The path towrad PhD

A blog by Mathcomp

Final version printed

by Mathcomp
on August 26, 2016
Here I am again, sitting at this Japanese restaurant waiting for my noodle soup to be served. Last time I came here, it was with Mr. S. He bought me lunch. I went for a simple food and he ordered the fanciest food he could. He was indeed a good-food lover. It was the day before my submission. I was in a similar mood as today, in a rush and kinda stressed.

I lost a few hundred dollars today. I had withdrawn some cash to pay for biding my thesis because the store did not accept cards. And the money was nowhere before I arrive the store. Sigh, it is too painful to lose money for nothing.

Life is going tooo fast these days. Days are too long with too many little or big tasks to get done every day. But I finally submitted the final version of the thesis. ...

Passed with minor corrections!

by Mathcomp
on August 17, 2016
So, I finished the corrections today. 2 of the examiners had complained about my English and all were impressed with the amount of job done and also with the results. I never felt I am a great PhD student but now that it is over, I'm so proud of the thesis. I can't believe I did it. Given the circumstance, no one could do this.

There were times when I hated the thesis, I felt I my PhD is going worse than anyone else and I'm not smart anymore. There were times that I lived stress and woke up to no hope. But not even once I thought I should give up. I was constantly looking for ways to make things better. The many nights I went for a long walk/run around the lake by myself to think deeply to find out what step can I take to help myself. ...

Life after PhD

by Mathcomp
on August 10, 2016
Well, it is not actually life *after* PhD yet. As there are some formal process to go through. The examiners liked my thesis and I am passed with minor revisions, mostly English mistakes. Currently life is super fast and I can't believe I am actually keeping up.

So, I applied for some some jobs over a year ago (before finishing) and I got two offers: a post-doc and a faculty position in my home country. I decided to reject the offers.

1. Since then, apart from a huge amount of casual jobs, I only applied for one full-time job and I was invited for the interview today. It was a job in industry. The company has very interesting projects and smart engineers. They are using the cutting edge technologies and doing really brainy stuff. ...


by Mathcomp
on June 13, 2016
Some other day I write about life after submission in general. But today I want to focus I my tasks for publications:

1. Exts (In two weeks) *****
2. Gen (Later)
3. Qua (Later)

1. bip (I think it is important to have this first)
2. gir
3. others


by Mathcomp
on January 24, 2016
I submitted a few days ago. It feels good, it really does but it is not like what I thought, that I would have a stroke out of happiness.

I often read here about the Post-submisson depression and I noticed it in a couple of friends too. So I was alert about it but my feelings are not going anywhere close to the depression. Few years back, my life had several dimensions that included a lot of socialising. After a year or two into my PhD candidature, I learned that it's not going to work this way. One day when I was complaining about how I can't help prioritising the social life over PhD, Pete told me:

"Remember finishing the PhD needs sacrifice. Are you willing to sacrifice?"

This sentence affected me greatly. ...

Struggling to start

by Mathcomp
on September 20, 2015
Well, well, well!

Here I am struggling with starting a task! I know how to deal with it! Don't I? I do...

Work and Sexuality

by Mathcomp
on September 05, 2015
Life is going on! I'm back to the study mode again. A lot has happened since my last post, regarding my PhD and job application. In short, I have one postdoc and one faculty member position offered. I'll accept one if I couldn't get a better offer.

But yeah, I'm back to study mode thanks to suppi giving me a task, to the mountain on which I can always restart after a long break, and to my new outfits and nail polish.

Dave said work and sexuality are like two engines we need both to have a happy life. Correct . Going for shopping, being stylish, painting my nails, feeling beautiful is a big part of me. They make me happy. That's right I am a female AND a scientist.

So for today:

1. ...


by Mathcomp
on July 19, 2015
Well, a month is gone during which I managed to ^almost^ finish a chapter. Only if I could get rid of that "almost"...

I can't get back to writing before Thursday. Today and yesterday I spent time just on the Visa application. Tomorrow should go to the classes and Tuesday I have an interview. The recruiter is from Ireland. So the the interview will be too early for me, gotta wake up at 6 am! On Wednesday gonna study for the exam of the Thursday evening.

I hope I can finish preparing documents for the Visa by then and I'll be good to go back to my normal routine with emphasis on writing.


First postdoc offer (My first official job offer ever)

by Mathcomp
on July 03, 2015
There were some bad happenings but I was relatively indifferent. It seems I've started to only care about things related to my PhD or job applications. This can be not good in a long run but for now that's just how it is and I don't want to make any effort to change it.

I have had an unproductive fortnight I guess. I was working but stuck in a loop. Today I managed to break the loop and kept the writing going on (It cost me a cup of tea at the hotel).

The breaking news is I've got an offer from IP. I remember I was very unhappy with my interview. I knew they appreciated my work but I was worried I looked too young and unprofessional. The interviewers and the two other candidates I met were so formal. I thought they won't find me a good fit.

Happy again :)

by Mathcomp
on June 16, 2015
I feel happy again after about two hard weeks of not being able to write, or as Suppi calls it having a Writer's block.

