The path to realising one’s childhood dream
This decade weights heavily on my heart. I still remember vividly when I wrote my ambition of becoming a scientist in primary school. I was always fascinated those while lab coat scientist that you saw typically on TV shows. I used to dismantle toys to see the inner workings of it. It was this curiosity of desiring to understand how things works that drives me and subsequently lead me to this path of doing research in graduate school.
The past 10 years, I will say that I have put in a lot of effort in realising this dream of mine. I learnt physics through unconventional media, YouTube. I spend countless hours on practising exam questions so I can go to a reputable university. I have to compete in an unfair environment where skin colour matters more than merits. Leaving my home alone at the age of 19 to pursue this dream of becoming a scientist. Living independently for more than 7 years while being away from my family. It was hard and difficult but I managed to endure. I met many wonderful people that have impacted my life spiritually and professionally. Seeing How God has lead me from one place to another, leading me to meet wonderful people that literally change my life by keeping me staying true to my faith.
The end of a chapter
However all of these ends when I decided to believe the word of this Japanese professor. Assuming that intellectual people are wise and older people will able to mentor me towards the path of becoming a full fledge researcher, physicist. Only to discover at the end that I was merely a cheap labour for their experiment. Only to discover that they took me in because they need labour and not because of my ability or experiences. To naively believe them was a fatal error on my path. To simply believe that very email he send me is entirely my fault. There was no guidance, broken unrepairable equipments. I did not received any feedback for my work. That irresponsible retired halfway through my doctoral program, threw the supervision responsibility to his associate professor. Even the courtesy to inform me was not even there. The laboratory’s equipments were all outdated and some are in unusable state because it is broken or simply no one around knew how to use it. I came up with my own original research idea but only to be rejected by them without telling me the reasons. I was just simply lost and lack all revenue of resources to do any reasonable research.
The thoughts of that I could end my life came up multiple time during the past year. I wish that I was involve in an accident or diagnosed with a serious illness so I can end this miserable doctoral experiences. The future of becoming a scientist is uttering destroyed as there is not a single glimpse that I could obtain a doctoral degree which is needed to progress. Going back Malaysia was never an option because of my past experience of being discriminated in the environment I was brought up in. I saw first-hand of how ethnic Chinese Malaysian being pass over work promotion because the other Malay has “more children” through my own parents. Seeing how I was not offer of any opportunity while sitting at the side watching my Malay classmate who is much less achieved than I am obtain a fully paid scholarship to study at the private local college and to study abroad in North America. Being an ethnic Chinese Malaysian, I felt that I was a constant disadvantages and being treated like a 2nd class citizen.
I did not want to face that constant judgement and evaluation by my parent’s friends at church. That 3 months break I had when I was back home in Malaysia, I never felt at home, there was no one I knew in the church. I felt more like an foreigner when I am back home in Malaysia after all these years abroad alone. That envy of some church members of unable to believe that a non-professional parents of mine were able to send their child abroad for a better education. Unable to believe that I was able to obtain a fully paid scholarship for a doctoral studies. Those people that were unable to understand why I choose to study physics instead of the more common engineering that is more acceptable in Malaysia.
I felt If I were to die at the moment. I can end this misery of mine right now without worrying those things. I wish that if I die, the higher up in the graduate school will take serious action on those professors that took in reckless amount of foreign doctoral student. That I can get the graduate school to revoke the emeritus professorship that professor holds. That I can ge the graduate school to seriously re-evaluate that associate professor. That I will be the last ever student that these professor will ever supervise and that there will no longer be any more victims of these professors ever again. It was a dangerous thoughts.
The past 3 years, my own mental health took a hit. I experienced a panic attack, depressive and suicidal thoughts. It was difficult for me to smile. I really wanted to get angry and shout at these people who ruined my career path to a physicist. I wanted to be angry at these people that never took on the responsibility or feel sorry for any of their student. I wanted to be angry on the behalf of my senior who all has been cheated and ruined by these professor. I really wished that the careers of these professor will be forever stain and be over in the academia. However, I knew that I was utterly powerless and nothing could be done to make these people realised their lack of compassion.
I have to force myself to come to terms that my careers path in academia is decisively over. There is no way to recover from this. I am forced to leave and forgo my dream of ever becoming a physicist. IT IS HARD to give give up. But to protect myself and for my own mental well being, It is something I have to do. Concluding this phase of my life, it will take a considerable time for me to accept this reality. I am still learning to do so.
The Next Decade
I can only wish I find a new passion, find a new job to forget this painful experience.