21 Oktober 2016

why i am taking a phd - and pursue an academic career

fyi, this post will be personal. i am not trying to encourage (nor decourage, lol) anyone to pursue an academic career - this is totally personal. oh, and i am writing in between reading papers, my head's pretty heavy right now so i need some refreshments.

refreshments, lol - googled the image

ok, now! question: why am i taking a phd - at this very stage of life?

quick answer, because i want to pursue an academic career. i'll elaborate within the next stages on this post so bear with me.

ok, why academic?

good question, long story.

i'm a type of person who hates it when time is being wasted. easiest way of time wasted: commuting. i grew up in jakarta and i witness the increasing amount of time wasted by commuting from time to time - it sucks. i am lucky enough to experience other cities during my studies such as, of course, bandung, also jogja, surabaya, and semarang so i kinda know how i do have MORE time outside of jakarta - even in surabaya, this very busy city.

this. is. jakarrtttaaaaaaa!!! - googled the image

this might sound whiny to jakartans - especially to my mom, lol - because jakartans might not realize just how much time they have wasted en route. quick example, i did work in jakarta in early 2013 and i needed like, 3-4 hours a day only to commute. i worked for about 5-6 months, so just calculate yourself, how much time have i been wasted, again, only to commute. that's just crazy.

at some point, i do adore my friends who can truly bear with this condition: sleeping 3-4 hours a day (sometimes 2), still manage to go to the gym (since they are also able to afford it), hanging out and having quality time with friends and family, etc. and still doing that 3-4 hours commute everyday. by themselves, driving mostly. but working for companies...... does not attract me that much. in term of money, of course they're very interesting (verrryyyyy), but again, i won't have that much quality time, at least with myself, and i hate it.

so it came to my mind that, i need to have a job that will require me to grow, but still have quality time to do other things. ever heard the 8-8-8 balance? 8 hours work, 8 hours sleep, 8 hours for anything else. this is utopia, i know, but it is possible to engineer our life approximately to that very balance. i have this whole stuff in my mind throughout my undergrad while still happily munching all the knowledge and camaraderie between my colleagues until at some point, i realize that, i love teaching!

such a nice image, eh? this is totally how i feel about teaching - it requires learning - and you will learn even more by teaching - googled the image

i love teaching because it made me a better student. you know, when you read something, you'll get like 50% of what you read, but when you finally can tell the thing that you read to someone else (i.e. teach), you'll get to the beautiful 90%! again, utopia, i know. but i witness that by being an academia, you'll allow yourself to grow because science is actually always moving forward. like, always. that's why there's always a bunch of conferences, published papers, even debates because what people knew 100 years ago as 'true' can always be 'defeated' by a new finding(s) and it could be the other way around!

finally, i get to the point when i said to myself: this is the track. if i wanna be good at something, this is it. i didn't know what area i'd like to have a focus in just yet (honestly, even till now), but teaching, and to this point, researching, is the main thing i wanna do in the future. i want this to be my job.

and of course, teaching allows me to live outside jakarta, as the only institute i'd like to apply (so far) is not located in jakarta ;) so the 3-4 hours commute, hopefully, could be shrinked into some 1-2 hours/day. already save some big time.

now let's go back to the first question: why phd? why now?

well, long story, again, but i'll try to keep it short.

academic life is so different with professional one. professionals based their knowledge on experiences, while academicians based their knowledge on other people's experiences. why? because their time span is so different.

professionals work in a company, where everything roles rapidly. you get from projects to projects within short months, quick deadlines, similar problems, but mostly in professional life, you need to manage your time (and your team's time) in order to finish a project. a project, in what i have experienced so far, would only last like 3-6 months. never really reached 1 year, so it is possible for you to work on different projects at the same time because, well, they're normally similar. differences only found in like, study area, data acquisition problems, etc. etc.

while academicians have reallly long time span. producing 2 papers/year (as a first author) is already a crazy thing, because you're examining something that no one ever examined before - or at least you're examining the same stuff with different approach. this could take months, even years, to actually come into conclusions. that's why, scientists mostly based their findings with published journals - are their findings make sense? is there any anomalies observed? what would be the impact of these findings? because finally, it is the impact of your finding that matters - the finding should make everything makes more sense, which will lead us to new ways problem solving. new ways, yes, i must say.

