Thursday, November 27, 2014

TIPS FOR RESEARCH PROPOSAL PRESENTATION

Assalamualaikum,

I've been procastinating on a lot of things lately, not because I was lazy (I think), but I had so many things to do for the past few days since my mock research proposal presentation last week. Syukur, Alhamdulillah. It went well.

The comments from my supervisor and co-supervisor were:
- I had monotonous voice
- I had less confidence when I present something that I don't really know
- I need to read more for better understanding
In summary,  I need to polish my skills for the presentation!!!!

But, I am sssoooooooo glad that I didn't have to do many changes for the slide presentation. So, I would like to share here so that I will remember forever, "What are the tips for a good slides of research proposal presentation?

1. A "Table of Contents"
Usually in the thesis, there is a page with this title of "Table of Contents". There is no need for this page in the research proposal presentation. But, you still have to list them out. This is because, the headings and the subheading of the Table of Content will become the title for the slides. 

Basically, the list will look like this:
1. Introduction
2. Literature review
3. Problem statement
4. General objective
5. Specific objectives
6. Methodology
7. Dummy tables
8. Expected outcome
9. Gantt chart
10. References


Source: www.professays.com

The slides will be clear to us and also to the audience. It is more organized this way.


2. A picture is worth a thousand words 
Almost 70-80% of my slide presentation content were illustrated by figures, photos, tables and charts. Based on my experience while doing Master degree, I realized that the audience came from many different backgrounds. Thus, research proposal should be scientific but at the same time understandable to the audience. 

Note: If we don't want the audience to ask so many questions, then, we should explain everything but keep it simple so that it shows:
i. We know what we are talking about
ii. We look confident enough about our study
iii. We are sure what we are going to do

So, let's put colours and pictures in the slide presentation. :)

Source: Science BS | the slitty eye

3. Dummy tables
During our research methodology course recently, the spekers told us to have Dummy Tables in the research proposal so that, we really know what are the datas that we should collect in our study. From my understanding, a dummy table is an empty table of the results but it is the table as if you want to put in the thesis later on. I think it is good to have these dummy tables. It showed not only what data to be collected but also, the statistical tests we will be using to analyse our data too.


Source: wikipedia. 

I think, that's all for now.
Hope I'll remember always the tips that I have shared here. Arasso...
:)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

DATELINE TACHYCARDIA

Assalamualaikum

It had been pouring since Friday. The weather is very cold. The monsoon season has arrived.

I am in the middle of preparing my slides for my research proposal presentation. The dateline is this Wednesday. My SV asked all her supervisee to present to her and in front of small audience in 3 days time. I had been working since last Tuesday but the momentum just gets better when the dateline is near. haha.

Yesterday, I think it was the day that I worked really hard for the presentation. I've prepared the problem statement, the methodology, the dummy tables and the expected outcome. So, now I'm left with the LITERATURE REVIEW. Yup. Save the best at the last. haha. So, yesterday, I had to work hard because I have the facts in my head but my facts are not strong enough. When my husband asked questions about my research, I could answer him. But, without references, it sounded like "kelentong". haha. So, the hardest part has come and that is searching for the references.

I am actually still in the honeymoon state. I am still easy-going with my PhD. Thanks to the wake up call by my SV. Hopefully with having many datelines, it will motivate me to do work diligently, persistently, hardworkingly, smartly with preseverence and everythingelse that I am supposed to do to graduate on time (GOT) insyaAllah.

Bashirah, my partner in crime for PhD,  shared with me a FB post last night. She said it made her cry. I was focusing with my slide preparation, so, I kept it for reading this morning. You can read it at the http://bubblesintheocean.com/. My husband commented that a lot of things can happen while doing PhD. And I shouldn't be so stress. The depression, anxiety, panic attack, it could happen to any PhD students or even the undergraduate students. So, he asked me to take it easy while preparing the slide presentation. Just do it. The most important thing for this PhD is just to pass. Not to get a medal. Not to get number one. Just pass. InsyaAllah. Thanks Mr Hubby for understanding...

I wish my Sister Putri all the best in her future. She has inspired me and taught me that Allah is always there for us. The most importantly, life doesn't end in this world, but we have a lifetime to spend in the Akhirat that we should look after.

