Tuesday, June 13, 2006

These women inspire me

I've been here, I mean this one department in the university for about 14 years, as a first degree, Master's (later converted to PhD) student, tutor and now a lecturer. Except for about 21/2 years away while studying/working somewhere else, I knew that I'd come back and I worked to be accepted. During that many years here, I got to know a few ladies who had been my teachers, now colleagues and friends:

1. My boss
She is the head of the department, mother of 2 teenagers, 1 adolescent. I've been seeing her kids running around the department since they were small. Cute kids with blonde hairs. They go to school nearby.
She balances work and family well, and I learned from her. She just received profesorship recently.

2. One colleague
Also a mother of 3, but her youngest just finished the SPM and the eldest is now working. Had been seeing the kids around too.
She admitted she was not really 'succesful' in doing research. She told me that she stopped almost completely when one of the kids pleaded to her not to leave for a fieldtrip. She didn't have the heart.
She advised me to continue doing my research, suggested that I should concentrate on lab-based works as less travelling would be required. She made that mistake of choosing an area which required time away from the family, and she had decided to quit.
To me it really does not matter if she does not get the promotion, she is a great mother.

3. Another colleague
A mother to 4 girls, aged from 14 to 3 years old. They are also always around, the office is a stop between school and sekolah agama in the afternoon. She admitted that she is not good in multi-tasking.
As a lecturer, besides teaching, we are also loaded with administration works, and depending on individual, we choose to do our research at our own conveniences.

She has yet to finish her PhD.
But I told her, I love seeing her taking good care of the family and spending a lot of time with them. And I even asked her if the PhD really matters now, when she had been spending a lot the time for the family.

4. One staff at the other department
I met her last year and we just talked a bit. Read the conversation here.
About two months ago, all of us from different departments were called for a meeting to plan for the application for research grant under the RM9. I was surprised to see her as a speaker, and people calling her a prof. She must had been promoted recently too. I could not help it, I just smiled but I could not meet to say hi and to congratulate her. From the little conversation that we had, I just thought a mother would always reluctant to be away from her babies, even if she is a professor!

As for myself, the thought of travelling (and leaving my kids) always makes me worried. The only nights that I spent away from the kids were 5 nights away from Bea1 when I followed a caving trip to Sarawak, and 2 nights away from Bea2 when Bea1 was warded last year. The trip to Sarawak was awesome but I try not to do it again unless all girls can stay with the father. I doubt as wherever I go, hubby would plea (with puppy-eyes) to follow. Yes, he's been following me around like a shadow. We need change of roles, (I mean from the assistant in the field to babysitter) here, please!

Anyway, I carefully choose my research areas, and plan that I can bring the kids together, or try to just make day trips. We are given an allocation of one overseas trip per year by the university (more if you can find the money elsewhere), and I have not done mine. Told hubby, I would try to make the most of local conferences, and leaving the kids is not an option now.
I might be ready when the youngest is 10 years old, but the thing is I have already started to think about our 4th;).

I'm doing things when I'm comfortable with them. I have 2 projects, and they are huge by my standards. They require more crawling under narrow cave passages, getting dirty in some muddy rivers, and sweating under hot sun but I chose my areas to be confined in the peninsula, and in a few labs here and another university. And I'm about to explode with excitement to kick-off with them.

As for overseas trip, I will wait when we have enough money to bring everybody but I will try not to go anywhere near a Disneyland;).

I don't know much on how the ladies made it, but I surely will learn more from them;).

Ok, that's a very positive note (a long one) for the day!


Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

I would admire these women too. Achieving so much and yet can balance family life altogether.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time to comment after reading your blog for quite some time. - So, Dr. Wan is now a full Prof?
Congrats then


6:48 PM  
Anonymous simon said...

aww, that's nice. i'm sure they'll all be proud to read this...

11:58 AM  
Blogger Mama22Beas said...

Friday's child...I keep asking how they did it.

Anon...yes, she is. But now I'm wondering who you are;)

But Simon...I try not to let them know about this blog, my boss esp. ;).

4:27 PM  
Blogger WMD: Wife, Mother, Daughter said...

Hey looks like I found another lecturer-wannabe supermum. My PhD supervisor once told me to prepare to take away at least 5 years of my career for children. It is true and like you, having a young family, I have to coordinate my research plans accordingly. I guess it is all worthwhile.

3:06 PM  

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