Still a long-yet-short way to go to the half-way, but the power of slacking off is real

Finally, I think now is the right time to start writing down this sort of informal research journal of mine (I can always find the right time to procrastinate 😀 ). It won’t be technical. It’s more about how I feel when I’m doing the so called research.

(Intermezzo: I just knew a few days ago, even a person like Delphine Helena Marpaung will skip it if there’s any equation in someone’s blog. I thought she was more robotic and ‘equationic’ than that LOL)

“I’m happy for you, because you started to produce more results.”

I felt so relieved when my supervisor talked like that. Initially, I was hesitant to met him because I feel I’m too slow. I mean, I have pushed myself more than the way I used to be (because I know I was late already for my QE), but of course my standard is still very low. But, once again, it’s good to have all the favorite TV series on break so I didn’t watch any series for the last 1-2 months (but I miss them already!!). I even put so many books on self (miss them but need to know the priority, but I still have my Toilet-book if you know what I mean LOL).

Ok, so here the story goes..

I started QE initiation

Two weeks ago, 7th of August (Thursday), my supervisor finally allowed to me to start QE initiation process. In the previous day he called me several times at around 1-2 pm. I didn’t answer it.. because… I felt so sleepy and FELL ASLEEP at HOME T_T. It’s so heartbreaking since I had woken up in the morning, checked my simulation by remote desktop, but still felt too sleepy.. I was planning to come early on that day. It’s truee, I am not lying!!

When I arrived at campus, Evan (2nd sem) and Vinod (post-doc) told me they had just discussed with prof. Vinod told me that prof wanted me to work on array calibration.

Wait-wait-wait.. so now I have three things to do: the paper (as I mentioned in the previous post), the code waveform things, and this new array calibration thing.. whaat, I talked to myself back then.

So, Vinod explained me what to do. And basically, what I need to do is to replicate and develop further from Vinod’s work. In fact, stuffs which I need to do before QE were already done by him. But he didn’t want to give me the code, and asked me to work my butt off on it for the (Array Geometry) 2nd and 3rd part(Joint Array Geometry-Gain/Phase) (he gave me the code for the 1st Gain/Phase part)

With these three, my supervisor think it would be sufficient. Nonetheless, I was happy. Finally I could start the initiation process, although it meant I need to work on more things. I tried to look on the other side, if I could somehow finish all of them off then I could come up with a solid thesis at the end of my PhD Journey. Remember this quote:

One more story on this date (7 August). So when I came to meet prof, I wanted to pay my mistake (for sleeping at home at the previous) by showing some result on the waveform coding part. (anyway it’s good to have people like Ardimas in your facebook timeline, his geeky status could trigger some useful technical discussion). But this result was very crappy. I just wanted to show something, although it’s crappy. And yeah, you could imagine, how crappy an argument from a PhD student can be:

“What can we interpret from this?”

“I don’t know yet”

“Then, don’t talk about it. It should be easy.”

At least I gave it a try LOL. I believe it must be tough for my supervisor having a PhD student like me. I guess it’s like playing a game with a bonus difficulty: above the hardest regular level. I bet he could retire peacefully when I graduate, because he will never find any student with sloppiness level as mine. Hahahaha

And then when I asked to the GPO (administration office), there was some doubt on whether I have submitted QE deferment report or not. But then Miss Christina, who knows me too well because I’m a troubled student :p, told me I don’t need to concern about this matter right now, just focus on writing up my report.

But of course, I couldn’t start writing the report if I haven’t done my simulation. In this context, I’m not a multi-task person.

More than a week of slacking off

It turned out I couldn’t finish all the three stuffs in a week. Initially, I thought everything will run smoothly. But yeah we tend to overestimate our performance. We sometimes forget that we’re very prone to procrastination, especially a person like me whose life is so full of distraction ranging from drawing, blogging, reading books, and lots of socmeds.

Initially I was planning to do something concrete: such as MIMO channel using STBC code, or CDMA user identification (all related to Digital Communication System). But then when I looked at my transcript, my grade for DCS is 1 out of 5. I don’t have strong basic on comm. So, I talked to Ardimas and Dicky, asking if they have some references.

However, in the end I managed to come up with a simple simulation by using simple orthogonal code that I found in Bernard Sklar’s book. (For readers who have strong competency in Electrical Engineering, you must have realized by now how I don’t understand any basic thing about comm LOL). It’s not good enough for code identification, but I think finding the correct parameter for my algorithm could solve this issue.

And then for the array calibration part, it also happened quite similarly.. I thought it was supposed to be done quickly, Vinod has done it already mind you. But then when you’re working something on your own, it’s not as easy as those tutorial on MATLAB. You need to read the paper, and the maths looks like an Javanese Traditional Alphabet/Script. It feels like you only want to read the human language (latin alphabet).

