Here are what happened during 2019:
- I was rejected by first and second choice of PhD advisor in NUS. I learned that just being capable is not good enough inside competitive university. There are politics of favoring of choosing students from same culture of the professor (Chinese professors prefer Chinese student) and also that faculty prefer to choose students who have career inspiration as a faculty and choosing full-time PhD. Faculty like younger and single students who can be molded as will and do overtime as they wish for doing exploratory experiments. Older and married PhD student like me is treated like second-class citizen.
- I need to relearn everything from scratch since the interest of my 3rd advisor is related to machine learning but my background is mostly security, systems and program analysis. Doing 6-8 online courses while doing work as research assistant for continuous 3-4 working days is not funny.
- I and my wife took vacation to Medan, her hometown. It has been a while since I visited places other than Jakarta and Bandung. It was decent experience as we went to Lake Toba, Samosir island, my wife’s former village, chapel on the top of the hill called Salib Kasih and the tomb of my wife’s deceased father (who was unfortunately passed away around 2-3 days before our wedding).
- My wife finally got pregnant but she has very difficult pregnancy and lost 7 kg on three weeks, got hospitalized three times (In Changi General Hospital, KK Hospital, and Regency Hospital). I am supposed to do my qualifying exam around October but my personal condition, the need to relearn everything from scratch, and heavy RA’s workload not allowing me to complete my QE. Additionally, my RA project was supposed to end on Sep 2019, so I may not have enough money to pay school fee. So, I decided to suspend my PhD programme for one semester.
- But I stroked jackpot and my experiment somehow produced publishable result so my PI was interested and extended my contract for another 3 months. Somehow, after reiterating the experiment again and again, the result kept becoming better and better. And just a couple of days ago, my PI (who rejected me as his PhD student) said it was OK for me to include my work in his project to my QE.
- Family quarrel related to space issue and sharing common property is very nasty thing. People that are supposed to obtain property only after inheriting it acting as if it is a mortal sin for letting member of one’s family living there with the permission of property owner -.-. Additionally, financial transparency and expectation is one of the most important thing to be discussed before marriage. Community feedback is important for you to readjust your stance with your spouse and vice versa.
- Regular prayer and worship to God, proper sleep, healthy dietary habit, exercise, keeping in touch with your closest friends is important to keep your sanity as the drama of life is reaching its peak when you are around 30 years old.
- Interest, attraction and passion will fade but commitment, patience and perseverance will always prevail in the long term.