang and went home by end of Sept, because I don’t think my mom is happy with her account balance now hahaha but I was offered an opportunity to join Bioblitz at Penang Hill, basically an international program on Forest Conservation and Canopy Science, organised by The Habitat Foundation in conjunction with so many other contributors including Penang Hill Corp.

I am a molecular person. My master was in Molecular Biology + Biotech + a lil bit Microbiology. I don’t go out. Lab was my life. Lab was my wall. Lab was my roof. Lab basically shared 1st home title with my actual home. I’ve been to a field trip once last year for 2 days 1 night, it was nice. I became like a little kid, exploring.

So naturally I would say yes to my SV’s offer. But this time, it lasted for ten days. I got super tired end of each day, but super happy also. We got to meet with variety of people from USA, Australia, The UK, Hong Kong, and of course, our local researchers as well. It got to me when they call us scientist, cause I am pretty sure I am not near that title at all hahahaha.

Eh suddenly got werk to do later I’ll update October part 2.

FIELD TRIP FIELD TRIP!

Oct 16th-27th, I will be on my second field trip to Penang Hill, where I would collect soil/water samples around the hilltop for microbial diversity studies. We’re basically doing a Biodiversity Study up there, covering all sorts of layers from microbes, plants to animals. Field trip excites me. I did this once last year, it was tiring, berlemuih but fun. And my face of course hanguih lagi. I guess because I come from molecular background, and my working space had always been IN the lab instead of OUT, I find this kind of event thrilling.
Comparing my project to my friends’, I have it so, so, so much easier I tell you. I collect soil. I only need to walk/hike/climb and dig and store and label them coordinates. Wet lab work I might or might not be involved. I went with my friends last year, they were doing a study on mosquitoes. And THEY HAD TO USE THEMSELVES AS BAITS omg it was sooo itchy by just looking! They were so cool and steady and there I was, frowning… why on earth… why on earth would you guys do this??? Their skins were red… I left after 30 minutes, they were there for hours. They had to go out and set their traps, and went to collect them again at wee hours. We had our hot choc by the Sky Terrace, it was almost midnight when we went back to our hotel when we saw the Bat group leaving with their traps. Oh, such glamour. I went to deliver some field stuff yesterday, and there were at least 40 cages for rats….. Rats…. I would run away at the sight of its tail, and one of the groups is going to conduct a study on rat’s population up there. I was very bad with mosquitoes, caused so much hassles hahaha. I am thankful for my friends who didn’t shuh me away. They even accompanied me to collect my samples too. If they were doing on rats back then, I would have just bid them goodbye and go straight to the room. 
Field trip is fun, but of course it’s work, and it’s not free and easy. You have to collect and process your samples, make a report and the wet lab work will proceed soon. But there are lots of pros so I am going to enjoy myself. I get free train passes and free access to places others have to spend money on, I get to explore. There will be collaborators from foreign countries, I will get to learn new things as well. I used to get scared a lot from having to do things out of my comfort zone, but aah, exciting things always happen outside of your zone anyway. I won’t be having a group, I’ll be on my own. But Kiah is always fine on her own, InsyaAllah. (Might or might not menyelit group orang lain for fun. They’re going to catch all sorts of animals and identify plants! Saya penakut tapi saya mahu join). And the best thing of all in this trip is when I see this one short sentence in the tentative;
 
LUNCH AND REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED AT THE COMMAND CENTRE.
#priorities
Here are some of the photos I took from last year’s trip, some from the hilltop areas and most were from The Habitat. The place was still under constructions last year. It breaks my heart then because it was so loud and I was sad for the animals..) It’s amazingly beautiful now, they even have a viewing deck! (Haven’t gone in, saw photos only). So lucky I don’t have to pay the entrance fees ngehehe. This year’s trip will cover a much bigger sampling area though. Can’t wait! Spent so much money on buying clothes, socks, sunblock, rubber shoes are cheap so it’s okay, because heck I didn’t bring suitable clothes for outdoor, this was adhoc decision anyway. But I received allowances so still fine phew. Will share new pics when I get there next week, InsyaAllah. Looking forward for this year’s trip yayyy. #cannotsleepin #thestruggleisreal
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The most important question now is..

dekat mana I campak beg galas tuuuuu. Beg I sekarang tidak field trip friendly!

VIVA VOCE

was awful.

But I’ve made it out alive, a lil bit heart broken, but ah, what’s done is done. So you guys learn from me, okay? NEVER PURSUE MASTER.   Ops sorry wrong advise. Never do things the last minute and be a millionaire before you pursue always have plans and stick to them! Always know when to stop and move on and have courage to speak up before it’s too late. Make sure you have sufficient time to produce a good thesis. Make sure you stop doing all your lab work and focus solely on writing because it sucks doing both. Make sure you check every word, every line, every paragraph, every page, basically everything.

I can’t change my past, I don’t even have the luxury to change anything one second ago but you guys can learn from me. Master is tough, the beginning was hard but the end was harder so yeah, I’m building muscles. Nonetheless, it was a journey to remember, just the journey not the viva I want to forget my viva I need to take pills. I’ve had the chance to learn and re-learn a lot of things, made friends with the coolest ones, shared fragments of silly and happy memories, hit some milestones, lost hairs, grey hairs, going quarterly bald, migraine attacks gazillion times, collected enough fats to survive Antarctica ohh the list goes on!

God, my journey doesn’t sound very appealing hahaha. No lah, by all means pursue if you want. Like all things in life, it has both the beautiful and the uglier sides hahaha. I’ve passed my viva with major corrections and it’s no shame telling it loud, I’ve shared so many random things about my journey and I feel like I owe it to you guys especially my #gengmakan and those who are kind enough not to unfriend me whenever I wrote a lengthy post ranting on my studies. Taking this opportunity to formally, ahem, thank everyone who’s been with me all this while I don’t think they have a choice I forced them to stay. I know some have silently followed me and prayed for me, whilst others generously lent their ears and money, so thank you. Thank you. The most important ones I already wrote in my thesis so no need mentioning also they should know who they are lah. 

I guess it’s FINALLY time to grow up, earn money, and pay my puluh2 ribu loans hahaha *nervous laugh*. It was all good in the end. Made it woohoo!

 

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I’m still alive but I’m barely breathingg #dramatic

[The night after viva, I received a call from Abah’s number. I felt my heart stopped. My mom was calling me using Abah’s phone because Abah had so much credit balance. How I wish. How I wish I could.

Boh, Kiah LULUS! ]

Here we go

On my way to Penang. My long awaited viva voce is up this Friday. God knows how much I anticipated this day to come. I am equally nervous and excited. I went to visit my father’s grave. He can’t respond anymore I know, and I can’t ask him for pocket money and prayers; but I needed to talk to him..

Pray for me, okay? I’ll see you guys soon. Whatever happens, life goes on. I am expecting some scoldings because I know my thesis was rushly written and the formatting was off. Gotta walk in extra prepared so I won’t lose it aha.

Five hours journey begins now!