Thursday, June 5, 2014

Demotivate Not. Inspire

This past few days had been yet another episode of crazy busy-ness. It was Final Year Project Presentation Week for the undergraduate students at my faculty. So yeah, out with the classes, in with the projects.

I wish I could say that my students flew through the entire viva session with flying colours, but it wasn't really the case, which of course, bruised my supervisory ego a bit considering these students of mine were really dilligent and worked so, so hard throughout the semester and they weren't the MIA type. They started dataset collection and training from the word 'go' and started coding from Week 3, met me weekly to update their progress, but in the end their 'ASSessor' had thought that their scope was too small, so... (the scope had been bigger initially, but they'd had to reduce it significantly to accommodate their end product by the end of Week 14). Their work was by no means worthy of Noble prize, but there was no error, it was complete, they even managed to do some validation tests on top of it (AND plenty of other projects were downright awful in comparison), so it shook me a bit. Kind of taking me back to my very own MSc viva experience, now that's a horror story, I tell you. 

Oh well... it was a good experience for all, I guess. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The girls regained their composure after a brief pep-talk where I told them it's going to be alright and that they should enjoy some time off and not think of their thesis until Monday. And that it doesn't matter how many times they get knocked out, it's how they bounce back that matters.

But I'm a bit troubled to see what a MEGA blow it was to the students. One had spoke to me before of wanting to pursue an MSc degree right after her degree (and she'd fare well I believe), but because of today's event, she's told me she's changed her mind, believing she's not good enough, (one of the assessor said something along the line of, 'Ukur baju di badan sendiri'). and this is from a student who hasn't yet graduated, but has been offered a job at MDeC.Something is amist, isn't it? Anyway, I feel bad that she believes this to be true, and even worst that the 'seed' that so carefuly I sow (potential postgraduate students) might just never blossom into a flower now.


I seriously need a break. Which is why I'm up a 2 a.m still. I'm planning a short getawat from work. Getting pretty tired of the drama. Even doing a PhD isn't this exhausting.

Then if I still feel the blues, perhaps I'll take a longer break. Postdoc seems like a VERY good option now :)

Coincidentally, a friend of mine write this on her wall today. How true!

A good educator will not only call her or his students or children when they do something bad, but call them when they do something right. Start inspiring, stop demotivating.

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