Friday, March 18, 2016

The "Methodology" stage

Hello everyoneeeee!! Been super hectic this couple of weeks. just arrived from Kucing, shall blogged about it soon. Of course, after I'm done with my umrah post in Makkah, catching uppp catching upp.. haha.

Right now, I'm preparing for my talk on "How I finish my PhD in 3 years part time"; another invitation to fulfilled. So, I thought of sharing what I did during my Methodology stage :)

1. Focus

First key point of the day is.. focus. How easy does it sound, right? But really, you need to train yourself to focus during this stage. Because we tend to do our experiment in a lab. And my lab, is filled with fun girls and we always have something to talk about.. or something fun to do. What fun things to do in the lab, you asked?

I am very easy to please. Give me an Instagram and credit card and the girls to motivate me to buy, walla! There goes a day worth of research. And I'm so into blogging by the way.. and facebook.. gosh so many distractions ok!

So, what I do.. I imagine myself in a big bubble. The moment I start with my experiments, I shut the whole world away. Slowly but surely, the method works, so my friends began to ignore me the moment they saw me with my PhD toys.

2. Determination

How cliche, right? The above statement. But you know it's really true. Once, I'm stuck for months figuring something up. I did not know if I ever would get out of it. I even drafted a letter to quit my PhD. Aaanddd that's when I cashed in my "in case briefcase and somehow I keep going. Looking back.. really, I would forever regret if I did send out that letter.

3. Publish papers

Excerpt from my thesis

Publish as many papers as you can. That literature review, preliminary results, don't let it go to waste. You need those papers not only to impress your examiners, but also for you to gain more confidence.

Sometimes, we think the preliminary results are not worthy, but it's ok. Just try to get it published anyway. I started my PhD in 2010, and I sent out my preliminary result to an IEEE conference, and I got awarded with best paper award. Imagine if I have not sent it out because I thought it is just "preliminary results", I would have let my work goes to waste.

By the end of my 3 years of PhD; I have published 7 journals and 9 conference papers. Mostly from my preliminary results; so start writing and be confident in your results.

4. Exhibition

Try to participate in any exhibition. I led 2 projects for ITEX using my PhD, one in 2012 and the other in 2013, where I was awarded a gold and a silver respectively.

This is important for you to again, impress the examiner. Secondly to build your name.

When I went for ITEX, I would normally go around, mingle with those in the same field as mine, and distribute my name cards to almost everybody I met. The thing is you want to make people familiar with your name, in case they are one of your future examiners, they will be like, "Yeah.. I've heard her name before" kinda thing. To generate  good first impression to them.

5. Stop

Why is it even a key point? It is because, many times we are not confident enough to stop with our methodology and move on because we think that it is simply not good enough. Not worthy to get a PhD. My advice is, if your examiner said it is PhD material already, supported by a second opinion, in my case; my co-supervisor, stop and start thinking of your thesis.