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Friday, September 07, 2012

Journey's end

There is only one word that I could utter when my viva voce session was over late Tuesday afternoon: Alhamdulillah.

I received a call from the Faculty of Science just after 6 p.m. last Friday informing me that my Ph.D. thesis defence has been set on Tuesday, 4th. September 2012 at 4 p.m. I later found out that there were two other candidates before me, one in the morning and another at 2.30 p.m.

In many ways, I was relieved that the day was finally set. It has been a long time waiting. The thesis was completed way back in May 2011. However, because of some bureaucratic problems (which I do not want to think too much about), I was only able to finally submit the thesis in June 2012. Things went pretty smoothly after that. The examiners were appointed promptly, and all three of them handed in their "verdicts" on time just before Aidilfitri.

Of course, when Tuesday came, I became anxious. I was finally at the end of a long journey. My last hurdle, so to speak, was the viva voce session. The candidate before me went in at about 2.30 p.m. and he only came out of the meeting room at 4.15 p.m., overshooting his scheduled time. Apparently, I was told later, many questions were being asked by the panel members.

I only went in around 4.45 p.m. and was duly asked to do my presentation. My presentation went on for about 15 minutes, followed by a Q&A session which lasted for 10 minutes, which by all accounts was quick. Having said that, the 10 minutes must have been the longest 10 minutes that I have ever felt.

In retrospect, the session went pretty well. It was quick and as some of my friends pointed out, painless. I came out of the meeting room feeling a huge burden on my shoulders finally have been lifted. It was a great relief that is difficult to describe.

I was called back into the meeting room at the Dean's office about five minutes later. I was informed that I passed with minor corrections. Officially I am given three months to complete the corrections, but the Dean wanted me to hand in the completed and corrected thesis within two weeks time. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, there were not that many corrections that need to be done as they were very minor. Secondly, this will enable me to join the convocation ceremony on 1st. October.

Now, my task is to get the corrections done, have them verified by my supervisor, and submit the thesis to the university.

As I wrote earlier, I can only utter the kalimah tahmid as a sign of satisfaction and relief. I am thankful to Allah SWT for the strength that He has given me to go through this five-year academic journey that taught me patience and perseverence, and has even made me more mature along the way. I am also thankful for my family members who have provided the support and understanding throughout my Ph.D. journey. I am also very grateful to my supervisor for her wisdom and guidance.

This has been a very interesting journey. It has now come to an end. But the end of this journey means that a new journey has begun.