Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's my birthday? Oh gosh

Today is my birthday. Oh my god I'm numerically getting older. Don't feel old though. So doesn't really matter. I feel great. My health has improved ten fold since i've shed an excess weight of 14 kg over the last two years by maintaining a balanced diet ( i'm not kidding). I managed to keep it off which makes me even more proud of myself. I've even managed to keep my new year resolution so far this year. I know it's just April but i've never actually kept one this far.

What's my new year's resolution. A change of lifestyle - healthier lifestyle spiritually, physically, and mentally that is. I wanted to kick the rest of my bad habits for example sleeping too much (check). I wanted to get to my lab early in the morning and start work early (so far so good). I wanted to reach 60 kg by april (well came close...61kg). My target weight is 55 kg. So wish me luck.

Another reason that i'm happy is that i managed to get a scholarship for my PhD studies. Yea for me. I'm working on a grant for my research (wish me luck again). My research is progressing really well. So, I LOVE my life so far. I'm happy. Alhamdulillah.

Sorry, if i'm kinda annoying some of you reading this entry. It's not that my life is a relaxing walk in the park. I've had my share of ups and downs. But the ups have been more than the downs and I'm thankful for that.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ph.D Advice

I found these quotes while surfing the net. I believe these quotes to be very true and it makes me feel that I’m on the right track. People keep telling me to do my Ph.D overseas. It seems that they think a Ph.D research done overseas is better than if done locally. I myself think that research can be done anywhere. All you need is to be resourceful and to know how to motivate yourself because no one other that you yourself is going to do it.

Even though I’m doing my Ph.D locally (in Malaysia) and not somewhere overseas, I found that I could relate to what Ronald T. Azuma was saying in his website. He was a postgraduate student but is now working with a tech company in the US. He was explaining what a postgraduate student, especially a Ph.D student should know and expect before embarking on the arduous journey to that coveted Ph.D title. So, if I could relate to what he said then that means what I’ve been doing has some similarity to what he went through during his postgraduate years.

For those people who just happen to read this post and are seriously contemplating postgraduate studies then read the quotes below then go visit Ronald T. Azuma’s site at . He provides some good advice for those aspiring to pursue their Ph.D

"Being a graduate student is like becoming all of the Seven Dwarves. In the beginning you're Dopey and Bashful. In the middle, you are usually sick (Sneezy), tired (Sleepy), and irritable (Grumpy). But at the end, they call you Doc, and then you're Happy."

- Ronald T. Azuma -

“People judge a recently graduated Ph.D. by his or her research, not by his or her class grades. What you learn in a Ph.D. program comes outside of classes: from doing research on your own, attending conferences, and talking to your fellow students. Success in graduate school does not come from completing a set number of course units but rather from successfully completing a research program.”

- Ronald T. Azuma -

Excelling in a Ph.D. program requires different skills than doing well in undergrad. Undergraduate education tests you through class projects (that do not last more than a semester), midterms and finals. For the most part, you work alone. Your professor may not know your name. Every other student in your class takes the same tests or does similar projects. But in a Ph.D. program, you must select and complete a unique long-term research program. For most of us, this means you have to learn how to do research and all that entails: working closely with your professors, staff and fellow students, communicating results, finding your way around obstacles, dealing with politics, etc.

- Ronald T. Azuma -

"The IQ test was invented to predict academic performance, nothing else. If we wanted something that would predict life success, we'd have to invent another test completely."
- Robert Zajonc

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity."

- Louis Pasteur

You don't need to be a genius to earn a Ph.D. (although it doesn't hurt). But nobody finishes a dissertation without being tenacious. A dissertation usually takes a few years to complete. No one can tell you in advance exactly how long the dissertation will take, so it's hard to see where the "end of the road" lies. You will encounter unexpected problems and obstacles that can add months or years to the project. It's very easy to become depressed and unmotivated about going on. If you are not tenacious about working on the dissertation, you won't finish.

- Ronald T. Azuma -

To my fellow postgraduate students, I wish you good luck. I hope this year will be a good year for all your academic aspirations.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Finn is back with Mclaren

It is with absolute and overwhelming relieve that I tell all you Mclaren Fans that Heiki Kovalainen, a Finn, has joined the Mclaren Mercedes F1 team. Buh-bye Alonso, never liked you even when you were with renault. I say good riddance because he didn't work well with the team and this caused a lot of problems. Even though he seem to do well in the drivers championship. But things were not well in Mclaren. At one point it seems that he wasn't even on speaking terms with team boss Ron Dennis.

Mclaren has just never been the same since the last Finn driver on the team left and joined Ferrari. I'm talking of course about Kimi. Mclaren needs its Finnish drivers. When Hakkinen left Mclaren, the team was already starting to slip down the constructor's standing, but Kimi provided new hope for the team. Mclaren didn't shoot towards the top when Kimi joined the team but at least he made them stay afloat and everyone in the team worked well together.

When Kimi left Mclaren, it looked as though Mclaren was doing well. Then the spying controversy came out and showed that Mclaren just fell apart in terms of teamwork. When I say 'fell apart', I'm talking about the team and not Hamilton. Mclaren just lost the ability to work as a team thus making them weaker and probably contributed to the need of getting confidential information on Ferrari. If they were better at working together I'm sure Hamilton would have been way ahead of the other drivers in the drivers' championship and there would have been no need for stupid ferrari information. Thank god Hamilton was cool-headed enough to ignore all those negative things and drive himself up the ranks. That at least was something to be happy about. Other than that last year was a dismal year for Mclaren's reputation and a shaky year in terms of teamwork.

As I said, last season was very dissapointing for me. I had to get over the fact that Kimi left Mclaren and joined, of all teams, Ferrari. I still can't get over it actually. I can't ever support him as long as he stays in Ferrari. Then the ugly spying controversy that stripped Mclaren of all their points happened. But thankfully this did not strip Hamilton of his points. I must say I was shocked over that piece of nasty news. Maybe even dissapointed at Mclaren.

But I'm a very loyal person so I'm going to stick with Mclaren. I hope they can make up or recover from that big smear on their name and maybe even win the constructor's and driver's title next season. I didn't watch that much F1 last season because of the reasons that i've stated. It was just too disappointing, even though Hamilton slightly made up for it by his brilliant performance. Now that all the nasty business is behind them, I'm looking forward to watching all the GP's this year. I'm hoping Mclaren will step up to the plate and beat ferrari and renault's asses errrrr....... I mean tail wings.

I feel relieved now that Alonso has left Mclaren and is back with renault. I'm hoping that the Hamilton-Kovalainen combination will be as strong or even stronger that the Hakkinen-Coulthard team of the past. Now those two made Mclaren a team to be reckoned with. They worked well together and enjoyed a healthy competitive relationship within the team. As far as I know (meaning since I started to have an interest in F1), they were one of longest drivers to stay together in one team.