Good tips shared by the blog from Sister Putri and her husband:

GUIDANCE FOR MUSLIM’S PHD OR MASTER’S STUDENTS
I am preparing some slides to be shared with the postgraduate students here as part of the motivation to deal with PhD works. However, though the steps are followed, it is still not a guarantee to get a PhD but Insha Allah you’ll appreciate this journey and be grateful to ALLAH. These are some tips:
1. Develop passion, relate the studies to Allah’s knowledge
2. Effective Communication (Writing Skills, Communication Skills, Persuasive Skills, Presentation Skills)
3. Humility and Humbleness win the heart!
4. Organise, organise and organise -> self-discipline
5. Dhuha and Tahajjud prayers keep the momentum of the day
6. Fulfil the rights to the spouse, kids, family members and other people. PhD is a family affair!
7. Perseverance (Al-Baqarah: 286). Keep moving on and persistence!
8. Treat yourselves before moving on. Give a pat on your back -> Take pride of your work
9. If something went wrong, quickly ask forgiveness from Allah and always do ‘muhasabah’.
10. Accept for the fact that no matter how hard you try, if Allah didn’t want you to have it, Allah already made you ready to face the fact that you’ll not get it, but praise Him for the experiences that you encountered throughout the journey. Insha Allah, Allah already destined you for something greater.

patience, perseverance and play

Please make doa for me for this Wednesday! ;)

p/s: What's with the title? To stay awake and highly energetic, I drank a mug full with a packet of white coffee last night and my heart beat was tachycardic. Felt like dancing Zumba late last night. But, I drank lots of water and Alhamdulillah it subsided. hehe. Adios amigos.

References:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

3 SIGNIFICANT RESOLUTION 2015

Assalamualaikum

Before I end the day, I read through Dato' Roslan Ab Hamid facebook. I wish to have the same resolution. InsyaAllah. Let's work towards it by starting by NIAT for the sake of Allah. InsyaAllah. 

It's 1:20am. U-oh. Good night. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

ORGANIZED KIDS TOYS INSPIRED BY PINTEREST

Assalamualaikum.

It had been a hectic week with so many postgraduate issues in the university. Plus, I have so many datelines to be met if I want to GOT (graduate on time). Erkk. I hope. 

But, Alhamdulillah, thanks to Allah for giving me "useful places" to deviate for a while, from focusing the problems. It made me happy and I had to use my mind to be more creative and to have some fun once in a while. 

Inspired by Pinterest, I found a very practical way of organizing the kids toys. In addition, it is also a very good lesson for me to teach the kids how to keep their toys back into their places after they have played. You can find the inspirational photo here at this link: http://www.yourmodernfamily.com/easy-way-to-organize-kids-toys/


I spent RM32 for the yellow boxes which I bought from the Giant supermarket. The kids had so much fun segregating the toys last week and tonight they were choosing images and couldn't make up their mind when I asked which cartoon should I put for the stickers. Hehe. 

I hope to do more of these organizing things and spend a really good and fun time with the kids. It is time that they learn how to be responsible grown up men soon. Uh... What am I thinking? A man when they are only 7 and 5? Well, you can tell that I am a bit "mental" with my PhD. Haha. 

Anyway, hope you are inspired by my Organized kids toys tooo... 

3rd month PhD....

p/s: hmm, after seeing this photo, I think I need to touch up a little. I should put stickers on the cupboard doors too, right? :)

Saturday, November 08, 2014

I WISH TO DO THE SAME

Assalamualaikum
I wish to blog like this blog. Full of pictures and full of meanings. Let's have a look.. :)

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/gallery/2014/nov/04/-sp-life-as-a-phd-student-in-pictures?CMP=share_btn_fb

ENTERING MY 3RD MONTH

Assalamualaikum,

Since yesterday, my life has been upside down. After receiving a very shocking email from the PG office, I had tachycardia plus sweating! haha. Well, the issue is still ongoing and I believe the shock made a movement for us to have our first meeting with all the PG students in the department. Alhamdulillah. Things does turn out to have good reasons behind them.

This whole hanky panky thing really reminds me of the old memories while doing my Master. The same history repeats itself. huhu. Alhamdulillah, I'm glad that I've gone through the process and I hope it will improve this time insyaAllah.

