Friday, November 12, 2021

My PhD Journey (after 40 months)


Hi semua...dalam sibuk sibuk dgn urusan dunia reality, I wanna squeeze this morning to jot down few things about my PhD journey. I started the study in July 2018, with full-time mode. Dengan izin Allah, I got the study leave that I applied, along with sponsorship to further this PhD. Syukur! Ada yang sudi sponsor my study since Foundation to PhD. Alhamdulillah #doaandsacrifices comes along. 

Literally, the first semester was spent to acquire the data from the data owner. I started requesting the data in May 2018, two months earlier than my enrollment date, worrying the process would take longer. Alhamdulillah, data request process was smoother than I thought. So, when I started the PhD, the first few months were focused on arranging the data, checking their quality, sorting and writing the literature review part. I have also loaded the data into specific software to view and play around with them. 

In November 2018, both husband and I along with our parents and sister went to Saudi to perform our umrah. It was the first time for me and the best experienced I had so far. Rindunya Madinah & Mekah. I have written one of the unbelievable experiences I had while in Madinah in this entry about Raudhah

Right away after returning from Saudi, I boarded another flight to Paris for an international workshop with research members of the International Geoscience Correlation Program (IGCP) for our 667 Project related to The World Map of Orogens. I just realized that I have not written anything about my Paris trip in this dear blog of mine. I spend merely two weeks in Paris and took the opportunity to finish my proposal write for the PhD. I also spent most of my time in Ecole Normale Superior (ENS) where my supervisor is leading a geological lab. 

Participants of the IGCP 667 first workshop in Paris

Following my return to Malaysia, I had submitted the full proposal and defended my research ideas in February 2019. I had shared some tips for defending PhD proposal in this entry. In the same semester, I have to present the progress of the PhD since I was already in the second semester of the study. During this time, most time was spent working in the university, with my workstation (which my husband helped to carry and set up in my office, Thank you You!). It involved lots of frustration because I have to re-do the work many times. 

Before I forget, by July 2019, a year into this PhDJourney, I had to change supervisors twice due to unavoidable matters internally within the university. The first supervisor was Prof Ghani and Prof Michael. Both of them left the institution around the same time (end 2018), and Dr Chow took over as the main Sv with Dr Benjamin. By June 2019, Dr Chow left UTP and Dr Benjamin had become my supervisor along with Dr Mirza. So, most of my works were assisted by Dr Benjamin. By December 2019, where the world had started to worry about newly form virus in Wuhan, China, I begins to prepare a manuscript for publication. This was elaborated from my second progress report presented to the department in Nov 2019. I continue writing and working with the seismic and well data, preparing for the next semester etc etc until one day before I delivered my youngest on 13th March 2020. 

Then, the world pandemic begins and things had turned virtually and online all over the world. So as my PhD study was mostly done at home after the arrival of Imaad Hafiy. Pandemic and lockdown is another story that affected us in many ways. I am lucky that I have completed most of the major workstation research by that time which I no longer need to use sophisticated software to analyze the data. With newborn baby and three elder children at home during the lockdown, I took it slowly with my PhD until June 2020 where I realized I need to start submitting the manuscript that I have written earlier. So, while the baby and the elder three were sleeping, their ummi was working with her first publication. I feel like a zombie for several months. In between writing, I will run away to bed to feed Imaad who is a milk junkie even until now.

After presenting in Virtual Conference (July 21)

Long story cut short, the first paper was published in early 2021 after a series of traumatized reviewing processses. I almost gave up. During the submission process, I have started analyzing and writing the other sets of data to meet the second objective of my PhD work. The second manuscript was ready for submission by April 2021. I am more confident with the second manuscript and as expected, reviewers liked what we wrote. In one month plus, the manuscript was published. The experience with the second manuscript was a pleasant one as compared to the first one. But both of these papers are dear to my heart because I have sacrificed and put my tears into the analysis and writing processes.  Call me over reacting, but I'm emotional like that. If your want to take a look into these papers, just search my name in Google Scholar or Research Gate. 

My study table at home. I decided to buy one for myself after lockdown started and I know most of my PhD years will be spent working from home. 

