Wednesday, December 17, 2014


"Awak pasti awak nak sambung belajar? Kenapa awak nak jadi pensyarah?"

"Sebab saya nak mengajar,"

"Kalau awak nak mengajar, jadi cikgu pun boleh. Maksud saya research-wise,"

Snap! I wasn't prepared for that kind of question. The purpose of that meeting is supposed for me to explore possible topic of research with him. So I stuttered. I explained how I like research, my, and really vast topic of interest and other stuffs.

Then, he said, "Awak kena betul ni. Nanti awak tengok kawan awak kerja oil and gas gaji 10-20 ribu, awak masih lagi 6-10 ribu. Awak nak ke?"

Then I provided my answer. Was not so sure he listened to me correctly (or as I intended it to be). Anyways, after showing him that I got "it" (lol) from my proposal that I completed within three days, he offered me a place for studying overseas program in top 100 universities (or good ranking school/department). The university will sponsor me and in return I have to teach at their university. 

After getting no correspondent after submitting the form he requested me fill overnight, I seek to venture out.

Long story short, an associate professor from another university is willing to accept me under his wings. I was delighted. But since it is a Ph.D program, I hesitated. My real plan is to go for Master degree, then do my Ph.D overseas.

Because, I really feel studying overseas for Ph.D will help me a great deal and I really want to study overseas, again.

Soon after, mother of my brother's friend visited my family and she happened to be a lecturer too, at UM. I told her about my plan and somehow I sense there's a hint of dissatisfaction from her (or maybe I misread her tone). She then went for a full long lecture of how the grad school works and why I shouldn't go overseas.

So after a full consideration, I decided I should take the professor's offer - maybe it's the best for me.

But things are not as good as I though when I told people I want to be a professor too. Of course, there are some "uplifting" comments that I "can do better" while others (I presume) merely think a teaching tenure is a plateau. It's a cycle of teaching, write and publish.

I disagree.

Yes, I could be idealistic when it comes to laying down my plans but I don't think I have the heart to bust myself finding oil and gas. So far, my professors have been my greatest source of inspiration. Since I was a little kid, I never associate myself with celebrities (except at some phases of my life) let alone any sportsmen (surprise, surprise). Whom I fancy are philosophers and professors like Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein (and a long list of from Abbasid and Greek). Then as I become more islamist, it was Dr Abdus Salam and Dr. Zaglul An-Najari and when I started to ground myself to reality (kinda diluting my own ideal self after things does not pan out) it was my professors at Penn State, Dr. Parizek and Dr. Wilf. 

Through Dr. Parizek and Dr. Wilf I have a glimpse of how should I do if I become an academician. These two people they are really good at what they are doing and really passionate to help those who are under their wings. Dr. Parizek taught at Penn State for years for free, squeezing his time between practicing hydrogeology as a consultant, helping Egyptians conserving their antiques, and a fellow board member of US radioactive waste management.

Dr. Wilf, on the other hand, is just one awesome guy. A great teacher and a superb paleobotanist (that is he studied ancient fossilized plants). He is now trying to work something on Sarawak rainforests --and I think that is just awesome.

Then I realize how the work is pretty much tied with the policy of a country.Of course than there is this salary issues, how professors are expected to fulfill the KPI set by the government and other stuffs that could be a hindrance for a professor to contribute back to the society.

I am just curious. Could I contribute as much as I want if join the academia later?


  1. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you all the best! :)

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Really appreciate it