“Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them.” This is true for me as I was given the chance by Victoria University to pursue my PhD Integrated in 2018. This was indeed an eye opener of ups and downs, battling with fulltime teaching responsibilities, PhD application documents and indeed a financial struggle. Nevertheless, in October 2017, all was finalised, and I was granted a full-time scholarship for the duration of 4 years to embark my journey to Melbourne Australia, under the partnership agreement with Victoria University and Sunway College Kuala Lumpur. Being a lecturer with the program, I was not going to give this opportunity up. The PhD Integrated comprises, two semesters of coursework of 5 units/modules and a mini thesis completion in Year One. Thereafter, I will continue my work and data collection, back in Malaysia, with visits and communication with my supervisor via emails and skype.
All was great for me when I started mid-February in 2018 with my classes and course work of 4 modules in my semester 1 (Feb to June 2018). I must add, no one said PhD is going to be easy, it’s a long lonely path, but with support from supervisors, family and friends, the journey was bearable. I had great support from my colleagues here in Melbourne and my VU family back in Malaysia. What is hilarious, when your students see you in Melbourne, as some of them may have transferred here or are on student exchange and asks you “Miss what are you doing here? Are you studying?”
Unfortunately, my journey took a twist of faith, when I decided to take my semester break from the end of June to July 2018 and return to be with my mum as she had to undergo a major knee cap replacement surgery. All was planned as I was to return in July, but my mother’s surgery had complications and I had to make a call on deciding what to do next. Again, with much thought and support from VU and at Sunway College KL, I took the decision to defer my studies, as I had no choice but to take care of my mother as I am the only family member in Malaysia, until my mum fully recovered and was able and mobile. This was a difficult decision to make as it pushed me back another 6 months, which meant I had to return to Melbourne in February 2019 to complete my year one.
Again, when one door closes, another one opens, this is true yet again for me. I am back here, end of February 2019 to complete my year one and return to Malaysia at the end of June 2019. It is always not easy to pick up after where one left off, but I believe with determination, passion and the motivation to keep pushing, nothing can stop me from pursuing my goals. I do sincerely thank Victoria University and Sunway College Kuala Lumpur for all the support they have given me and continue to do so in this journey.