Friday, 14 June 2013

Tips: Meeting Your Supervisor


There were couple of times of having a meeting with my supervisor since I am a new student. A simple tips for myself (especially) to aware during upcoming meetings as following:


  • Provide a discussion document: send something to your supervisors a week before the meeting (this can be a progress report, a study plan, a critique of the literature you’ve been reading, an annotated bibliography, data, a draft conference paper – whatever represents what you’re working on). Having something concrete to discuss always helps, and preparing something can be a good way to focus your thinking. Bring copies of the discussion document to the meeting.
  • Provide key publications: send copies of papers you consider to be seminal to your supervisors in advance of the meeting, particularly if you wish to discuss them. Make sure the full citation is marked on the copy. Providing papers is a courtesy you can do your supervisor, and having them on hand can facilitate discussion.
  • Show up on time: if you’re late, bring sin-offerings, such as chocolate biscuits.
  • Write down your objectives: know what you want to get out of the meeting, whether it’s technical, administrative or emotional. Give yourself a prioritized checklist in advance. It helps to have something interesting to discuss when you enter the meeting – if you don’t have ideas, then prepare questions.
  • Check the agenda with your supervisors: find out what your supervisors want to get out of the meeting. Agree an agenda.
  • Behave well: listen and consider before you speak. Be prepared to give a candid account of your progress. Ask the obvious questions – they may seem stupid to you, but they rarely are. It’s horribly easy to overlook the obvious. Focus on ideas, not emotions. Trust your supervisor and don’t take things personally. Make counter-proposals if you don’t like what your supervisors are advising – this can help expose discrepancies in your thinking and help you understand the rationale for your supervisor’s guidance.
  • Take notes.
  • Book the next meeting: set a date for your next meeting before you leave. Set a preliminary agenda.
  • After the meeting, email an action-item summary: immediately after the meeting, write a list of agreed action items (both yours and your supervisor’s), with deadlines if possible, and email it to all concerned, asking for confirmation that you’ve summarized correctly. Include the date of the next meeting.
These tips were taken from The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research written by Gordon Rugg and Marian Petre (2004), pp.43-44.


*May Allah bless my supervisor and show me the guidance and ease my journey of seeking knowledge. Amin!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Advice #3: Don't Sleep

"Don't Sleep, Saadah!"

Huh?

It's a surprise to get that kind of advice from my respected former supervisor. Actually, I am the one who requested from him an advice before begin the PhD journey.

He said again and again: "Don't Sleep"

He did not mean to ask me for not sleep at all. But mentally speaking, do not neglectful, lazy and busy with nothing, especially when I'm going to oversea.

Do not "sleep" in your own circle only.

Do not "sleep" with your weaknesses and misunderstanding.

Do not "sleep" without hard effort, du'a and trust in Allah.

Thank you Dr.

Allah bless you. Amin!

Always remain in my heart. Unforgettable Garden~!

Friday, 10 May 2013

How to Apply Visa UK

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Gracious.

All praises to Allah for every blessing in this journey of seeking knowledge. Here just want to share on how to apply Visa UK especially for Malaysian. This entry is similar with this LINK, but has been translated into English by same person.

1. Offer Letters

This is the most important first step that you should have with you before you apply for a visa. Not only offer (unconditional) from the university, but also scholarship offer letter either MOHE, JPA or MARA.


2. CAS Statement

CAS Statement will be given from the university after completed all the conditions requested in the offer letter. It contains start and end date of study, and lists of required documents such as transcript and certificates. 

3. TB Test

From 31 December 2012, if you are resident in Malaysia and would like to apply for a visa to come to the UK for more than 6 months you must be tested at an approved clinic and be free from tuberculosis before you apply for a visa. You will be required to submit a TB certificate with your visa application. Please refer HERE to get more information. Price of this test is RM210.

4. Visa Application Form

Visa can be applied through online and no more application can be processed by mail or any other ways except from THIS website. Among forms should be fulfilled are:
  • VAF 9 Main Application form (Tier 4 General Student) choose sponsored if you are under sponsorship. Fill the form completely via online. Print and sign.
  • VAF 10 (Tier 4 General Student Dependant) to be fulfilled by spouse and children if you bring then along. Fill the form completely via online. Print and sign
  • Appendix 8 (Self Assessment Form). Download this form and fill it manually. For main applicant only.
5. Important Documents

Following are important documents to bring along when you apply the visa:
  • A visa picture. Click HERE for further details.
  • Passport (active) and old passport (if you have)
  • CAS Statement
  • Transcript & Certificates of Degree, Master, IELTS/TOEFL
  • Financial Affidavit (if sponsored)
  • Visa Letter (if sponsored by MOHE)
  • Financial Guarantee Letter (if employed by IPTA)
  • TB Test Report
  • Marriage Certificate - Need to be translated to English
All documents must be photocopied and not need to be certified. Original documents will be returned during visa ready for collection.

