Most of the scholars I have met repeated the same statement : “Ph.D is a lonely business”. When I decided to do my master’s degree 2 years ago, it was not meant to be just a master’s degree. It was actually a 6 years Strategic Plan to obtain the doctorate – as I was well aware that these days, Master’s Degree isn’t that precious and with the Malaysian economic is plunging into the abyss, don’t expect any opportunities in universities, just yet! But I am only human – there are times when I feel so highly-spirited like a violent typhoon – but there are times when I feel so mellow and dispirited like a zephyr on a Switzerland mountain.
I guess it is normal to feel that. But it is scary. When you think about what you intend to do and the changes you will make for your entire life. OK, you get a Ph.D. So, what then? Getting a Ph.D is merely the starting point :-
- You have to start looking for opportunities in universities as being in school will not be suitable for you anymore. You wouldn’t want to seek opportunities in the Education Ministries or Departments as you are not fond of managerial tasks but in 3 years time, will there be opportunities for you? Or will you have to succumb to the fact of being in school (the more you are in school with its children’s pedagogy, the lesser time you have to get accustomed with academia’s ambiance of andragogy!);
- Let say if you nail the ambition of becoming a Communication Lecturer; you will now have to dedicate yourself with all the research papers and mentoring students KPIs (apart from other clerical tasks; just like teachers!). Are you willing to trade your haven now for that suicidal lifestyle?
- Your holidays will be significantly reduced. Of course being a Malaysian teacher is no bed of roses BUT at least you now have a week or two weeks holidays in comparison to lecturers. The latter has the money but not the time; whereas you now have the time but no money. Will you be able to get yourself accustomed to that after 9 years of serving as teacher (2010-2019)? Will you feel regret of shifting your cocoon with that chaotic life?
I am always someone who is a determined when I want something. I know it will be such a waste for me if I were to be forever in the school. But it is also a bit inferior to step into the university. Of course on the political-wise; the university citizens are craftier and I have to equip myself with all these rhetorical bits up on my sleeves for that (Haha!). I should expect that the busybody types in the school are more abundant in universities and I have to be savvy to handle all these “firestone leprechauns”. Hahaha!
But I guess whatever it is, I shall not quit. I only live once. If I don’t do this now, I will regret forever. I refuse to keep sulking and getting jealous seeing my other friends getting their doctorates and keep repeating the fact that when we were in schools, we were equal competitors. It is no use of keep reminiscing the old memories’ glories WITHOUT daring to tear down the walls of my safe cocoon.
This is life, Shahrill. Being a Malay, you should strive hard to be the New Malay like what you read in the Malay Dilemma (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/a-sine-qua-non-for-the-malays-a-paradigm-shifting-disclosure-tun-dr-mahathir-mohamads-1970-the-malay-dilemma/). Getting a doctorate isn’t just about you. It is about your race and your religion. This is a process of moulding you into a better human – to fathom what you never know and to contribute to the body of knowledge. You can do this, Shahrill.
Never lose faith on yourself. The rest of the world ridicule and jeer at you and are you going to desert yourself; or are you going to defend yourself? Of course you have to be your own best friend! Never desert yourself though the whole world try to shack you down, Shahrill. After all, that is the spirit that keeps your fire flaming so far, no?
A note to myself on 30th November 2016.