First Year:Lessons Learned (1)

It is hard to believe that I have spent a year doing research and coursework as a PhD student in Singapore. So many things happened – so many ups and downs. And I feel like missing something if I don’t write anything to ‘celebrate‘ my first ‘anniversary‘ as a PhD student.

Then, in order to commemorate it, I want to write down a few lessons I learned during my first year.


Actually this part can be archived as general life lessons category. However, I personally believe that everything you do, which shapes much of what you’re gonna achieve, is determined by your mind-set. If you want to change your life, you have to revise your mind-set first,

1. Please Be Grateful for Everything

For everything you get, please be grateful of it. Only after appreciating what you have, you could then make the most of it. Whenever you lose this sense of gratitude, you will start to take things for granted, to use everything haphazardly accompanied by this foolish argument inside your brain, It doesn’t matter, I have nothing to lose.

You couldn’t be more wrong if you think like that. Receiving things by little effort doesn’t mean that you are not obliged to use them wisely. Believe me, wherever you are right now (despite of how far it seems for you to be at the place you want to be), many people are currently hoping to be at your place, they are willing to sacrifice much to sit on your chair.

Well, maybe they’re not as lucky as you are to get the chance you’ve got. So at least, if you’re not being grateful/appreciative of it, you may screw things up by not giving your best.. and then you blew your chance.. and finally you’re gonna wasting chance.

So firstly, let us once again be thankful of the chance given by God for us to be a PhD student, at least for one year. :p

2. Please Understand, Everything Takes Time

I don’t know why, but I reckon it is hardwired on human’s brain to expect an instant result. It makes sense of the concept of Heaven as a place where you can get what you want in no time – instantly. However, in the world where you and I live, everything takes time to process. Even getting a lucky draw needs a proper mechanism. If you get the lucky draw out of nowhere (let’s say you never register for it in the first place),  I could confidently tell you it’s a fraud.

The same thing applies for research and coursework. It takes time to learn something, especially to learn a totally new topic. And it even takes longer time to do research. The truth to be told, you will probably end up with no result despite of how much time and effort you’ve invested. And all we can do is to be patient, keep trying, and keep positive energy in mind.

It is normal to not get the result in a short time. It is normal to encounter failure in the first, second, third, or n-th trial. But we have to keep our faith. Everything would eventually become so lovely in the end.

3. Please Be Aware of The Time Limit

It is often said that one of those fundamental problems in human’s life is we are prone to think that we have time. It gives us an excuse to not giving our best, to procrastinate. But in fact, the clock ticks on without asking permission.

Just try to remember of the old story you went through:

You didn’t get your result as expected -> You realized that you could have done better -> You won’t know how the result would be if you were given the chance to do it once again, because the time already passed you by -> You keep wondering “what if” -> You regret yourself

Yes. Make the most of your time!

4. Please Remember, Let Go of What You Can’t Change

This is also an important thing to take note. It is very human to make mistakes, to fall again in the same pitfall. But here is the thing: our energy and time are limited. Do not waste it to work on something you can do nothing about. Don’t curse the past and don’t worry about the future!  It is useless, because the distance between you and the past or the future is infinite. (unless you have the hot tub time machine)

W = Fd.

We live in the present, the only thing we can do is to do our best at the moment. Expect lots of failures, it is okay to get upset for a moment, but then you have to get up and get on with it! 

5. Please Be Responsible for What You Have Chosen

We’ve probably heard of the wise words “Life is all about choice” since we were teenagers. But in fact, when we started to become grown-ups, it is not that easy to choose. Of course it is good to have so many options, but I think we all have been on that position: when we hope that we only have one choice in store. How simple the options are, choosing is never easy.

However, even if you’ve already chosen one of the options, to live by its consequences is another challenge. I don’t know the validity of this statement, but I once heard that, once you make the commitment, the universe will start to tease you with so many temptations. So, be mindful and be responsible for the choosing. They also say that life is about revision, but of course everything has its own consequences. be continued. (to #ON DOING YOUR RESEARCH)


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