After the publication of the second manuscript, I begin to focus on the last part of the work, focusing more on the quantitative analysis. I am lucky to get help from a researcher in South Korea. We developed a relationship as a friend and share the same interest in geological subsidence. Over a few communications and video calls, I have finally been able to produce results from the data. I am indeed thankful for the technology that helps to connect ppl for this good purpose. I quickly get in touch and tried my luck to discuss the results I had in the last part with one of the expert matter we have in Malaysia. Alhamdulillah, had gotten such supportive feedback. Again, thanks to technology for connecting us. It took several weeks to finally come to the correct result and presentation and get approval to proceed with writing. 
Well, some may wonder why do I have to connect and find bits of help from the external parties while I already have my own supervisors in the university. To be honest, along the way, I changed supervisor again. 

Dr Benjamin had to left from France because he needs to be near to his family during the pandemic. So, Dr Mirza had become the main SV for a short while, before his contract with the university was not continued. I get too used to the change of supervisors and I feel numb to the process. I am lucky because all supervisors accepted the work that I am doing and do not interfere much with my research ideas and styles. By January 2021, I discussed the situation with the Head of the Department and expressed my intention to appoint him as the main SV because he is the only one I feel had a secure position in the department at that time. He was a bit reluctant because the work that I am doing is not within his expertise, but I convinced him that I will not make much trouble. So, he agreed. and Dr Ahmed who knew a bit more about what I am doing as the co-SV. To my surprise, Dr Ahmed had to leave the institution by Nov 2021 before able to see me complete my study. I am still lucky because the main SV had helped with the thesis corrections. 

And I am luckiest because I still have Prof Manuel from day 1 until today. Prof Manuel, who is fully based in ENS, Paris had been my field supervisor. He was my main SV during my MSc study (although he had to be back to Paris earlier in 2014, but we maintained the relationship until present). Of course it is not easy to maintain a long distance communication with time and cultural differences. I always end up waiting in front of the laptop when Prof Manuel could not make it to our online meeting. I even feel traumatized to set up a meeting with him at one stage of this journey because I know I will feel frustrated at the end since he will not show up or I don't meet his expectation. 
Prof Manuel when he visited my workstation in Sep 2018

in Manu's office (ENS) when I visited Paris in Dec 2018

The only one who will keep on pushing me not to let myself goes deeper into the frustration or anxiety is my husband! Sorry abang for all the throw-ups. Thanks for lending me your ears and shoulders. Also for always being so pushy, I can't even tahan, so I will just do it so you will stop pushing me. Because at the end of the day, I will come back to you smiling and happy when Prof likes what I have been working for. 

This picture was taken on the first day I registered as PhD study
11th July 2018 with the pushing factor. 
Love you suami!

Well, November 2021 is my 40th month as a PhD student. I had just finished two dry-runs (rehearsal) sessions with Prof Ghani and Prof Manuel (along with my Chee Meng, my PhD buddy) in separate sessions. I would say I am feeling a bit relieved after listening to their feedback on the work. InshaALLAH,  with a little bit more improvement, I am ready to go. 

Thats my phdbaby, Imaad Hafiy!

He always "teman"ummi work late at night. 

Next week, I will be presenting the research works for this 3.5 years for Research Completion Seminar to panel of examiners within my university and I am hopeful that I am able to make them understand the work that I had done. I hope the thesis will do justice and I can get a green light to proceed for viva nomination. 

Those reading, thank you. 
Please make your doa for me to be able to deliver the work dengan lancar dan mudah untuk the examiners to understand what I wanted to deliver. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Modern world pandemic and lockdown

Hello blog, 

It has been more than a year ago since I last posted anything in here. Things have really changed. 

Indeed, the world has changed! The arrival of my youngest son, Imaad in March 2020 marks the beginning of the modern world pandemic. All of us are generally figthing with the deadly virus of Coranavirus-19, which was originated from Wuhan, China at the end of Year 2019. It quickly spread out all over the world until the WHO had to declare pandemic situation every where. 

The world has gone into series of lockdowns. Everywhere, everyone was and still struggling. Life was hard, in many aspects. Many lost their loved ones to this deadly virus. Many had been infected, recovered but suffer long effects of covid. Many had lost their jobs too because when lockdown took place, many businesses had to close down. Many struggles with depression, financial issues, and a lot more difficulties. 

