Settling in

It was around eight o’clock. I just browsed through the Internet, looking for some e-book of classic novel which my Grandfather used to search for during his lifetime. All of a sudden, my stomach created some sound. I thought it’s time to get some food. I was planning to have dinner since I finished offering Maghrib prayer anyway. So, I packed my stuffs, getting out of lab.

I was waiting for 179 bus at Wee Kim Wee bus stop. There were two buses coming at the same time. I took the first bus. Seeing no empty seat in the lower deck, I decided to go to upper deck. There should be a lot of empty seats over there, I thought.

When I reached the upper level, I saw every row had been taken by at least one person who sat next to the window. When this is the case, I’d better sit next to a lady (because I hate it when some guy take a sit beside while there is another option for him, so I don’t want the other guy feels the same). So I was looking up to every row only to find there’s someone I know sitting alone: my senior, the first person my professor introduced me when I just came to Singapore: Su Yee.

Su Yee is from Myanmar. She is doing Ph.D under the same supervisor. She has submitted her thesis and now converted to part-time Ph.D student because she had accepted a job offer in another lab while waiting the outcome of her submission and also (of course) her thesis defense. It was a coincidence that we were on the same bus, it’s the first time ever. Moreover, I had not seen her for awhile since she spent more time at other lab, plus we’re now rarely having group meeting.

So I asked her regarding how life goes near to the end of Ph.D studentship journey. She told me initially she was applying for a number of jobs outside campus before, got interviewed five times, but then did not get it. She said that industry needs hands-on experience. However, in our research group, the area is very theoretical, full of mathematical equation.

During the job pursuit, she’s still working part-time in another lab. Luckily, she got an offer from people in that lab. The topic is not really her research topic but still related, it is on Radar. She said that finally they offered her and she’s also willing to go to this new field. And now she’s also working on practical things, playing with antenna, instead of only typing matlab codes for beamforming, DOA, and TOA simulation.

Yeah, and then she alighted one bus stop after Pioneer MRT. I was alighting at Jurong Point and having dinner with Tahu Telor (although I was planning to eat Gado-gado, but you know I was not expecting Gado-gado still available around this hour).

That’s what happened at night. And what happened during the day?

Today I was a bit late to go for Friday prayer. My stomach got sick, so I left home at around 12.45.  When I was waiting for 199 bus initially, so when 172 came I didn’t step up. Shaheryar (a labmate) texted me just after the bus left. He told me I might be missing Friday prayer in NTU because it would start at 1.

I decided to wait for the next 172 and I saw Mas Oni was also waiting in this bus stop. He didn’t know if there’s any Friday prayer in NTU (I will tell about how the thing usually goes).  Mas Oni is the first stranger to give me greeting when I was first registering in NTU. Mas Hata and I met him in the lift. He started the conversation by speaking Javanese words. And then he said, “Ten years ago, I was like you.” He is also ITB alumni. Then, he gave his name card, and showed us where the canteen is.

On the way returning to NTU, Mas Oni was playing 2048, he said it’s better than flappy bird (later on I discovered a game which combining flappy bird and 208 LOL).

When I arrived at lab, I didn’t feel like doing anything. I was just surfing until Shaheryar and Evan came. We had a long discussion regarding so many stuffs, starting from exam, traditional language, Ph.D life, and even Islamic culture (and how Islam has so many school of thought).

The conversation went further into Social Media. Evan asked me why did I have so many social media account. I said I’m easily get bored so sometimes I don’t use them all at once, I even deactivate them for some time. When we talked about era before facebook, everyone mentioned different website, and of course I mentioned Friendster :p.

Right when I started to bring up the usage of social media for political agenda, Zeeshan was arriving. He then joined the discussion. We also discussed how Islamic world banned some movie or social media. Zeeshan also told me there was a movie about early Islamic era which didn’t depict Prophet Mohammad at all but still got banned in some countries: The Message. It’s a bit ironic since its story was authorized by Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

And of course when four Muslims from three different countries (and perhaps with four different school of thoughts) were sitting down, we discussed about some local Islamic culture and so on. However, I just knew that Pakistan has blocked Youtube. We also discussed about sisha(hookah), weed, marijuana, Cuban cigar, and how those things are very easy to get in each country.

All of a sudden, Shaheryar asked what time it was. It turned out we had been discussing for almost four hours. So everyone was getting back to their cubicle.

And yeah, during the discussion, Evan also mentioned that he just had the settling-in interview. It was a mandatory meeting with academic adviser in the first semester. I was doing that interview too. But at that time, I didn’t feel like I had settled in. I didn’t find a comforting environment at lab. Everyone was busy doing their stuff, I didn’t have conversation like these. But I think, now I had settled in for real.

However, I’d still have one more paper next week. I hope I can do my best since it’s the very last time for me. It was a long story and I hope I could write it down here one day. And from all of these stuffs that I discussed, I’m planning to do several things if I continue my Ph.D. I would like to start playing with hands-on stuff.

* It should have been posted yesterday, but I fell asleep

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