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

Doing A Postgraduate Degree in Early 20s | en route PhD at the University of Malaya

I was 23 when I graduated from a bachelor degree in 2019. Accepted Master of Medical Science in Regenerative Medicine offer from the same university (Universiti Malaya) in the same year, where I did research in stem cells for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. But, I had to quit due to some unfortunate circumstances. 

One of them being the sickness I had in the beginning of the program and I refused treatment at Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya (PPUM) in fear of my supervisors finding out about the sicknesses. My supervisors were the director of PPUM and a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine. Having withdrawn from the program was one the hardest yet necessary decisions I had to make. I have always wanted to pursue research in stem cells but it was not my rezeki

Weeks after the recovery, a professor and a senior lecturer from the Institute of Biological Sciences (UM) whom I used to work with for my final year research project reached out to me about a research opportunity with them. The grant they recently received, awarded by the university involves interdisciplinary research areas include microbiology, agriculture and engineering. Their convinced me to take on the research, and just like that I am back to being a student in my former institute, but this time as a Master student.

I graduated from bachelor degree with second-upper class thus I was unqualified for the fast track PhD program. Hence, I will be registering as a PhD student soon after fulfilling some pre-requisites of the program (publish few papers, present at least in 1-2 conferences, community engagement and few classes) within 15 months as a Master student. God willing by the age of 27 or 28, I will be done with the doctoral program.

The road to a PhD has been really tough and somewhere along this journey I felt like I have a lot of work cut out for me because I was inexperienced. COVID-19 situation is not making it any better. I was ill again in the middle of the program and I had to go under the knife. My research has been extremely delayed but I am so thankful for my supervisors. They were very supportive during these trying times. I am doing my best to catch up with the time that has been wasted. At the tender age of 24, I struggle from every angle of my life be it health, finance, and relationship. Life has not really been kind to me however, the grit to succeed is what keeps me going till this day. I believe that the struggles are temporary but the fruit of success will last a lifetime. 

#PhD #PhDiary