Despite this bad situation, there are blessings, too. 

Most of all are now vaccinated with the vaccine for covid-19. Although the vaccine itself is not a cure for this deadly virus, we do have some internal protection within our bodies. At least. Well, I am not going to list out more about what had happened to the world in my blog. All of us can google and check it out in the news for what had happened during the covid-19 pandemic. 

As for my family and me, we are lucky enough. We are still safe and sound from this deadly virus. My brother-in-law and his family were infected recently, but they had their vaccination already, so the impact was mild. Alhamdulillah. My niece was also infected a few months back but she did not have any symptoms at all. Allah blesses her. So many things for us to be grateful for. 

All my kids are staying at home, having their schooling online or we call it as Pembelajaran daripada rumah (PDPR) while both my husband and I had to work from home. For the year 2021, the kids only went to school for about 2 months only. The rest of the year, we embrace ourselves with online learning. It was not easy. But we are grateful that we are fully equipped with a decent internet connection, enough laptops and handphones for each of the kids to use, as well as enough resources for online learning. And most of all, for having kids that are cooperative for the online learning and this tiresome routine. 

my elder two in their school canteen went we have chance to visit the school to collect some of their books. this was in 2020

the empty school 

We had spent the longest time in this house for the past two years. And it has been sometimes since we last visited our parents and siblings. Since Malaysia, in general, is still under-going nationwide lockdown. Soon, InshaAllah we will be able to do inter-state travel to visit our parents in Penang and Terengganu as well as visiting our siblings. 

To be honest, we are sort of getting used to this pandemic, which will soon become endemic. We have to accept the fact that we must live with it! Like or not, just embrace it. Follow as much as hygenic standard operating procedures that have been listed by the WHO and our government. 

Will continue more in the next post. InshaAllah. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The arrival of Imaad Hafiy

Assalamualaikum wbt, 

Imaad Hafiy is my fourth baby. He arrived to this world 8.5 months ago, at the peak of modern world pandemic, the CORONA VIRUS or COVID-19. So, his arrival was not yet announced in this personal blog of mine. Let me share a story that Imaad will remember when he is bigger and taller and able to read on his own later. 

Imaad was born on Friday, 13th March 2020 in Hospital Pantai Ipoh. Delivered by Mdm. Dr. Anjalai through an elective cesarian operation at 38 weeks 1 day in Ummi's womb. The delivery was scheduled at 11am since it was Friday. However, the OT was quite busy. Although Ummi has been wheeled to the OT a an hour earlier, the doctor cannot perform the operation since the suits were occupied for a longer period than expected. Ummi was left alone with blurry view (coz I can't bring along my spectacles into the OT). I tried to sleep but definitely cannot because OT was busy and noisy. 

So, at 11am, the aneas came and talk to me, also my friend Suraya a senior nurse working in the OT visited few times. She will be assisting Dr Anjalai for the operation later. I can't remember exactly when and how, I was wheeled to the OT suit and then they injected the bius at my back. Suddenly everything was so heavy. I can feel my legs, but I can't move it. they started to inserted all the necessary tubes in me and then Dr Anjalai came in and they started the operation. At the same time, your dad came in, sit next to me, on my right side while the aneas sit on my left. Ayah was telling me what happened because he can see every single thing the Dr are doing. I think, at that time, he was so excited to see how the operation was performed. Few moments later, you were out! you cried and I cried too automatically. I keep saying Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah. Ayah wiped out my tears. The nurses bring you nearby me, we have skin to skin contact for a short while just at my cheek, you look a bit blueish and I think its not too common because you brother Iyaadh was very pink when he came out. 

I had a feeling that something is not right. But I prayed silently that its not too bad. Dr Anjalai continue for the next procedure which was the BTL. She asked ayah for final confirmation to cut and tie my follopian tubes for both sides. After the surgery, I asked for you. But the Dr can't allow it yet coz I need to rest. Little that I know you were under Dr Lee's supervision for lacking of oxygen. That explains why you were quite blueish when I first lay my eyes on you. 