Anyway, I'm already in my 3rd month PhD. I am counting the days just like counting the days during my pregnancy. In my opinion, PhD is like a time bomb. Everyday, the time keeps on ticking away and if I don't plan my time properly, the time will just slip away and nothing will progress. So far, Alhamdullillah, I've been doing labworks. There are more labworks to do. But, thank you to my very helpful understanding SV for guiding and supervising me perfectly. So, during my night prayer, I must pray that she will live long life, be happy and filled with Allah's barakah and rahmah fidunia wal akhirat. Amiiin.

Latest news, Bibik is not coming back. Yeah. Whatever the reason is, I am glad that she is in her country and not running away just like she did before. So, cooking, cleaning and the rest of the housechores are the added "fetal kicks" for my PhD pregnancy. Haha. I am stil cooking the same food somehow. Yet still to cook new recipesssss....

Aha, talking about new recipe. I did this recipe three times already. Habib loves this so much. He can really eat this Mac and Cheese many-many times. :) So, I must share the recipe here so that  I can refer back easily whenever I want to cook it. And Habib can also refer here whenever he wants it later when he is a grown up man and missing his Umi's Mac and Cheese. haha

The recipe is:

Makaroni Bakar Extra Cheese
Sumber 1 : DayangJack@DapurKu SaYang
Sumber 2: Dapur Mamasya
Sumber 3: Kak Nita

Bahan-bahan : untuk 4-5 orang makan

2 cawan makaroni + 1 cawan pasta spirals (direbus ala dente* dan toskan)- guna 3 cwn makaroni
150 g minced beef/chicken/seafood
2 ulas bawang putih (dicincang)
1 labu bawang besar (dihiris dadu kecil)
1 tin kecil puri tomato atau 1 botol kecil sos spagetti - kak nita guna Kimball
sedikit sos cili
sedikit sos tomato
sedikit garam
sedikit kiub ayam -kak nita tambah
1 sudu besar mentega
sedikit mixed vegetables (akak tambah)

Sos Putih :
2 cawan susu segar
1 sudu besar mentega
sedikit lada sulah
2 sudu besar tepung gandum (dibancuh dengan sedikit air)
1 slice cheesedale atau 30 g krim keju
sedikit garam dan gula

lain-lain : keju parut dan oregano
mozarella cheese (kak nita tambah)


The reference is: http://jomknitamasak.blogspot.com/2013/10/makaroni-bakar-extra-cheese.html

InsyaAllah this Sunday I will bake one. I'll try to snap some pictures and add in for my next blogpost insyaAllah. 

Till then, Annyeong Haseyo

Friday, October 10, 2014

BULAN KEDUA PHD

Assalamualaikum

Alhamdulillah, without me realising, I am already in my 2nd month of PhD. There are a whole lot of things that I need to learn, as some people like to put it in words "That's why people do PhD in 3 years, so you cannot expect to know everything in 2 weeks". haha.

But, since yesterday, I've been feeling good about doing PhD now. And no need to do work as a lecturer for the time being. The feelings just came. Maybe, it's because I've been reading 2 articles thoroughly that really make me learn new things and ask a lot of things. hehe. Whatever it is, hope it's a good thing for me to keep motivating myself to continue this PhD journey till the end successfully. Amiiin.

Just met my SV. A superb one of course! She never complaints but always encouraging. She will keep answering my questions eventhough she already explained many many many times before. Erkk. Eventhough the feeling of meeting the SV is very scary sometimes because she wants to see me every week and update the progress. Scary tak?? hehe. But, I am so grateful to have her as my SV. So, what's next? Of course-lah, not to dissappoint her and my own self, right? :D

K. Tata for now.
It's my 6th week. Gulp!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

LELAKI TUA BERKAIN PELIKAT BACA AL Q URAN SETIAP KALI LEPAS ASAR SAMPAI MAGHRIB...

Forwarded dari group lain:

Tulisan Dato Roslan Abd Hamid

Saya jumpa lelaki tua ini.. 
Selalu lepas Asar, dia iktikaf di Masjid..
Baca al Quran..
Umur dlm 70an..

Duduk rumah dkt masjid.. 
Rumah agam besar & menarik..
Hartanya di sana sini.. 
Ada bangunan komesil tengah bandar, bernilai dlm RM 35 juta..

Pendapatan pasif kutip sewa dlm RM70k sebln... 
Belanja RM 20k & baki RM50k, dia sedekah & infaq.. 
Dia tenang bersendirian melayani anak cucu..

