About Me

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She writes simply to put her thoughts together.
Sometimes they're well-structured, sometimes they're in absolute mess.
But always, they're personal.

Ultimately, this is all for Him.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Stale

Earlier this month, I had a conversation with a graduating senior during an Eid celebration hosted by the Malaysian community here. He was the only other Malaysian undergraduate doing Physics at my university and he did the summer research project (the kind of work that I do now over the summer) twice. After telling him about my doing one right now and how exciting everything is, he said "This is your third week right? Wait until you've done six weeks. Excitement usually dies off by then."

I find the statement interesting. I always keep track of the number of weeks I had gone through so I was looking forward in reaching the 6-weeks mark just to see if the case would be true to me too. Weeks went by and I still find my project interesting. Experiments had been working well, results were tremendously good, and I even received a good-job praise from my supervisor. Of course there's the occasional I-don't-feel-like-going-to-work-today feeling, but I never felt like I'm dreading for the week to end (of which I always felt when I used to work as a teacher). What could go wrong?

Then the sixth week came.

By then scholarship applications for postgraduate study in 2016 was starting to open so I had to start making up my mind on which area I want to pursue, which university I should pick, which course I want to apply to, etc. The constant searching and browsing through the net had led me thinking "yeah I enjoy my summer project, but am I really sure I want to do this for the next 3-4 years to come?" The thought process was long and exhausting, what with the experiment I did on the fifth week wasn't all that smooth and the sixth week was of reading articles and a failed attempt in the lab. It was on the Wednesday that this thought occurred to me: "I'm bored".

So the hypothesis was true after all.

Then later during the week, as I was talking to my postdoc mentor, for some reason I brought up this conversation I had with my senior, before that saying that I cannot imagine how people in the research area can withstand doing the same procedure again and again for more than a few years. Then my mentor asked "so do you feel that way?" to which I replied "well........." and basically said yes. What she answered back was probably the best answer anyone could give.

It was something along the line of
"Well, yes, the excitement dies off after a few weeks because nothing is new to you any longer. I think it's not because things are less interesting, it's just that you've obtained a certain level of maturity in the research. So really, you are actually going on to the next stage. So it's good."

Her words struck me so much that my passion for the research that I'm doing is restored :D

I can really reflect her statement on this conversation I had with a friend the other day. We were discussing about how pious people can be consistent in doing qiamullail while at the same time constantly feel it at heart when in my case, if I've been going on for some while, I no longer feel the sweetness of doing the night prayers. It would become a mere routine. The same goes with my interaction with the Quran. When I first know of the wonders of it, I craved more and more understanding but now that I've gotten the gist of the large portion of it, reading the Quran and its translation become routine. In the end, to most of us, the spiritual journey that used to be really sweet became dry and we begin to think: "is this all there is to it?"

It's normal. I used to feel bad about it. Which is also normal. But I didn't know how to go about it. Now I know that it's actually good to feel that way. Because it means we've progressed. But it also means that we had only gone through the first level. We need to be patient and be strong, because that's the only way to get to the next level.

And who doesn't want to attain the highest level of closeness to Allah? Kan?

It's wonderful to know that the teachings of Allah to his slaves can come from any angle at any direction, even from a non-Muslim :')