I was wheeled to the room and Ayah went out for Friday prayer. I tried to sleep but it feels so dizzy and empty. Dr Lee your paed came and explained that you are now under observation for oxygen level and few other things because you sort of drink too much amniotic fluid in the process of bringing you out to the world just now. So, it will take 24 hours before we can meet each other. Luckily, I was at calm and tak nangis listening to Dr. I trust in Dr's decision and I really know that I should use the time given to properly rest. 
Umi was not able to eat anything that day. not until night. After Maghrib, Umi tried to expressed some colustrum for you and managed to get a few titik. Passed it to the nurses to feed you and tried to sleep that night. 

On the day you were born, Acu took care of Abang2 and your Kakak. They were so excited to meet you but all of us need to wait for one more day. Ayah took photos of you and send to us since Ayah je yg boleh pay you a visit. Maktok and Wan also came to visit and all of them overnight in Ipoh that day, so they come early morning to meet you tmrw. 

The next day, everyone came and we managed to see you. You were healthy and no longer need the oxygen support. Alhamdulillah

The next day, both of us boleh balik rumah. 

Day 2 of life

Well, we started our Movement Control Order right away. 
We pantang our way. Ayah took care for both of us, also for the other abangs and kakak too. Mak tok went back to Penang earlier than expected just because the pandemic had risen so drastically that time. 

The confinement lady also can't come to help us. They were just six of us. 
Alhamdulillah. we made it. 

Walaupun I have not properly done my routine for pantang, but kita semua sihat dan terjaga. 
Ayah cukur your jambul at one month old. He did it all by himself for the first time. 
I guest, for you, many things are first time for Ayah. 

Jaga baby since day 1 dlm pantang, 
Urus A-Z by himself without help. 
Also first time ayah boleh masuk OT and see his baby came out real!

Well, that's wrap up for your birth story. 

We love you so much. I will write more bout you. Stay tune! hahaha

Thursday, February 20, 2020

My last baby bump

It's 20/02/2020 today. What a nice date. 
And it marks the day my fourth pregnancy turns to 35 weeks. 
Which means, another 22 days before you come to the world. 
Ummi and Ayah have chosen 13th March 2020, Friday for the elective cesarian. 
Hopefully, you will stay calm and happy inside Ummi until that day which is supposed to be your 38 weeks and 1 day throughout this pregnancy. 

You have been a charm since the day I first felt your movement inside me. 
Every time you make any kind of move, I felt thankful to Allah. 
InsyaAllah anak ummi sihat membesar di dalam rahim ummi. 

IH4 and Ummi at 32+ weeks of pregnancy. 

This time around, ramai orang tegur, perut tak nampak sangat walaupun dah masuk third trimester. 
Most of the pregnancy, Ummi receives the same acknowledgment. Perhaps, sebab ummi tinggi. So, perut not so ke depan. 
But, I gained a lot of weight. Like now, at 35 weeks, dah 12-15 kg from pre-pregnancy weight. 
Well, this time pregnant pun Ummi dah berat than my comfort weight. :D

Abang Iyaadh yg super clingy, super manja, and cheeky nowadays. Tak boleh berenggang langsung dengan Ummi. Every day he will ask, bila baby nak keluar. 
When Ummi said, March nnt baby keluar. He will replied, kenapa lambat sangat. 

Throughout this pregnancy, I am totally sihat. Alhamdulillah. 
Except for one thing that I suffered since week 20ish of pregnancy. 
I felt a strong pain in my upper part of the body, in between my big tummy and ribs. 
In the first place, I thought it was reflux. Which I have been experiencing too. But it is controllable through Gaviscon and taking care of what I eat. 

However, there is another kind of pain that did not go away even though I have taken the Gaviscon and control my food intake. Doctor had told me it is due to muscle inflammation into the rib cage which is known as Costochondritis.

Source: Google

Most of the time, the pain grows stronger underneath my left rib. The position is exactly as in the photo except it was highlighting the right side of the body. 

It is very painful even when you touch the skin on top of your tummy in between the ribs, you will feel the pain. It is due to prolonged inflammation. 

