As I’ve explained in my previous blogpost, I was using the hashtag #sistulisthesis whenever I post snippets of my PhD journey on Instagram. Since I submitted my thesis on the 29th September, I opted to use the hashtag #SisHabisThesis (I finished my thesis) to commemorate my activities after writing and while waiting for the comments and results from the external examiners.
The PhD examination process is a bit different in ANU; we don’t have a viva or oral thesis defence. Instead, we submit the final thesis to either 2-3 examiners who will take their own sweet time of 3-6 months to come back with either comments and suggestion for major or minor corrections or pass without corrections. So, currently, I am waiting for my babies to be read and dissected by the examiners.
So what’s been on the #SisHabisThesis plate so far? Well, initially, I thought that I would immediately be joining the workforce in UiTM as per the contractual agreement in my scholarship (I’m under the Young Lecturer’s Scheme by the Ministry of Education Malaysia under UiTM). However, after my visit to UiTM to report for duty, I found out that the PhD submission is not enough of an assurance to the them that I’m finished and will be awarded a doctorate. Therefore, the university will only consider my part of the contract (finishing the PhD and returning for duty) to be done once I’ve received the senate letter from ANU informing that I am awarded a PhD.
First item on #SisHabisThesis agenda which was to be #SisMulaKerja (I’m starting work) quickly turned into #SisGaruKepala (I’m scratching my head). I panicked. I immediately decided I need a job to fill my 3-6 months of uncertainty as I wait for the examiners to come back with my PhD results. Without hesitation, I took up an offer for a R.A. job with another university. However, a few days later, after I was able to ruminate on my situation, I realised a few crucial things about my #SisHabisThesis period.
- It’s supposed to be my long break from the 3 years and 9 months of PhD struggle and journey I just had and I was only just beginning my 2nd week of the break. Even summer holidays are longer than what I was giving myself.
- The R.A. job was promising to be a full-on research project with the research group expecting me to immerse myself in the literature review, data collection and data analysis. Was I really willing to do another “degree” this early on and in a topic not pertinent to my own research interests and academic path?
- I should take this time and opportunity to build my own academic and research self in publication and projects which are promoting my own interests and work.
With those thoughts, I declined the R.A. post (which was not officially offered to me yet but I was already doing a bit of administration assistance) and set up some #SisHabisThesis goals to be met in these remaining months of 2017.
- I want to try get published in at least 2 journals. This means I need to be writing journal articles and looking at target journals to approach.
- I want to take a closer look at my literature materials, both pertinent to my PhD project and to the academic area I will be entering once I start my duty with UiTM–Visual Culture, Arts and Design. I’m going to build an annotated bibliography “library” for me to dip into easily because my brain can’t really retain all those info I so dearly want to retain forever. Having my own “database” for research materials and literature reviews would be helpful in the future.
- I am invited to be one of the artists involved in the Field Trip Project Asia as part of the KL Biennale 2017. This is my chance to showcase both my research and my artistic ability to use ethnography as an artistic method/methodology.
- I need to get a proper break that befits the 3 years and 9 months I’ve been devoting to my babies.
Other than these main #SisHabisThesis projects, I am filling my days with reading novels, coping with my Post-Thesis Stress Disorder and going back to journaling/creating. I’ve set up an Instagram account called Xeem Noor Arts just for my journals, artworks and crafts.
I’m also planning to blog about my #SisTulisThesis journey in retrospect, like ethnographic accounts. Let’s see if those years have finally turned me into an amateur anthropologist as much as I am already an amateur designer and amateur artist.