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Sunday, March 25, 2007

The importance of the 'Acknowledgement'

Recently, our school had quite a number of vivas (is that the plural of 'viva'?) And as usual, with every viva, there's a story behind it so since a number of them have been happening, a lot of stories have also been circulating, especially considering ALL vivas have had the 'external examiner' from hell. I especially remember the soft-spoken Quazzi to come back from his viva with quite a bit of anger for his external, and thats a first. He's never EVER even raised his voice!

So just now, me, Abdullahi and Quazzi were discussing about viva and thesis writing. It was just a bit of sharing and gossiping (still about external examiners from hell haha..).

Now, first, let me say.. Despite the 'external examiners from hell' my fellow students had to endure, I was quite lucky. Apparently both my external and internal (whom I was quite afraid of since he's been known to be VERY strict) examiners liked my report. This doesn't actually mean that I did a superb job on it but I guess they felt good reading it haha.. what am I trying to say here, huh?

Lets put it this way, they liked it enough to give very minimal comments that both my supervisors and the deputy deans thought it'd be a breeze for me in my viva. Kak Ros even thought I'd manage to get '1' for my viva. Guess they might've forgotten how jittery and panicky I get everytime I have to talk in front of an audience heheh.. They didn't know that my 45-minute viva felt like ages as I kept stumbling upon my words and didn't actually answer the questions asked to me!!! And another thing is, I only knew WHY I got it easy after our 'discussion' just now which I'm about to write about..

Anyway, the morning of my viva, as I got outta the car, I was greeted by Dr Sanusi who commented that he'd bet my viva would be over in a matter of minutes (hahah.. the power of writing is not really as great as the power of actually defending your thesis!). Secretly crossing my fingers (hahah!!), I just smiled at him as the panic, which hadn't surfaced in the two weeks I had known of my viva, started to rise in me..

As I was starting to feel dizzy and sick in my stomach, he suddenly turned to me and said, "By the way! I really love your acknowledgement.. its like reading a story and I'm not the only one who agrees on this!"

For a while, I forgot about feeling sick!!

Acknowledgement?

I..
don't..
really..
get..
it..

I mean, does anyone EVER read the acknowledgement? OMG!!!

To me, the 'acknowledgement' is the ONLY part of the whole thesis which is NOT technical and NOT academically inclined. Its something you write from your heart, the ONLY part which you can jumble up a few languages and be silly.. where you can be emotional or be angry.. where you try to make up to people (especially to your supervisor la..) or try to give a back-to-you to the father who forced you in the first place haha.. which unfortunately I did ALL!

AND.. I didn't expect the academic 'people' to read it anyway.. thought they'd go straight to the academic stuff..

Aiyak!!! Malu.. should've changed it and been more careful in writing it haha..

Fast forward to a few months later..

We were talking about the pressure in doing research and (I commented on) how important friends are when your family isn't here when Abdullahi laughed and asked me, "Just like you, ah?"

I was confused until he started talking about how afraid I was of using this room at first and had waited till the last minute to finally move down here from my room upstairs. I laughed as I remembered it and was surprised when Quazzi agreed and commented on how I had written about it in my acknowledgement.. which made me ask him, "You mean you READ my acknowledgement?"

He just laughed and told me, most people I know DO read my acknowledgement, especially since nearly everyone's name is in it haha.. but what surprised me was when Abdullahi told me, Dr Meor, my internal examiner, told him it was a very good acknowledgement (which made me wonder, what DID I write in my acknowledgement?)

Frankly, its just an eccentric kinda writing and I've been reading it a few more times after Dr Sanusi had commented on it and still feel there's nothing special in it, but I felt a bubble of pride surging inside of me.. for about a minute before Abdullahi burst it!!!

Hahah.. apparently Dr Meor had been talking about my writing with Abdullahi and when he talked about my acknowledgement, he told Abdullahi it was among the best he had ever read. Why? Because he said, it made him laugh.. he said, whomever read that piece of writing was sure to feel a dose of empathy and sympathize with me..

(WHAAATTT?!!?!?!)

And he's sure, whatever mistake I did in my writing would be forgiven after people read my supposedly heart-felt acknowledgement as it made people feel like they wanna make me happy..

Uwaaaaaaaa.. I dunno if I should feel insulted or.. or.. or.. insulted!

Hahah.. and here I was, thinking that finally, my technical writing (which I've never been good at) is acceptable to the experts in the field.. sheesh!!! Talk about bursting your bubble..

Uwaaaa.. I finally find out I still suck!!!

Damn!

So here's the conclusion I made to Abdullahi, something I have to remind myself when I finally pursue my PhD --> Take really good care of your acknowledgement to gain as much sympathy from the examiners. If it pricks into their supposedly heart of stone, you're safe! Don't EVER make light of your acknowledgement as (in my case), it could really save you! Hahah..

And I am humbled.. heheh..

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