Saya mahu ambil gambar, tapi dia menolak.. 
Katanya malu..
Saya minta 1 formula, dia berikan 10...

Saya catat & mahu kongsikan..
1. Pertama, dia kata muliakan ibu bapa..
Doa ibubapa adalah segala galanya..
Ia tiada hijab, terus termakbul..
Raikan ibubapa & jaga mereka sepanjang usia.. 
Doakan mereka apabila telah tiada..

2. Jaga masa..
Ia datang & berakhir..
Urus masa antara 5 waktu solat..
Atur kerja dgn sebaik cara.. 
Pada setiap waktu, ada perkara yg kita mulakan..
Berada di masjid, sebelum azan..
Masuk waktu, terus lah solat.. Selepas solat, bertebaran lah berusaha cari rezeki..

3. Berdoa dgn khusyuk.. 
Berserah pada Allah & bertawakal lah.. 
Allah tahu apa yg terbaik utk kita..

4. Namun begitu, kena lah berusaha..
Usaha pagi ptg siang & mlm.. 
Usaha lah bersungguh2.. 
Usaha bermula dgn berniat.. 
Lepas itu buat, sampai dpt.. 
Kalau tak dpt, usaha yg lain pula..
Adakan masa utk baca 
Al-Quran..
Maka dia pun nasihatkan saya..
"Org yg membaca surah Al-Ikhlas satu kali, sama ganjarannya dgn memperolehi ganjaran membaca 1/3 Al-Quran..
Jadi jika membaca surah 
Al-Ikhlas 3 kali, mendpt ganjaran seperti membaca 1 naskah Al-Quran..
Lelaki tua itu berkata, mulut dia tidak berhenti baca surah al Ikhlas..
Kadang2 sampai 1000 kali sehari..

5. Jaga Kesihatan..
Banyak kan berjalan kaki.. 
Banyaknkan minum air masak atau air mineral..
Jaga pemakanan..

6. Hidup kena buat target & kena ada wawasan..
Ikat perut & usah membazir.. 
Makanan & minuman mesti lah dihabiskan..
Usah berlagak org kaya, padahal kita teman pada syaitan..
Sentiasa lah belanja org mkn & minum.. 
Apabila mkn di kedai yg kecil,  perhatikan kebersihan kedai itu..
Apabila bersih masuk.. 
Disitu kita akan temui ramai org susah..
Belanja mereka mkn & minum..

7. Bila waktu maghrib, usah berada di atas jln... 
Apabila dlm perjalanan, berhenti..
Cari lah masjid..
Apabila di rumah, tutup pintu rapat2.. 
Malam, buang sampah sarap.. 
Basuh pinggan mangkuk.. 
Pastikan semua teratur sebelum tidur..
Gunakan waktu antara maghrib & isyak utk tuntut ilmu agama..
Boleh dgr org mengajar.. 
Boleh juga baca kitab..
Lepas Isyak, buat kira2 untung & rugi..
Siapkan bahan utk kerja esok hari..

8. Usah takut jumpa org.. 
Walau pun 5 minit mahu berjumpa., pergi lah sendiri.. 
Usah pakai posmen apabila depani soal penting..
Biar kita merangkak panjat bangunan..
Biarlah kita ambil masa berhari hari perjalanan.. 
Yg penting, sampaikan dgn tgn sendiri..

9. Balik mlm, usah cakap penat, usah cakap letih..
Usah cakap sakit..
Apabila sakit, senyum..
Allah sedang luruhkan dosa.. Lepas sakit, kita akan lagi bertenaga..
Siapakah dlm dunia nie yg tidak pernah rasa sakit, jatuh & dihina..
Semua pernah, termasuk lah Rasulullah SAW.. 
Namun, baginda ajar kita utk maafkan semua org..

10. Niat kan mahu kaya..
Niat kan mahu bantu ramai org.. 
Niat mahu jadi manusia berguna..
Niat itu macam tulis surat.. 
Dulu tiada internet, mcm tulis surat lah..
Salah tulis alamat, akan sampai salah tempatlah surat itu..
Maka tulis alamat betul2.. .

 Share lah digroup lain...ayuh kita istiqamah dlam amalan kebaikan...yang baik jadikan qudwah yang buruk jadikan dakwah...bersama amar maaruf nahi mungkar...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

how do you summarize your literature review?

