My Postgraduate Journey

I’m overwhelmed with pride and joy as I write this, even days after my convocation ceremony, months even, since I actually completed my postgraduate studies circa early June. Well, I have very solid reasons why I am singing praises for myself (this could be a good thing, no?).

Why I Signed Up for Postgraduate Studies?

Let me begin with why I signed up for a Master’s course. You see, I was not beaming with satisfaction as much during my convocation in UTP. I wasn’t graduating with the best of CGPA, and I wasn’t proud of where I stood. I have always taken pride being an academically accomplished student – and that sort of scarred my spirit. I had to correct that, before I moved on to better things (or so I thought). So, I did not overthink about starting my masters to heal Little-Miss-Achiever in me. She needed to know that she could do better and deep down she knew she was better. I went with Environmental Engineering, mostly because it made sense at that time – I was working as an Environmental Engineer, and I kind of liked the subjects during my final year major. I thought I wasn’t ready for a MBA.

The Journey Itself

You see, my journey completing this postgraduate studies within three semesters wasn’t an easy one. I had a full-time job in an MNC and tutored part-time, three nights a week. I did a mixed-mode Masters, so that meant I had both classes and dissertation to complete. Sometimes, I had classes from eight in the morning to six in the evening, on Sundays. I was doing this to prove my worth, so I wasn’t about to sail along classes just enough to graduate. I had to be at my best. Needless to say, it was exhausting. Some days I felt like not doing anything and sleep all day. I helped increase sale of Pringles, McDonalds and Goodday Honey Flavoured Milk (this is so good!). I also had a few cry baby episodes at home. I got touchy at the slightest comment. I was always whining about how tired I was to my mum, and justified my weight gain with tears. That was all the worse parts.

The better parts came when I was once again the sought-after person for assignments, and when my results came each semester. I am being extremely honest here, that was my high. I went on this journey wanting so badly to prove to myself (who am I kidding, also to others) that I was as capable as I pictured myself to be. It wasn’t all about CGPA or being smart per say, it was my redemption. I started this journey with a wrong mindset, I guess. But I ended it on a different note, with a refreshed sense of confidence, self-worth and desire to learn. Okay, maybe the desire to learn was extra because I paid for every credit hour with my hard-earned money and I made sure to make full use of every Ringgit. I enjoyed the assignments (although I was almost always doing it last minute – #somethingsneverchange). I enjoyed the discussions, insightful conversations with my classmates and lecturers. Kind words from my close knits refueled my energy and enthusiasm. It kept me going (one of the things).

That, and the constant nagging pep talk from The Mister who can be both a Sweet Angel or a Nasty Uncle. Here’s an anecdote that’ll help explain my previous statement. On the final days of my thesis submission, I was a complete mess. I had gone two days without sleep and was on leave to complete my thesis write-up. I was constantly calling The Mister (even when he was at work) and I cried about how tired I was and complained that the thesis ‘is not finishing’. I told I was going to extend for another semester – he was all nice and motivating, until at one point I got yelled at. He told me to either do it or extend the damn semester – stop whining (not his exact words, but you get the idea laa).

I drove to Starbucks in Petronas Solaris Serdang, bought two drinks, redeemed another AND completed my thesis write up. I had to pay extra for same-day binding and submitted my thesis 6 hours later than the deadline. You see, sometimes all we need is a little (or aggressive) push. Lucky (in this case) for me, The Mister seems to have found a complete operation manual on how I work. He succeeds, almost all the time (it doesn’t work when it comes to getting me be healthy, hahaaaa!).

A year and half equivalent to three semesters later, I was done! I graduated with a 3.73 CGPA, presented in a conference and got the Best Paper Award. I had left my previous job on the last week of final examination, which was a carefully engineered break for myself. I am glad that I went on this journey – and I am more than glad that it gave me countless opportunities – to meet the right people, to learn beyond academics and to make my parents (and close knits) proud of me.

Disclaimer: This write up may seem like I’m self-bragging, but I assure you that wasn’t my intention. I’d love to keep my trumpets in the closet, but I really feel like I owe it to myself, to be proud of me, and share this story in the honest possible manner.

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Almost exact representation of my emotions completing this journey. 😛

 

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