Presentation Rehearsal and Tahlilan


It was Sunday (23/06/2013). It was a quite sunny day. And the big thing was that it was a day before the day of my first year review Viva. In the morning I lay down my body to my bed while reading my report and checking my presentation file. I added some notes on my presentation slides to help my self  finding the clue what I should say during the presentation.

In the afternoon, I went to the campus, at the University building along with Arif and Pak Isa. We went to Portland building for making Dhuhur prayer jamaah. As usual, at weekends the mosque is so quiet, there were few brothers came to the mosque. After Duhur prayer, we went to Hallward library. I managed to carried out rehearsal for my presentation tomorrow. It  was not my habit, indeed. I am not perfectionist willing to perfection for everything. I much prefer spontaneous on what  everything I did, and I really enjoyed it. However, I just read a quote.

It will never work completely for the first time. Trust Me !

that changed my mind to at least make a preparation for the Viva. Really, it was one of the most important point of my long PhD journey that will confirmed my PhD student status. If I am FAILED, my PhD studies will be terminated and I will be kicked out from the University. It will be very embarrassing me, isn’t it?

In the library, I we met Mas Walid looking for some referential books for his Master dissertation. Luckily, he agreed to see my presentation. I was so happy then. I booked a discussion room at the ground level of the library.  It was well-equipped discussion room. a PC with Wide-screen LCD  monitor, electronic color marker, and cozy tables. So, I had three audiences at the moment. Arif recorded video of my presentation and Mas Walid kept the time. The actual presentation will be 15 minutes only. So, I must manage my time wisely in order to keep my presentation material delivered thoroughly well.

Then, I started my presentation seriously. I pretended that I was in the real examinations. Mas Walid, Arif, and Pak Isa also looked serious pretending that they are my real examiners. As usual, at the beginning of my presentation I felt very nervous. Although it was simply rehearsal, but I still felt quite nervous. It made me have some language barriers. I wanted to say something, but I did not find words to say. It made my presentation rather annoying. But, after five minutes, I felt comfort and confident delivering my presentation.


After the presentation, I got valuable feedback from mas walid, arif, and pak Isa. They enthusiastically gave me encouraging comments and feedback. They said I told too much at the beginning that make the presentation boring. But, overall the presentation was quite clear. I spent 28 minutes to finish my presentation, whereas I should spend not more than 15 minutes. All in All, I should deliver the presentation more concisely by skipping unimportant part of my slide. Arif suggested to reduce the number of my presentation slides. Thanks dude. I felt very lucky to have them.

After the presentation rehearsal, we went home. We would held “tahlilan” and “istigotsah” in Arif ‘ house after Ashar. So, we prepared the food for it. I and arif cooked Mie ayam aka Chicken Noodle, Mas Walid cooked pisang goreng aka fried banana, and Pak Isa prepared Telo goreng aka fried cassava and sweet potatoes. It was so amazing that all the chef were men. Somehow, sometime cooking is enjoyable.

By the way, it was our first experience to cook chicken noodle. We had no experience before how to make it. Luckily, Arif got the algorithm (we called it instead of recipe) from his lovely wife.  We just follow, step by step instruction we had written on a piece of white paper. But, we did not follow exactly how much the proportion of the ingredient suppose to put in. We just followed our instinct.

The secret behind the chicken noodle was the truly Indonesian ingredients such as Kunyit aka Turmeric , Jahe (ginger), and Laos (galingle).  Those make distinction on the food we made.

After everything was ready at 5 PM. Thanks God, Pak Hadi Susanto also came on time. He is Indonesian who become  a lecturer in Mathematical Science department in the University of Nottingham. We are proud of him. He came with his oldest son. Other Indonesian friends i.e.   Pak Sukirno and Pak Abdurrahman also came to Arif house. We started with Ashar Prayer jamaah, and eat together. and it was our master piece the “Mie Ayam” aka chicken noodle with ABC soy sauce, the top brand soy sauce in Indonesia.

