Why taking PhD?


A few days ago, I went out my lab mates for dinner. Along the way, I got to talk with one of them, a rather interesting conversation. At first it was, you know, just a small talks, like what you were doing before grad school, I heard you were traveling somewhere before and blablabla. At one point, I got to ask him what he is planning to do after having his master degree. He said, firmly, I’m going to doctoral course. I was like, ‘what?!’.

Were it another day, I wouldn’t have been so interested in his answer. But it was the day I felt overwhelmed with all these study thingies that I had completely no confidence in me finishing the degree, I wonder why someone like him is thinking to go for one. I mean, he’s nice and smart and everything, he’s just… well, let’s say a phd degree wouldn’t suit him, or so I thought.

So I asked him why. Why would he want to enter doctoral course. What would he expect from the degree. What would he plan to do next. His answer was simple. He said, ‘because I’m curious (about my study topic), and I want to know more. A doctoral course would be the right place where I can learn more about it.’

I thought, hmm.. if only my answer is that simple. Or maybe, I am too busy looking at the other side of the fence, that I don’t enjoy my research life as others do? Maybe, I am too busy planning my next move, too eager to get away from my student status, that I rarely see the enjoyable and fun sides of doing research?

Well, I hope you don’t feel the same way. I always believe in doing things that I enjoy and enjoying things that I do will bring me a blissful life. I can’t believe I’m living my life the other way around. Maybe that’s why I feel so stressed out, trying to sort things out in my research. Wish me luck, I just need to hang in here for, well, 6 more months.

اَللَّهُمَّ انْفَعْنِيْ بِمَا عَلَّمْتَنِيْ وَعَلِّمْنِيْ مَا يَنْفَعُنِيْ وَزِدْنِيْ عِلْمًا

“Ya Allah, berikanlah manfaat kepadaku dengan apa-apa yang Engkau ajarkan kepadaku, dan ajarkanlah aku apa-apa yang bermanfaat bagiku dan tambahkanlah ilmu kepadaku.” Hadits Shahih. Diriwayatkan oleh at-Tirmidzi no. 3599 dan Ibnu Majah no. 251, 3833 dari Abu Hurairah)

Photo Description: it was my friend, Kyoko, who came all the way from Laos to join my fieldwork in Surabaya, to study what I’m interested in. I figure if she’s interested in my study, why aren’t I? -16 Dec 2010. (I know I need her release to publish this photo, but I’m sure she’ll see this as a compliment from me, right K?)


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