I don’t know sometimes you feel that you did all of it correctly according to the theory/paper that you read. But somehow there’s some evil inside the code that doesn’t want your code to run. So I slacked off. I was procrastinating a lot.. and then when I looked back at my code, I discovered where the bug was.

It’s interesting how detaching yourself from your work could erase some short-term memory so you could pay attention to the things that you’ve missed before. And so I got a euphoria after finishing all the three works. All I need to do is reporting to my supervisor and then I could start writing the report.

At the same time (last Tuesday, 19th), Afin came to Singapore. So I stayed in Mas Tegoeh’s place with him. We talked till 3 or 4 in the morning. Talking about so many things: especially how Mas Tegoeh has booked 3 million USD research funding (it’s a milestone for him, I’m a proud unofficial student of him!), and Afin talked about his new project on home automation. We also talked about a guy whom I never met with but keep hearing about his epic story. He’s now starting a gas oil business.. after quitting his PhD right after marrried and finishing his QE.

How dynamic your emotional state can be although your daily life is trapped on a cubicle

And then because I felt too happy, I was coming to lab quite late than usual. It’s probably around 2 or 3 on Wednesday. I felt so frustrated at night when I realized that a parameter that I derived through empirical method is not yet optimum and I’ve written it on the draft paper. How could I tell my supervisor when he already asked me to submit the paper before QE.. my negative thoughts even told me that I might probably defer my QE longer than planned.

It’s funny how sometimes the thing that you think would be just fine become the thing that ruin your mood all of a sudden. So I decided to go home early and just having fun (browsing, watching youtube, etc)

I also tried to contemplate for a while. I remembered a verse of 94: 6-8. It made me realize, when we encounter one difficulty, it means that we’re surrounded by so much ease. Conversely, when we’re in a middle of difficult moments, a single easiness could mean so much.

So I tried to control my own mind. I tried to put away all negative thoughts. So I thought I need to consult my prof first before moving any further. So just today I printed some graphic for the three projects (Range-Angle-Doppler Estimation, Code Identification, and Array Calibration). I’m just trying to be honest. This is a research activity, honesty is a trait that we all must embrace. I believe it’s a part of the process: all the frustration, the mistake, the lost in equation, bugs in your code, your stupidity and foolishness..

And so finally prof still gave me appreciation regarding all that I’ve done. I got so many things to do in the future. And he asked me to postpone the journal paper submission after I finish my QE report. But of course, he always asks me to finish everything soon, quickly, even sometimes he gave me some extreme deadline. But when I missed the deadline he still appreciated me. He’s so kind you know. I’m so lucky to have him as my supervisor.

“So, optimize it first.. it needs to be very theoretical and that will be your contribution.”

By the way, I also discussed with him the possibility of extending the code identification for wireless communication. He told me if I want to go that way I must work independently because he’s not familiar with it. It makes me think twice (looking at how poor my knowledge on comm area is)… but it also challenges me at once.


And I don’t know, since I’m gonna be working on a very theoretical area, I think I must start to learn the basic on linear algebra, radar, and so many things that I haven’t quite grasped the fundamental yet. To do so, I bought new notebooks. I intend to use it for basic knowledge study. I guess it’s time to whip myself to become more organized than before. ( I can’t recall how many times I have mentioned this resolution :p)


stuffs on desk

Having realized that I spent to many coloured pencil’s scratch on sketch book more than pen’s stroke on research notebook, I finally started to move what I wrote on Campus Green Book into the official NTU Research Notebook. LOL 😀

In conclusion, I feel so grateful to be here right now. So many miracles happened up to this point. And although currently the I’m facing some difficulties (and OMG my passive income sources are currently in trouble), I believe all of them are parts of the learning process in life. And yeah, sometimes we need to face a little bit of hardship in order to realize how God has made our lives so easy.

And still, these postcards always boost my mood:


They’re all in the circle of Great Friends. Although we haven’t met up for one year or more, their life spirits, words, and great stories are kept in my head as a wisdom that I obtained along my life journey (ahzeik, sesekali gombalin temen-temen laaah)

Anyway, last mumbling. Just recently I started to post on facebook more frequently. I posted some random stories that I found like: post, some weird comic, some sick video clip, a friend as 23 year PhD candidate in Oxford, a 14 y.o. boy as new youngest student in UGM, and also the recent achievement of ITB rocketry team (OMG, I do really want to write some silly old memory on this rocketry competition, but still haven’t manage to do it).

However, I don’t know I just post and comment according to my own view. Sometimes people take it differently. Sometimes people have the wrong perspective about me too. They have the wrong presumption and assumption. But it doesn’t matter everything I do, I do it purposefully, based on my own values. When people take it differently, it’s their businesses. 

Ahhh , I guess I will start writing tomorrow hahahaha 😀

One thought on “Still a long-yet-short way to go to the half-way, but the power of slacking off is real

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