6. Visa Fee

From 6th April 2013, visa fee is USD492 = RM1521. All payment must be made through credit card only, yes only. No more draft bank or debit card.

7. Appointment & Submission

Appointment must be made first to submit the visa application. Walk-in submission is not permitted. Submit the completed form to VFS Global, Suite 19.06 19th Floor, Wisma MCA, 163 Jalan Ampang, 50450.

Please keep the receipt to collect the visa after its ready between 5 to 15 days. You can track the application HERE.


Alhamdulillah.

All the best to everyone!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Alhamdulillah

All praises to Allah.

Published an entry in my primary blog make me forget to share a happy news here. I am so happy to say that I will be a student again (I am a full-time student of life). This time, a university student for 36 months.

How I am not soo happy to be a student because as a student, there will be endless journey in learning, discovering, researching and at the same time sharing to others.


Alhamdulillah, Allah is the one who granted my wish. I believe that no matter what you wish, Allah will always listen to you. Just be patient.

Thousand thanks to everyone who always wish me the best and pray for my success especially to Ayah & Emak. That is your du'a that Allah make them come true.

Not forget to my key of life. Thank you for everything. I am not able to list your countless support and love. I love you more than you do.

My new journey of life will begin next month.

To track the beginning of this journey, there are few dates to be remembered:
  • 31st December 2012: Approval letter from employer
  • 27th February 2013: Offer letter (Conditional) from the University
  • 1st March 2013: Completed Conditional Letter
  • 6th March 2013: Offer letter (Unconditional) from the University & CAS Statement received
  • 20th March 2013: New Offer letter (Unconditional) from the University (start date delayed)
  • 6th May 2013: Registration Date

Allahumma yassir wa la tu'assir.

There is no ease except in that which You have made easy,
and You make the difficulty, if You wish, easy..

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Etiquettes of Learning


اصبر على مر الجفا من معلم *** فإن رسوب العلم في نفراته
Be patient over the teacher’s strictness and harshness
For the stores of knowledge are present in his harshness

ومن لم يذق ذل التعلم ساعة *** تجرع ذل الجهل طول حياته
Whoever does not taste the humility of learning, even for an hour
Will drink the humility of ignorance for the rest of his life

ومن فاته التعليم وقت شبابه *** فكبر عليه أربعا لوفاته
For him who misses out on learning in his youth,
Then announce four takbirs over him for his death is due

حياة الفتى – والله – بالعلم والتقى *** إذا لم يكونا لا اعتبار لذاته
By Allah, the life of a youth is by knowledge and piety
If they are not present, then nothing can express his existence

- Imam al-Syafi'e -

Friday, 22 March 2013

Book: The ABC's of PhD


I bought this book from the author himself when he gave a lecture to Academic Staff at USIM regarding to academic journal. It was very interesting sharing and I learned a lot of things. Since I am the youngest (agaknya lah!), I have no experience on publishing articles in high impact journal and I have to know about all of this staff because it affects the performance of all academicians.

A simple book review:

The author used a very simple language on how to start a journey of PhD students. You can feel like you actually are listening to them not just reading the content of the book. The book comprises of 14 chapters. There are tips and guidelines on how to start writing the PhD proposal, how to select supervisor, how to search funding assistance and also brief description on PhD process.

Although the price is a bit expensive (RM48), the paper used is high quality and there are pictures to avoid readers feel bored while reading. Not forget to list some recommended websites at the references. And I love all quotations in the beginning of each chapter!.

Oh ya, I do have some thought after completed my reading. Why ABC? I'm sure that all PhD holders said that PhD is not as easy as ABC, and they will never do second PhD in their life. From my humble opinion, perhaps, all PhD candidates should think positive before and especially during doctorate moment just like when they learn ABC during kindergarten.
 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Travel in Quest of Knowledge

فوائد الأسفار
The Benefits in Travelling

تغرب عن الأوطان في طلب العلى *** وسافر ففي الأسفار خمس فوائد
Leave your country in search of loftiness
And travel! For in travel there are 5 benefits,

تفرج هم واكتساب معيشة *** وعلم وآداب وصحبة ماجد
Relief of adversity and earning of livelihood
And knowledge and etiquettes and noble companionship

فإن قيل في الأسفار ذل ومحنة *** وقطع الفيافي وارتكاب الشدائد
If it is said that travelling brings humiliation and difficulty
And long journeys across deserts and toil and trouble,

فموت الفتى خير له من قيامه *** بدار هوان بين واش وحاسد
Then death is better for a person than him remaining
In a humiliating land between traitors and enviers

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ما في المقامِ لذي عقلٍ وذي أدبِ مِنْ رَاحَة ٍ فَدعِ الأَوْطَانَ واغْتَرِبِ
There is no rest in residence for an ingenious person of culture. 
Travel and leave where you’re residing!