Finishing the food, we start the main “course” Tahlilan. It was the first time we held Tahlilan in Nottingham. In Indonesia, especially in rural area, Tahlilan was regularly held in weekly basis on every Thursday night.  After Tahlilan, Pak Hadi delivered his encouraging speech as we requested for. He shared his experience when he studied for his master and doctoral degree in TU Delf, in Holland. Living in the country so far away from home land, He strongly encouraged us to frequently get together with Indonesian friends in order to encourage each other, to advise and remind each other. Because living far away from family is not easy thing and the passion of studying in the University is sometime up and down.  Again, like in other live, it is not problem-free life. Thus, we need some one else to share with. He also reminded to build networking with people from other countries by socializing with them. It would be worthy to do and fruitful in the future.

He also shared  his experience dealing with PhD students as well as How to succeed as PhD student in the University. He gave some example of students who failed their PhD. He explained in detail Why some students failed their PhD either in their annual review or in the final Viva foce. It was so beneficial us as PhD students in the University. Thanks a lot Pak Hadi.

To be remembered in the future time, here we were:


From left to right : Pak Abdurahman (Phd Student at School of Biology, The University of Nottingham), Pak Isa (Phd Student at School of Media and Communication, The University of Hul), Pak Hadi Susanto (Lecturer  at School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Nottingham), Mas Walid Ishom (M.A Student at School of School of Sociology and Social Policy, The University of Nottingham), M. Ziaul Arif (M.Sc. Student at School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Nottingham), Pak Sukirno (Ph.D. Student at School of Animal Sciences, The University of Nottingham), Mas Alaudin (Ph.D. Student at School of Chemistry, The University of Nottingham), and Me (Ph.D. Student at School of Computer Sciences, The University of Nottingham).

We had the same background, we were the members of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)-the largest Islamic mass organisation in Indonesia, UK chapter. We would held Tahlilan regularly in monthly basis.

Thanks God, for the day.

Gloomy Monday, Life is never Easy


It was Monday (10/06/2013). I went to the campus very late. The problem was, I went to bed again after making tahajud, hajat, witir, jamaah subuh prayer, and Istigotsah. I just woke up at 08.45. It was the worst in this summer session. I used to went to the campus at 6.00 am. I had an appointment for Search history study in Mixed Reality Lab with a first year PhD student at 10.00 am. I did it for the sake of £15 money and I was curious how the research was. I met him on time. It was surprising me that he just started his PhD within 5 months and he was carrying out an experiment for a paper for a workshop. He was a quite productive student, isn’t it. I was so envious with him. Apparently, we got problem in exporting the history file to xml file and it caused the experiment to be cancelled to next week. At least, I had a small discussion with him. We shared the same opinion that, PhD is some time very boring and Life is never easy.

I was quite so sad. I did not get feed back for my report from my supervisor already after I submit to him a month ago. I just got minor feedback from my second supervisor only. I tried to read again and comment to my own report. Apparently, I my self, still found my own mistakes. I also managed to convert from lateX version to word version manually. Fortunately, I found a useful link from the internet that can convert pdf to word automatically. So, I just let the software do for me and I am focusing on proof reading my report.

Again, today I felt so lonely.  I was so sad without did not know the reason. I really needed someone to share with. I really needed someone to discuss and talk with. But, I found nothing. I just discussed with my own. I had some lab mates, but we worked on different project and my lab mates rarely come to the Lab. Oh, sometime PhD was very lonely journey. It was not easy thing, indeed. When I felt lonely, I came to facebook and youtube and it was decreasing my productivity significantly. Oh God, it was very not easy thing.  I did really want to be very diligent and hard working student, but I still can not. It was so daunting day.

In the afternoon, I went to the University Park for submitting my claim form for my Invigilating work after submitting the similar claim form for marking works in school of computer science office. I made Duhur prayer jamaah at Portland Building and met some friends from Indonesia. At least, It gave me a light smiles for this gloomy day.

In my random walk in Facebook, I found link shared by one of my friends. It was about Bu Een, a paralyzed senior teacher, the winner of recent SCTV Liputan 6 award. Despite of her physical limitation, she was still inspiring the others with education. She reminded me to never give up even though we were in very difficult situation and sometime we were so tired and bored. We should be strong and steadfast in facing each single stage of this Life.


Thank you very much Bu Een for Inspiring me today. Oh God, please help me. Come to my heart and close to me. I need a lasting friend in my heart and it is you. God, please hold my heart tight  and never leave me alone.