Finally, the PhD battle is over

By Zaki Yamani Zakaria1 Comment

phd-sessionThe announcement/notice at Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS) UTM on the day of my Ph.D viva

After roughly 4 years, I successfully completed defending my doctorate study. Alhamdulillah. Praise be only to Allah. It has been such a challenging and tough experience, discipline demanding which at finally end up with a happy ending. Thanks to everybody who have been supporting and helping me.

I wished I can immediately update and announce this wonderful news to the world (I mean my blog). Unfortunately I was quite hectic with work. I guess now, that I am already an active lecturer, I lost the luxury of time and freedom. I am now subjected and answerable to several bosses and superiors. They can give me task, assignments and anything, you name it – I must do it.

My PhD journey was not as fast as I have expected. I targeted to complete my PhD within 3 years. However, many things happen. It took me 4 years and 4 months. Below, I would like to share my PhD timeline.

My PhD timeline

1/7/2009 – My PhD commenced.

30/3/2010 – Presented my 1st stage PhD examination. I did it in my 2nd semester.

August 2011 – IEM professional interview @ IEM Head quarters, Petaling Jaya.

October 2011 – Passed IEM professional interview which means I’m a member of IEM and could get the IR title from BEM.

November 2011 – I was awarded the IR title from BEM.

November 2011 – IChemE Chartered Engineer interview at Daya Bumi, Kuala Lumpur.

January 2012 – Passed the interview and become member of IChemE and awarded Chartered Engineer title from Engineering Council of UK.

January 2012 – My first book chapter under Wiley Publication was published.

May-June 2012 – Research attachment in Newcastle University, UK to work on my thermodynamic modelling.

July 2012 – My first ISI paper was published in Chemical Engineering Journal. Very please and happy. Alhamdulillah.

January 2013 – My contribution in the Industrial Engineering Term was published, Wiley as well.

March 2013 – My second ISI paper was published in Biomass Bioenergy journal.

August 2013 – Submitted my PhD draft to Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS)

November 2013 – Successfully defended my Ph.D thesis. Alhamdulillah.

December 2013 – Completed all corrections.

January 2014 – Settling all the bureaucracy for my graduation. Completed thesis hard cover.

phd-viva-defenceJust after the Ph.D viva session. Alhamdulillah, happy faces can be seen. From left, Dr. Abbas (Assist. Chairman), Prof. Dr. Taufik Yap – UPM (External Examiner), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ramli Mat – UTM (Internal Examiner), myself, Prof. Dr. Rozainee – UTM (Chairman), Prof. Dr. Nor Aishah (My Supervisor), Prof. Dr. Salasiah – UTM (Internal Examiner). Rough time and date: 11.40 am, 12th Nov 2013.

If you read everything in the timeline, you’ll noticed that there were several activities that were not at all related to my Ph.D. However, they were related to my career and I have to do it. Bottom line is I managed to managed everything despite various obstacles and challenges along the way. I study in UTM which is also the place I stay. I have a family with 4 kids to entertain. It is indeed super tough to stay focus. However, my supervisor constantly urged and motivated me to write journal papers. I believe that helped a lot. At the end, I just compiled all the content of the papers in thesis form, aligned the flow a little bit and submitted the thesis. My supporting wife was always by my side to discuss research and non-research related stuff.

There were times I was not in my comfort zone. When I was asked to do thermodynamics and reaction kinetics, I was lost in no where land. I don’t know what to do and where to start. I was not sure of what I was doing. I can simply give up. However, I tried and tried to seek for the light. Fortunately, along the way, there were always helpful people that were generous to give a helping hand. Finally I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Alhamdulillah. Well, if you are a graduate student like I was before and are presently lost in your research, don’t give up. Stay focus. Remember the purpose of why you are doing your masters or Ph.D. Pray hard. Work hard. Organize your work. You’ll get it. You’ll finish it. You’ll win the battle.

If somebody asked me, how you did it? How you complete your Ph.D… here’s my answer… in no particular order.

  • Organize your work.
  • List them down.
  • Stay focus to complete them (the tasks/goals).
  • Be persistent.
  • Be discipline (I allocated about 2 hours per day in the early morning to do my writing).
  • Do what your supervisor asked to do.
  • Always be in solution mode – think creatively to solve any problem.
  • Pray hard and asked for God’s help and guidance.
  • Tawakkal

Personal, Research

One Comment to “Finally, the PhD battle is over”

  1. […] chance. You may want to ask something or consult your research direction (if you are a master or Ph.D student). Make sure you bring all the required information that can support the discussion and analysis. […]

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