  سافر تجد عوضاً عمَّن تفارقهُ وَانْصِبْ فَإنَّ لَذِيذَ الْعَيْشِ فِي النَّصَبِ
 
Travel! You will find a replacement for what you have left. 
And strive! The sweetness of life is in striving!

إني رأيتُ وقوفَ الماء يفسدهُ إِنْ سَاحَ طَابَ وَإنْ لَمْ يَجْرِ لَمْ يَطِبِ
 I’ve seen that water stagnates if still. 
Becomes pure if it runs, but not if it doesn’t flow

والأسدُ لولا فراقُ الأرض ما افترست والسَّهمُ لولا فراقُ القوسِ لم يُصِبِ

 If the lion doesn’t leave his den he cannot hunt, 
and the arrow will not strike without leaving its bow

والشمس لو وقفت في الفلكِ دائمة ً لَمَلَّهَا النَّاسُ مِنْ عُجْمٍ وَمِنَ عَرَبِ

If the sun stood still in its heavenly course then people, Arab and non-Arab, it would bore

والتَّبْرَ كالتُّرْبَ مُلْقَىً في أَمَاكِنِهِ والعودُ في أرضه نوعً من الحطب

Gold dust is as the earth where commonly found, and in its land, oud is but another wood in store

فإن تغرَّب هذا عزَّ مطلبهُ وإنْ تَغَرَّبَ ذَاكَ عَزَّ كالذَّهَبِ
 If one travels, he becomes sought out If one travels , he is honored like gold.

- Imam al-Syafi'e -


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Power of Du'a

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me—indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of every supplicant when he calls upon Me […]” (Qur’an 2:186)

Allah will response to every supplicant.

This is a promise.

It indicates that du'a is the most powerful weapon for every Muslim who believe in Allah more than anything else.

How to make our du'a stronger?

1. To ask Allah by his names and attributes.

So we can say “Ya Allah (Oh Allah), Ya Rahman, Ya Hakeem (Oh merciful one, Oh wise one) and then make our du’a.

We can also see this in our daily lives, if we address someone by his title or role then we will get a better response, for example instead of “Dear Leader, please help us” we could say “Dear Leader, you are the one who is the defender of this nation and its values, please help us”.

2. To ask someone more pious than us.

We can go to a Muslim whom we feel is a good person and closer to Allah than us. For example if someone was a weak Muslim and would do things which were wrong he could ask someone to make du’a for him. In our own daily lives we see that a person in authority would respond to the request of someone they were closer to, than us.

3. To mention your good deeds.

In our du’a we can say things such as “Oh Allah, I pray regularly, please accept my du’a.” or “Oh lord, by my fasting in Ramadan, accept my du’a”. Whether it be praying, fasting, even smiling at someone (which counts as a good deed in Islam), helping an old lady across the road and so on, the mention of a good deed makes our du’a far stronger, as it would do in our daily lives.

Remember the Hadith of the three men in the cave, who made du‘ā’ and mentioned their deeds (preferring parents over rest of family; fearing Allāh and abstaining from zina; giving the labourer his invested wages)?


O Allah, with Your Greatness and Mercy, show me the right path. Help me to begin this journey in my life. Remind me to have a good intention before start this journey.

O Allah, we seek virtue and piety from You on this journey of ours, and the act which pleases You. O Allah, lighten this journey of ours, and roll up for us the distance thereof. O Allah, You are (our) companion during the journey, and guardian of (our) family. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the hardship of this journey, from beholding a miserable sight and of evil chances in my wealth, household and my children.

O Allah, give me success, uprightness, and ease! There is no ease except in that which You have made easy, and You make the difficulty, if You wish, easy.


**I believe that last alphabet in PhD stands for Du'a, not at the end of journey, but for every second in this long journey.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Advice #2

A very good advice from Dr. Othman Talib especially for those who want to start a life as a research students. Let's go green by paperless and penless.

First:
Read recent articles and conference papers by accessing web site publisher such as SAGE, EMERALD, IEEE, JSTOR, DOAJ etc.

Second:
Do not print those articles. Save them in dropbox to practice paperless.

Third:
If you want to search your potential supervisor and suitable institutional centre, find them at related website local and international.

Fourth:
Learn to write while read in your laptop. Install Mendeley in order to cite easier. It will be penless automatically.

Fifth:
Please make sure that you install related software such as SPSS or ATLAS.TI or ENDNOTE etc in your laptop.

Read more HERE but it is written in Malay.

Not forget to install EVERNOTE. It is paperless lifestyle.