Ronald Robertson

Aaronn Avit Ajeng, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Email (Work/Ads)aaronnavit@um.edu.my
  • AffiliationUniversiti Malaya (UM)
  • ExpertiseBiology and Biochemistry
  • Contact No(+60)14-970 xxxx

Pieces of thoughts | Study | Life | Future

I have been meaning to write a post about how I truly feel all this while about my education, life in general and also future undertakings but I was really occupied with research and classes during the last semester. Now that I am having a leisure time, I have decided to put up some updates for all of you. 

Going into the final year in the university excites me yet it scares me. I thought I had a plan of what I am going to pursue after degree but after going through all the years in university I had to re-plan. Some of the early plans I had were to continue postgraduate studies (Masters or PhD) somewhere preferably in the UK and become a full time scientist. I was interested in stem cell biology and genetic engineering as these fields are currently trending in biotechnology. I thought research was something that I had passion for.  Yes, I do have passion for research. Truthfully, research requires a lot commitment and self-study. Ones need to understand the content and direction of their research. If they are not into reading hundreds of scientific journals for single research, then it is just not meant for them.

I love reading but do I like reading complicated scientific journals? Not really. Do not get me wrong. As someone who has spent his entire childhood, teen and pre-young adult life for education, I thought I have had enough. I want to do something else. If i am blessed enough to be offered any postgraduate program, I would go for it without any hesitation but do I want to advocate my entire life to research? Probably not yet.  I had the scores and gpa that I wanted however something has been missing. Something has been taken away from me and that is the real meaning of life.  All these years, I have been going through the same boring routines; attending classes, submitting assignments, revising for quizzes and finals, most of the nights I find myself in the lab, experimenting and preparing for my undergraduate research project. There was almost no time for myself though I rewarded myself with movies sometimes but there was less freedom. I felt burnout. 

I cannot imagine myself pursuing a higher degree, expecting it to be a lot easier but like I said, I will definitely go for it if I have the opportunity. There is a huge disparity between pursuing an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree. One of them would be the learning style. Most postgraduate students I have met conducted their research at their own risk and they need to have a detailed understanding about their projects. There are chances that they fail the experiment and need to to repeat everything, and bear the cost again. In science, everything is trial and error. It is a constantly progressing field where the past findings might not be relevant to the current studies conducted. There has to be an improvisation to the experiments. Ones might have to consider these before applying for postgraduate studies.

I am inspired by Dr. Amalina Che Bakri, a Malaysian born surgeon who is now working in the UK as a specialist. She has a degree in medicine from Edinburgh, an intercalated degree in pharmacology, Masters of Philosophy in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics from Cambridge and now she is doing her PhD. What is more amazing, she is only 30 and has achieved that much in life. She is a wanderluster and has travelled to many places even though her schedule is packed. How does she manage to do that? Well, she mentioned about having a proper time management and a diary which lists down all the things she needs to accomplish. I guess I have to learn from her in managing my time well. I am in my early 20s and I haven't had any chance to travel the world. Will make that happen very soon with my best friends.

Another part of the plan was to own a biotech start-up. I had a small talk with my friend, Lidusha about having a small start-up that is related our course; particularly in genetic engineering and pharmaceuticals. One of the challenges we thought of was the demands for such industries in Malaysia. Biotechnology era in Malaysia was ushered by the former prime minister Tun Ahmad Badawi and that was around 2005, making us few steps back before Japan and Taiwan. We are relatively still new, and this makes a good opportunity to have a start-up as it will grow into a big corporation in years to come. One good thing about having a start-up or a company? You do not really need a PhD, you let those PhD holders work for you. However, a lot of factors have to be considered before having a start-up; risk factors, funding, human resources etc. Nevertheless, it is accomplishable. 

As the present holds a lot miseries and the future holds a thousand of mysteries, I couldn't be more thankful for every little process that I have gone through, shaping me into who I am today. The present has forced me to plan for the future because it is necessary to have plans. These are some of the thoughts I have about my education and future in general but the takeaway message here is fail to plan is the ultimate reason why most people nowadays are failing. It is good to have a wider outlook on what you are going to do in future for you will be able to plan your way to achieve your dreams. Lastly,  never set a limit to what you can achieve but extend yourself beyond your limitations to unleash your full potential.