If I walked a little bit more for that day, or stand slightly longer (ie during cooking), or do some extra house chores, the pain grows stronger and feels so bad that I need to lie on my back at that sudden. The doctor can only give mild pain killer which is equivalent to panadol. Well, the only solution is to embrace the pain and try to increase zikir when the pain struck. 

For the preparation of your arrival.. most of the things are ready.
Mainly ummi beli baru, sebab barang from abang2 and kakak dah so soggy. 
 Ummi is going crazy about muslin swaddle this time around. I bought quite a number of muslin swaddles for you. and they are cute! 

Once you arrive later in the world, Ayah and Ummi will decide which car seat we should use for you coz most of the infant carrier car seat looks like a little uncomfortable with too much bending. 

Ummi has been aiming at Joie Gemm until I found out about Joie i-Gemm, which is the improved version of the earlier one. Joie is within our range of budget, but if we can get Maxi Cosi or Nuna, that would be better. The most important thing is you must be buckle-up every time in the car! Hopefully ummi tak cheat!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

My Dear ārba'a Baby

Dearest sayang,

You are now 23 weeks inside ummi. Umi dah mula rasa your movement inside me.
I can only feel your profound movement about three weeks ago. I was worried back then since your brothers' and sister's movement were felt so much earlier than 20 weeks.

We went for a check-up with Dr. Anjalai when you were about 16-17 weeks and we can really see you are active inside me. Alhamdulillah. We saw your face. You look alike with Abang Iyaadh. So cute! We also knew your gender at that time! Alhamdulillah. Umi and Ayah were happy and bersyukur.

The beginning of your pregnancy was easy in terms of I don't have any sickness at all. Almost none.
But I easily got tired. By 8pm, I felt like I need to sleep till morning. Of course, I can't do that. Your brothers and sister need to eat etc. There are some times that Umi has to handle the house and the kids alone with you inside me. I feel so tired that I cried before I go to bed. During the first trimester jugak lah Umi always had leg cramp while sleeping. It's very painful and usually, Ayah will help to reduce the pain and give comfort. Ayah finally bought me a bottle of 600mg Calcium and I have been consuming it every other day. Luckily the cramp went away.

My Arba'a Baby,

Umi really loves you. I really wanted you. To accompany me in this world. You may have know this, Umi is actually furthering my study in PhD level. And to that reason, Umi feels bad that for it actually. Because Umi sekarang banyak fokus dgn my own study, and also with your brothers' and sister's need apart from focusing on you. Umi eats a lot of sweet food like cakes and chocolate. And I am bloated now. Without releasing how much the sugar will give a negative impact on you. I promise to eat more healthy food after this for your sake. And I will not skip taking the supplements to ensure you grow well. Oh, this week and next week, Umi kena repeat check up dekat KKIA. because I gained too much weight in a month. The nurses are worried I might have diabetes of high bp.

Umi never forget to pray for your well being inside me, setiap kali solat Umi selitkan doa untuk my dearest arba'a baby as well for your sister and brothers. semoga anak2 umi semua sihat termasuk yang berada di dalam kandungan umi.
Sekarang ni Umi busy dengan abang-abang dan kakak ...nanti dah selesai dorang masuk sekolah semua.. Umi mula prepare for your arrival ya. It is so exciting thinking of it. InsyaAllah we'll try to prepare the best for you.

With that, Umi has to stop writing and start my work. You will arrive somewhere in March 2020. We will start fasting in April and celebrating our first raya in May , InsyaAllah. During that time, Umi will need to submit and present my research progress too. So, Umi has to prepare from now.

Love you sayang, my Arba'a baby.

You were 17 weeks few days when Umi took this picture. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Selepas setahun sebagai PhD student....

Rasanya ialah LONELY!
Tak tau la orang lain yg dalam journey yang sama mcm I ni rasa ke tak perasaan lonely ni..
Lonely bukan sebab tak ada kawan, bukan sebab tak ada keluarga.
Lebih kepada Lonely sebab rasa mcm diri ni seorang je ke yg tgh buat benda ni.
Research ni nak rujuk dekat siapa?
Siapa boleh tolong jawabkan apa yg kusut dalam kepala ni?
Ini penyebab utama rasa Lonely ni.