meaning, academic life is so much more tiring and long than professional. that is why, i need to start as early as possible. the earlier i can get my head to this, the more productive i will be in the future - i am also a slow learner so starting early will give me such advantage ;p so, if i only start a phd life after like, 3-5 years in industry, you can imagine how much time i have 'wasted' solving repetitive problems rather than solving 'new' problems. also, this is why the industry sometimes still needs academia - for solving non-repetitive problems ;)

this comic is purrrrfect! lol - found it here

so yeah, i am now enjoying the sufficient amount of time i have, not only to build my academic career, but also to invest myself in other things such as cooking, doing exercises (my late-20s body feels totally different than during my early-20s so exercise is a must), etc. seems busy? it is, but actually the time for cooking and exercising came from the 'unwasted' 2-3 hours/day commuting since i only need about 1 hour/day to commute. see what i mean? ;)

but overall, whatever you do, do it with your heart. sounds cheesy but, anything (academia, professional, entrepreneur, politicians, etc. etc.) will be worth it if you do that sincerely. i love what i do and will continue the way i do, whatever it takes. just, pray for me so that i still have the guts to stand up when i got down, lol. have a great day!

ps: i think at some stage i did write something like this hmmmmm... whatever i'll check it out later.
pps: time enjoyed is never a time wasted...... so lying in your bed doing nothing is NOT wasted, since you enjoy it ;p so if you do love commuting, i don't think your very time is wasted. yes, you're welcome.

15 Oktober 2016

new life(s) vs settlement

it's always interesting to start a new life. well, the whole life i've been moving in and out here and there. packing and arranging stuff has always been an addiction of mine, kind of? since i graduated from elementary school, my life is always moving: i have never stayed in the same place for more than 3 years from then. moving from one 'kosan' to another counts yak ;p

dari sana gw mulai bisa memilah, mana yang esensial mana yang bisa ditemukan di mana saja. mana yang disimpan mana yang dibuang. pada akhirnya gw menyadari, puji syukur, barang gue memang tidak pernah sebanyak itu. i have a relatively small room, also small groceries and food placements in my house - because it is shared - yet i always manage to leave some space in each of them, yeay!

but as you grow old, the need for settlement itu ga bisa dipungkiri. instead of jumping from places to places, like i did best when i was doing my masters degree, i'd like to just stay in one place where i have everything there. in the weekends, instead of doing any activities outside - even in another city - i would only like to wake up late, have a good breakfast/lunch, read 2-5 pages of a book that has been left out while warming up the prepared meal, shop for groceries or other home needs, boring stuff. but i feel really good about it. i enjoy it, a lot.

this is how i cook now! i prepare five packages of meals for 1-1.5 hour cooking so it saves BIG time.

i still do 'crazy undergrad' stuff like joining a performance group, - i finally joined pantomime, it's not mime, it's a british kind of comedy theatre - though i'm only gonna be in the ensemble, lol. i joined bhangra dance society, as i have told you before. we have exercise every friday night for about 1-1.5 hour. i also joined the yoga society, though till now i have never joined any of the classes, next week would be cool lol. so some 4-6 hours/week i dedicate to these fun stuff. i mean come on, it's not even 1 hour/day in average. i'm not wasting my time or anything.

i refrained from joining 'extreme' groups like caving, hiking, orienteering, those groups i normally have my eyes on (and i DID have my eyes on them, totally). but in the end, at least till now, i'm not joining. i think this 25-year-old self started to like being indoor and how i truly enjoy the 'rumah tangga' life of preparing meals and washing the dishes more than i did during my undergrad and masters. we have turns on cleaning the bathroom, sweeping the floors, buying cleaning liquids, etc. and guess what, i enjoy my turn a lot, lol.

so hmm.. mungkin settlement itu merupakan sesuatu yang.... ujung"nya manusia cari. but it's not that i'm now prepared to get married or something, nooooo. gw masih jauh dari siap untuk menikah dan berkeluarga tbh ;p namun diri gw yang lunjak" ini sendiri seakan udah minta sama raga gw yang memang staminanya sudah berbeda: "gab, tone down a bit, will you?"

bonus: another bhangra class, yaaay! i messed up by the end, was out of breath, lol.

