Completing research efficiently? Let’s learn from their doctoral journey

Research in higher education is an ability that every student must have, from undergraduate to doctoral level. We need to choose the topic, method, time management, processing, and many other things to carry out scientific research. Limited time is also a challenge that requires researchers to be able to apply time management and analysis. Especially for being a doctoral student, the journey sometimes gets tough because their research should be working independently.

In order that, on the 24th episodes, SBM ITB Talks proudly invited not one or two but four special speakers who have just completed their doctoral degrees: Dr. Christina Wirawan, Dr. Kevin Suryaatmaja, Dr. Restu Mahesa, and Dr. Muhammad Hanafi. SBM ITB Talks will discuss their experiences and tips in research through resource persons’ experiences in conducting research.

How to balance the time between working life as a professional and study carried out on campus?

“Of course, companies do not want employees who are undergoing education while working to contribute less to the company. Therefore, they cannot transfer office tasks to other people, so we must manage time. At DSM Jakarta, we are greatly assisted by organizing lectures on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am to 5 pm. So that we are not disturbed by lectures and work can still be carried out,” said Dr. Restu Mahesa. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Muhammad Hanafi addressed his thought, “The problem starts after 1.5 years when we have finished taking the doctoral class. After that, there aren’t schedules anymore, because we only do our research. I outsmarted it by focusing on Saturdays and Sundays by sacrificing to doing a dissertation or writing a paper. And one more thing to look for friends, it can be fellow doctoral degrees or friends who have expertise in certain fields that can help us to complete doctoral studies.”

What are the tips and tricks in meeting the passing criteria at SBM ITB? 

Dr. Christina Wirawan said, “SBM ITB has high standards compared to ITB. For example, ITB asks for one, SBM ITB asks for 2. For us to meet these requirements, we must make preparations as early as possible. Second, we must always discuss with promoters and co-promoters. With discussion, the ideas will come out. Next, we must choose a journal that fits our topic. And finally, we must follow the wishes of the journal we choose; it can be in writing style, language style, or template.”

In line with what Dr. Christina said, Dr. Restu Mahesa emphasized that a suitable promoter is crucial in achieving success during a doctoral program. He stated, “One of the key factors in DSM is its outstanding promoter. We are greatly supported in the mentoring process. So the key is in choosing promoters and co-promoters whose expertise is the same as the research topic we are going to work on.”

How to stay motivated during your Ph.D. in SBM ITB?

Being a doctoral student is not an easy task. It is a long way of the journey, and staying motivated during a long time needs preparation. Here, Dr. Kevin Suryaatmaja addressed his thoughts to stay motivated; he said, “Motivation cannot be separated from someone having a vision and mission. That’s what we need to keep in mind. Then we must have a passion that can help us set targets. Every semester, there is an achievement, so we have to measure whether we have reached the target we have previously set or not. The next important factor is having a good promoter and co-promoter who will help us achieve our targets. Finally, we should always try to appreciate all forms of achievements that we have made no matter how small they are.”

What are your impressions and messages during your doctoral program?

Dr. Christina Wirawan expressed her good memory in SBM ITB by stating, “My journey at SBM was very sweet, the atmosphere at SBM was delightful. The lecturers are all kind and very helpful in lectures. Then the next ones are the promoters and co-promoters who always encourage me to complete my doctoral program. The message for friends who wish to pursue a doctoral program is to instill the intention that undergoing a doctoral program is a life process that must be enjoyed by the whole process, whether it is joy or sorrow.”

Dr. Kevin Suryaatmaja stated, “Even though we have a target, we must still bring that target to be comfortable. One example is when international journals, rejected by journals, reject our paper is a normal thing for doctoral students, which is important for us to improve. We must also understand that our family is very supportive of us. We have to prove that our contribution to taking education will also contribute to the community, including the family. Lastly, the message, let’s celebrate to the ones who appreciate knowledge since the intellectual journey is crucial for a doctoral student to improve his or her knowledge; the SBM is an excellent campus that supports our goals and improves our knowledge.”

Dr. Muhammad Hanafy also expressed his thought, “For sadly moment, I think maybe we rarely attend wedding invitation because on Saturdays and Sundays are dedicated to focusing on working on dissertations and papers. But the best part of my learning process is having promoters and co-promoters who I consider as friends who always remind me and support me in achieving my goals. The examiner’s final question during the doctoral promotion trial is the happiest time for me because it is the end of what has been through. So, all our tiredness is gone.”
From this discussion with four speakers who already completed the doctoral degree program, we must always keep in touch with our promoter if we want to succeed in conducting research.

A suitable research promoter is an important aspect that we should keep to finish our study on time. Another element that we should notice is that every part of our life, including pursuing a doctoral program, is a journey, so we need to enjoy the process itself. If there is a rejection, then it is expected, keep our heads up and improve what needs to be improved.

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