Kadang-kadang bersembang dengan husband pasal research..
Iyalah, dia pun cuba sedaya upaya nak memahami..
Secara am nya dia fahamlah apa yg I plan to do, sedang buat ..
Cuma in details kita nak terangkan pun nanti dia tak faham jugak,
sebab kita sendiri pun tak berapa nak faham. hahahaha

Bila baca kisah pelajar PhD, kebanyakkan menulis cabaran masing-masing.
I pun sama, tak lari dari cabaran-cabarannya. But bukanlah cabaran yg besar, bukanlah terlalu berat.
Setiap yg berlaku pasti ada hikmahnya, dan kena sentiasa think positive, look at the problem on the brighter side.
Setelah setahun bergelar pelajar PhD, dugaan utama actually nak memahami konsep dan nak siapkan kerja dgn cepat supaya dapat habis cepat. This is my biggest challenge, which actually comes from myself sendiri.

I dapat cuti belajar 3 tahun, which means, sekarang tinggal lagi 2 tahun je lagi.
I juga tertakluk pada syarat graduation iaitu kena publish 2 papers dalam scopus index journals.
Publish ye, bukan sekadar submit.
Ini semua dah jadi kebiasaan universiti di Malaysia, untuk mengejar KPI uni masing-masing.
Pelajar agak tertekan actually. But do we have a choice?  rather than just to embrace it.

I dah 3 kali tukar main supervisor.
Bukan sebab tukar topic. Alhamdulillah topic masih maintain yg sama sejak dari register sehingga sekarang.
SV pertama cuma bertahan selama 4-5 bulan je, lepas tu dia pencen (kontrak x disambung).
SV kedua bertahan untuk 7 bulan. Tetapi his existence is more like pemberi markah dan signature apabila perlu.
SV ketiga, merangkap my co-sv initially just begins his part as main sv about a month ago.
But so far so good , relationship dgn dia ok, scientific discussion going on well.
Cuma , biasa lah, setiap yg results yg kita share, pasti akan di komen untuk penambah baikkan.
Bersyukur jugak lah, walaupun in the beginning part supervision ni mcam menampakkan jalan buntu.

My field sv is still the same. Which was my sv masa buat MSc dulu. Just that he is far in Paris. jarang2 we all contact but I send him email once in a while to keep him updated.

I have submitted two abstracts for conferences. Satu kena reject, satu accepted.
InsyaAllah tak ada aral, akan present dan publish paper dekat conference ni.

Also, I'm pregnant with my no 4 now!
Tak tau nak gelak happy or gelak sedih.
Both actually.
Happy lah sebab nak bertambah ahli keluarga.
Cuma cuak berdebar memikirkan mampu ke nak siapkan PhD ni dlam tempoh cuti yg berbaki lagi 2 tahun je lagi.
Bila fikir jadi stress rasa nak kena push study study.
Balik rumah je cita-cita tinggi nak kena stay up or bangun awal untuk ulang kaji.
But, end up, I tidor dgn nyeyak sebab penat sgt badan.

I'm still in my first trimester and Iyaadh is still bottle feeding and on diaper Itu jugk mungkin punca penat yg extra sbb malam-malam still bangun bancuhkan susu dia.

well, till then.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Museum Hopping: Terowong Sg Lembing

Hi guys,

Lepas visit Muzium Sg Lembing, kitaorg ke Terowong Sg Lembing. 
Dari muzium nak ke kawasan terowong ni kena mendaki sikit. Ke atas bukit. 
Kalau drive, jalan tu tak lebar sgt, so perlu be extra careful. 

Ada good space for parking dekat depan kawasan terowong sg lembing. so don't worry about parking. 
Disediakan jugak satu cafe kecik dan kedai jual souvenir dekat kawasan jual tiket. 
Oh ya, harga tiket untuk masuk sedikit mahal compare dgn harga tiket untuk muzium sg lembing. 
Satu faktornya disebabkan nak maintenance penjagaan lombong ni must be quite costly kan. 
Malaysian citizen dapat extra discount. 

Kepanjangan terowong sebenar actually 322km. Ada beberapa level ke dalam tanah. Tapi sekarang semua level dah dibanjiri air, tinggal level paling atas je yg masih preserved dan digunakan untuk tujuan touristic.