14 Oktober 2016

what i did last week!

BHANGRA DANCE! totally going again tonite, can't wait :D

12 Oktober 2016

badan saya remuk, remuk!!

i need my 21-years-old energy and body back. huft.

ah, ya. saya baru beres menstruasi. pantas.

10 Oktober 2016

getting motivated

heyya! this is how they greet people here.

this week has been crazy. all new stuff coming in and out, new style of living, new 'life hacks' to survive, and of course, just a pinch of spontaneity. maybe even more. much more.

i had a school induction on monday until 2 pm, i guess? i met quite some people, had my desk, loving the 'tea with milk' culture too much as it is how i drink tea regularly in the office or at home (well, with creamer actually, not 'real' milk). then i went to the library to look for reference books, as told by one of my supervisors, went home, cook some food, and went to the Christian students union 'equip' at 8 pm. the equip was nice, i had a chat with new people, and relieved that, not only undergrads were there, yaay!

tuesday i was overwhelmed. i was really tired and ended up only going to the supermarket to buy groceries. then went back home and get another rest. i think i just got exhausted and needed a break. big break.

chaaaarrrrrr (sad voice) image i googled ;p

wednesday was crazy. i went to one MSc. in exploration geophysics class, they had matlab tutorials for about 3 hours that day (i only went for 2). it was cool actually, i got refreshed and learned some new cool tricks! the reason why i only went there for 2 hours instead of 3 was because i went to one MSc. in geology with geophysics class. the only reason i went was because it was one of my supervisor's class. hmm, not really sure of going to this class all the way, but i'll try to go for a couple of this classes more. it was a 3 hour-class, but yea, i only went for 2. oh, i went to my desk and got to know the people next to mine. good thing is, they have free tea in the office, nice huh!

thursday, i went to another exploration class in the morning, and read on my desk afterwards. i stayed up till 8 pm, i guess? what i was reading was reaaalllyyy coool! exactly the thing i have wanted to learn since... i don't know when! so the time went by pretty quickly. i went home and did some other work.

friday, exhaustingggggggg. i had another induction, this time it's faculty induction. up to 2:30 pm, and there was an open seminar from an utrecht researcher about numerical modelling of the earth's layers at 3 pm, so cool. crazy cool. but i thanked God over and over again that i cancelled doing THAT kind of thing as my PhD project. that's too crazy, will never be finished. period. so i got back to my desk by 4, read again, finished the pages that i wanted to finish (even more, yeay!), and randomly plunged myself to a BHANGRA CLASS.

that, up there, you guys, is how bhangra looks like. SO MUCH FUN and my shoulders hurt like crazy :''') the funny thing about bhangra is: you HAVE to SMILE aaaallll the way :''') they did record our rehearsal, but i don't know if they'll ever upload it, or share it in any way. but i will definitely join this 'leeds bhangra society' so i will be able to dance this super fun punjabi folk dance every friday night! at the uni!

saturday was nice. i woke up late, had some chat with my roommates, did some home shopping, washed my clothes, cooked using the 'multiple meals' trick and yes it saved me BIG time. so much win. and continued the work from thursday.

sunday, err..... i woke up late for a church :'') i was supposed to try 2 churches this day: gatewayleeds.net and www.cecleeds.co.uk but i woke up so late that i could only did one service, lol. it was the second one, and it was quite nice. i met one person that i chatted with in the Christian students equip on Monday, and turns out she's in the English and Theatre studies! i told her that i was in a 'not-so-serious' theatre group and she told me to take a look at the 'Theatre Group' aka TG in the uni. it's a group that i have not yet considered, because there are soooo many theatre groups even in the uni! this TG thing, turns out, run plays that are 'not that musical' and sometimes they write the play themselves!

so, as you've all guessed, i googled this TG and found out that they're having audition tomorrow :') i don't know what i am thinking right now but i am sooo keen of joining. they're only auditioning for 7 characters tho, and so far there will be like, 50 people auditioning. me, i just want the experience! you know, the warming ups, the readings, acting with groups, oh God!

i've already had monday and tuesday all-planned, tomorrow's gonna be nuts. thank God i still have prepared lunch in the fridge, lol. wish me luck on tonight's quest before bed: werk.
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