Ronald Robertson

Aaronn Avit Ajeng, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Emailaaronnavit@um.edu.my
  • Phone+60 (14) 970 5384
  • ExpertiseBiology and Biochemistry
  • AffiliationUniversiti Malaya (UM)

Ready for the unexpected | March 2018

Life has been a mysterious ride most of the times, and unknowingly we have made it until today. We still survive despite all the setbacks and the main key to our survival lies within ourselves, and that is adaptation. We adapt to things around us by adjusting and updating ourselves to the current trends. However, nothing is forever permanent and those trends will change in months or years from now, and we will need to adjust ourselves again but can we predict what is going to happen in the future? 

Few months back, I started my final year college project and it involved planting of 48 oil palm seedlings under some treatments with different combination of fertilizers. The project was initially proposed by a bio-fertilizer company to my professor, and he trusted me with the project. What sets this apart from the other projects my course mates are doing is that it is a consultancy project and the fund comes fully from the company. Getting such a huge project was totally unexpected and I was not ready for it but anyhow I had to prepare for such possibility.

I am given incentives every month for carrying out the experiment, it is as if I am a temporary undergraduate research assistant. Truthfully, I never expect to be paid for an undergraduate project. This means the amount of work I have to do, has to complement with the values I am getting. It means higher responsibility as all the results will be submitted under the university. As one of the top universities, it is important to produce a high quality and high output research to compete with other global institutions in leveling up the rank. 

At the start of the project, I find it hard to adjust myself to such responsibility as plant breeding is not my forte. For weeks, I had a lot of consultation sessions with my supervisors to design the framework. Even until today, there are things that are yet to be discussed. I had to completely change my schedule, and spend more time setting up the experiment. I remember almost giving up, just because I could not cope with the change. But thank God, by His grace I am finally reaching to the end stage of the experiment though there are still few things left in progress. I learned how to put my faith in things unseen, and trust His lead throughout the entire process.

I learned that it is important to be optimist when we are facing with unexpected things. It keeps us going forward despite all the challenges and turmoils. Being mentally prepared will also help in adjusting ourselves with the change, knowing that there would be unexpected turn of events as it prepares us for the worst possibilities. Having such attitude also prepares us for future challenges. We would never advance if we do not adapt to those changes, we would forever stay in our little space and never grow up.