This article reminds me of Dr Syazwan's teaching. Learned the knowledge but yet to apply it for my PhD. InsyaAllah, will do one and put up here. 

know most of you have your own ways of summarizing the literature review. some of em are quite comprehensive. :) cant compete with that.

what do u hope to achieve with your literature review?
if you're writing a review paper to be published, the comprehensive approach is very tempting. however, if you're using it for the purpose of doing research ie helping you in solving your research problem, or helping you direct your research better then you may not need to list out everything you've read.

so, when should i use this?
inshaaAllah, this technique is okay if you wanna organize the literature review in your MIND. remember, the mind can't really suspend too much facts at one time. so, this approach is more of a lightweight process.

the approach exploits the concept of'layering' in literature review. looking at all the journals, articles etc that u've collected can be a bit overwhelming right? so, we're gonna layer them pretty much like a cake.



how can i do it?
so, how do you do it? remember the acronym I-BRING.
what does it mean? Idea - Basic Related Important New Goal
now, let's take a look at how we can use each of em step by step.

Idea
what's the central idea for your literature review?
first of all, you gotta decide on the main idea that u wanna focus on. this is the central idea of your literature review. supposed u have one and it's all about "driving". so, we're gonna visualize that now. ahh look at that. assume that (faridah, 2010) is the paper that you wanna attach to the idea. so you have the idea in the centre and the ring circling it. wassup with the ring?



Basic 
what's the basic ideas that are related to this main idea?
yeah, once the central idea is clear, try figuring out what are the basic ideas that explain the central idea. when you're doing try your best to stay FOCUS. forget about the new technology and what not. just ask yourself. "what is the basic idea that explains the central idea?" there can be a few, but for the sake of illustration, let's just say that three things are basic to driving. they are... the car you're driving, the cost of driving and finally the traffic. so, you can now update the diagram this way inshaaAllah. ahh that's the first layerof the literature review.



Related
what is related to the basic idea?
now that you have the basic idea etched properly in your mind, along with the key reference, it's time to go to the next step. let's expand it a bit by looking at the ideas that are related to the basic one. Again, try to stay focus when you do this. don't clutter it too much. at most, just take three ideas that are related to the first layer. this would be the second layer. Why are we using the lines to mark the layers? to remind us that we should stay focus in doing the literature review. i know, it's really tempting to talk about 1001 things under the sun when it comes to citing something but again, stay focus!


Important
what are the important ideas for me?
ok, in this step we won'd be adding any more layers yet to the cake, urm.. i mean the literature review. instead, we're gonna accentuate the ideas that are important to our own research. accentuate in the sense that we're gonna make it stand out from the rest. so, to do this, it's important to contemplate, what is it that you're doing for your research? let's say you're doing research on how to exploit the time of driving to save the cost of petrol. can you see how that would affect the pic below?
see that now, all the related ideas are in bold. they are time - traffic - driving - cost - petrol.


New
what are the new things that others are suggesting?
now comes the final layer! the third layer. in this layer you put all the new ideas that are emerging in research. for instance, to save cost of petrol in driving, we could do two things. first, we could work only 4 days a week. going to the office only four days a week instead of 5 or 6 times would save petrol. another alternative is to go to work at non-peak hours, when everyone else is not on the road. this way, there would be less traffic and so inshaaAllah.. less petrol would be consumed. Oh, and notice the question mark inside the idea (?) . it means that the idea is new and is still being explored.



Goal
does the diagram fit your research goal?
the last step is to check the summary you just made for yourself. does it fit your research goal? if it doesn't then you may need a revision. always remember that in summarizing the literature review you need to know two things :
  • what's my goal for research? (the literature review must fit the goal of research)
  • how do i plan to use the summary? (comprehensive one is for writing, this one is for helping you think about research.

anyway, hope it helps. try it out now. you don't need to draw it nicely like the example. it's best to sketch it with a pen and paper. oh, and when you draw it on paper, you don't have to draw the orbits too. just remind yourself that you need to do it in layers ... Basic, Related, Important and New.

if you have any questions, just ask. i'll try to answer if i can inshaaAllah. and if you wanna know the rationale behind the usage of this approach, feel free to do your own research on schema theory, cognitive load theory and radial diagram. 


http://simpler-research.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-do-you-summarize-your-literature.html?m=1

MY PhD JOURNEY STARTED

Assalamualaikum.
Alhamdulillah, I am back and entering my 3rd week of being a student again. And this time, I believe it is more challenging as compared to before. It's PhD. Just spelling it or pronouncing it to others makes me feel so super scared. 

So, recently I had my "Korea Getaway". Haha. No, I didn't spend money, and time to go to Korea. PhD meh? No travelling-travelling lorrr. But, I watched a very beautiful Korean movie entitled "Angel Eyes". Yup! It is just one of the means for me to release my tension. Errkkk PhD! 

Anyway, promising myself. For my next Korean Getaway, I need to work hard, study hard and smart, then only I'll reward myself. Deal ok drnehar? Huhu. 

Why I am babbling here? 
Well, Mr Hubby forced me in a very nice way to start writing again. "Only with writing, we can share knowledge and experience with others" he said. InsyaAllah, after this, I'll write something more "knowledgeable" to be shared here. 

Till then... Tata. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shattering the myth: Raising kids is a stumbling block to pursuing a PhD

Lessons I have learned while working towards my PhD with three young children

Bushra Jamil in the lab at Comsats Institute of Information Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan, where she is pursuing a PhD in nanobiotechnology and microbiologyBushra Jamil in the lab at Comsats Institute of Information Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan, where she is pursuing a PhD in nanobiotechnology and microbiology
The decision to pursue a PhD in science with three little kids was of course a difficult one. When I began my PhD program two years ago, my oldest child was 3 and my youngest just 2 months.

Nonetheless, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Many of us are not audacious enough to take initiative after having kids. We assume that children will be a stumbling block on our way to excel.

However, for many people, children and higher studies are quite manageable simultaneously, though the journey will require more effort, persistence and management. One of the most common reasons people remain reluctant is they believe it would be extremely incommodious. It's very important for us to challenge that perception.

In Pakistan, where gender discrepancy and patriarchal values breathe in every segment – where females are supposed to perform domestic chores even if they are working or pursuing studies – the challenge can be even greater. While married life can be quite demanding, however, being a single mother would be pretty disconcerting as there is low acceptance of single motherhood and single females in general in this society.

Still, despite all odds, the pursuit of higher studies, while simultaneously maintaining a balanced family life, seems viable for many women. Here, I will share my personal experience and some lessons I have learned.

First of all, what actually prompted me to go for higher studies? It was none other than a realization that despite all efforts, I was not meeting the expectations of my in-laws as a sought-after bahu(daughter in-law) for a host of reasons. This realization deepened when I was taunted for my slipshod management of household chores despite all sincere efforts.

Here I realized that for my whole life, I would be judged by standards of societal norms, many of them defined under the influence of a semi-literate and tribal culture.

So I thought to venture into an arena where I can excel and display my real talents.

Still, thinking of how unmanageable it could be to pursue studies with kids was unnerving, and it took me five years to take this initiative. However, after tasting its real joy, I regret the time I had wasted in dilly-dallying. So my personal experience ultimately convinced me of the viability of higher studies, particularly if one has the positive mind to contribute something meaningful to his family and society as well.

Moreover, research also suggests that working women are less vulnerable to depression. Similarly, achieving a career goal and contributing to household income also gives them a sense of empowerment and confidence which some stay-home mums may lack.

Here are the most important things I learned.

Evaluate the options: maids or babysitters vs. daycare centers

Bushra Jamil's children (left to right): Muhammad Hassaan Sarmad, Muhammad Talha Hassan and Fatima SirajBushra Jamil's children (left to right): Muhammad Hassaan Sarmad, Muhammad Talha Hassan and Fatima Siraj
After deciding to pursue a PhD, the first thing I had to work out was how my children would be looked after in my absence. I had two choices; one, to put them in a day care center, and second, to arrange a maid to stay at home with them.

In considering options for day care centers, I thoroughly evaluated their location, fee structure, pick-up and drop-off options, timing as it would relate to my on-campus engagements and, of course, quality of service. Ultimately, I chucked this option as it was really inopportune to displace a two months old baby keeping in mind weather adversity too.

Ultimately I settled for arranging a maid for my kids at home. Luckily, the amount I would have paid a day care center turned out to be sufficient for the monthly salary of a maid. Most importantly, by managing kids at home, my workload got curtailed to almost half as then I was not displacing my youngest one, as maid was there to look after my infant in my absence and was performing domestic chores too.

Likewise, I was not worried about who would attend to my other two children after school. Fortunately, the availability and affordability of maids was one of the biggest advantages of the Pakistani environment. In fact, here even the average household, employs domestic help of some sort, and with a slight increase in salary, one can promote a babysitter to a full-time servant who is responsible for household chores as well as taking care of your children.

Kids are not an encumbrance; they are the best part of a PhD.

Believe me, kids are not a liability; they have turned out to be my asset, rocking my PhD assignments with them. As a PhD program can be long and very tedious at times, so children are like zephyr in this journey, their smiles and hugs like a panacea. At the end of the day, they act as an anodyne.

Persistence pays.

Nothing in this world can be a substitute for persistence. Persistency has remained the key to my success in all my PhD assignments. Indubitably, a PhD being a long-term project demands it at the highest level. Once you have decided to pursue it, stick to it. Don't let it go while dealing with the trivial daily problems of life. Problems are the part of life you should learn to overcome.

Safeguard against negative people.

Studies with kids made me more conscious of my time management and also taught me a good lesson: Negative people either in family or society are not only the source of demotivation but also veritable time-killers. The best plan is to keep busy. Negative people exude negativity, and your whole energy will be consumed by nullifying their negativity or arguing with them, so please distance yourself and save your precious time.

Pursuing a PhD is far better than doing a job.

It's easier to raise children while pursuing a PhD that while working a typical job. PhD hours tend to be flexible, giving you more space to adjust your activities. In most jobs, you are required to follow a rigid schedule – no excuses. In a PhD program, you have more flexibility to adjust your schedule. Even during coursework, you can opt for those classes that suit your timetable. For me, pursuing a PhD turned out to be a passionate hobby, so I personally felt revitalized when I stepped into this world. The sense of doing something creative was itself highly rejuvenating.

Raising children teaches you to avoid procrastination.

For me, having kids had several benefits. I don't allow myself to be consumed with minor crises and daily drama. It has also dissuaded me from spending hours in chatting about random topics or gossiping. Studies with kids keep you focused on learning, and you get your work done in a limited amount of time.  

It makes you punctual.

Punctuality always put me in good stead and brought discipline to my life. When you have to manage many things simultaneously, nothing can be more rewarding than punctuality. It takes away unnecessary troubles and languor. That is exactly what punctuality is all about, and I personally feel more punctual after venturing into a PhD program while having three little kids. So it has made me realize that when you get up in time and do things at the appointed time, only then will the situation be under good control.

Happy married life is a bulwark against the odds.

"Being married is the nicest thing to be." A positive and healthy marriage will safeguard you against many odds and troubles of life. It provides an environment that is devoid of despondency, deprivation and apprehensions. A good, supportive husband can make your PhD journey wonderful by decorating it with glorious memories. Of course, married life is not always a bed of roses, and at times one feel more burdened by having the responsibility of another adult child – but no doubt it's a blessing.

Don't feel guilty for not being a best mum.

At times, I have felt like failure on both fronts. But when I observed around me, I found the children of working mothers are often more confident and more perceptive. Some psychologists also believe that working mothers are more affectionate with their children, perhaps because they want to make up for the time they spend at work. Truly, it's all the quality time you spend with your child, not the quantity. At times you will feel that your kids are being neglected, but nature gives you lessons at that point; birds leave their nestlings in the nest when there is no one to take care of them but they have to. Otherwise, the nestlings will die of hunger. Likewise, the sacrifice of mums will be a matter of pride for the progeny when they will see their mums with doctoral degrees and contributing something valuable to the family and society at large.


Elsevier Connect Contributor

Bushra JamilBushra Jamil
Bushra Jamil is pursuing her PhD in Nanobiotechnology and Microbiology at Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Islamabad Campus, in Pakistan. Previously, she earned her pharmacy degree from theUniversity of the Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan, and later completed her M.Phil in Microbiology at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

She has more than seven years of practical work experience in various disciplines of pharmacy and has taught at the university level. Her scientific interests include microbiology, antibiotic production, and designing pharmaceutical dosage forms and drug delivery systems. She is particularly interested in nano-delivery of antibiotics as a tool to combat antimicrobial resistance, which is her primary PhD research topic.



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