But after two weeks of struggling to find a way to make myself start the PG chapter, I finally found it. This time it was at the restaurant of a ^classy^ hotel where they charged me double for the beverage I ordered, justifying it as the extra fee!! I don't like the idea but I'm happy to pay anything to break the writer's block. It was a big, uncrowded place at the top level with big glasses as the wall. I enjoyed watching the city from above. There is something about high places that increases my motivation and determination. So I stayed there for about 3 hours and wrote 4 pages! I now expect a week or two of productivity. :)


When the night is done

by Mathcomp
on June 15, 2015
Nothing gives easy
Easy gives nothing
I’m just trying to keep income coming in

Dawn is bound to break
When the night is done
Always darker days, before brighter ones

Life is not at its best

by Mathcomp
on June 14, 2015
I'm still trying to push myself to start the new chapter. Life is not at its best these days and I'm not the happiest. Lots of flashbacks come to the mind and I criticise myself, the situations and the others. I guess that is what happens whenever I feel stuck in writing.

I know when I get to the writing mode, all these bad feelings will be gone and I'll be happy and enjoy life. I just can't connect to this idea A.T.M. Later . .

The wave

by Mathcomp
on June 08, 2015
Ups and downs, my time as a PhD student is going on. I have tense days ahead for a week or two where I should work hard to make my future state very clear. My focus should be on the Visa application. Preparing new enrolment documents and other docs can be complicated. I should be ready for a hard time. It is stressful but I WILL survive. The thing is the rest of the paperworks don't really take much time but I need to be patient and manage not to be distracted from writing! It is very important. .......

Sghati has not answered my last email. I think he's on holidays. I'm eager to know if he confirms the points I mentioned about our papers. If I'm wrong then there would be some ideas to learn about and this will help improve my understanding of the method. ...

Extending My Leave

by Mathcomp
on May 29, 2015
So I applied for an extra two months of extension to my leave. Just to buy extra two months to finish thesis. All together I have now 5 months.

The weather is getting warm and humid. Mosquitos enjoy themselves biting me at nights. Talked to OfficeBesty this evening after a long time not being in touch with her. A lot has happened since I left. Many of my friends have submitted their theses. While I was happy for them hearing this, but it particularly made me feel bad about myself. Most of them had started their PhDs when I was already a PhD student for a while (1 year or so). But I know comparing myself with others is not fair. We were in different situations, had different life styles, personalities and goals. ...

Tonight I'll sleep in peace :)

by Mathcomp
on May 27, 2015
I had 2/3 busy weeks where I applied for a (n unsuccessful) postdoc position, traveled to T where I had an interview, gave a talk at a top institute, caught up with old friends(after 3-4 years), relatives and my previous supervisors, attend a very important talk by Sydvil, attended/helped with the wedding of my cousin, finished a chapter of my thesis and proof-read my Sghati's paper while spending a few nights at Sora and Sanmbesty's places. We watched Her and The Theory of Everything.

It was very stressful earlier, preparing all those cover letters, research proposals and slides under the heavy wight of the nagging thesis asking to be finished. It's all done now and I'm happy I managed to socialise and have some fun too.


Sghati's paper

by Mathcomp
on May 23, 2015
ok, ok, whatever!

It's time to edit Sghati's paper! Uuuffff!
Where do I start?
Why am I hesitating? It's because I don't like what they wrote at all. I mean the structure they decided to go with. It is hard and confusing. And they don't listen to me. Coz they are senior, more experienced and know better about the problem of the paper. I agree but I surely know better about this part. Any how I'll just have the paper on my CV. Their fault if it the part related to my contribution is not explained as nice! :| ok!

The other issue is they write about those formal proofs that I don't want to get there! ugh! ----> I can only ignore that part for the sake of now!

Ahhh these pure mathematicians!!!

Having a lot on my plate

by Mathcomp
on May 20, 2015
Well, well, well .. I have a lot on my plate. But these days I heard a bunch of good news about the people I like. So I'm all happy and I have a good positive energy to work, work and work. :)

Let's see what I have on my plate:

1. Replying to emails ... this is like eating, a never ending task... But today I want to reply to ALL emails, including email to supi, scooti to ask for recom letter and update them on my progress (I know the latter one sucks but I'd feel terribly good afterward:) + writing to Dave (I saw him in my dreams last night, he was breaded, haha, and he was giving me some advice , probably on PhD. lol) and Bita.

2. Prepare the docs for IP (yes, I like to get it, right :)

3. ...

Today was a long day! (SydVil + first postdoc interview)

by Mathcomp
on May 12, 2015
It was a long day indeed.
Last night, I could only sleep 2/3 hours. I equally blame the mosquitos and the bad sleeping routine for that. In the morning, I went to the uni where I had pursued my master to attend a very important talk by SydVil, the famous French scientist. It was such an honer to see him in person. The theatre was full, people were sitting on even the stairs or standing at the back. It was funny there was a live streaming just outside of the theatre for many other poor students standing outside who could not get in. SydVil was dressed up like a French gentleman in 18th. His look was interesting and odd at the same time. Apparently he usually dresses up like that. ...

10 May 2015

by Mathcomp
on May 10, 2015
Since last night, I have not been able to concentrate and work. I felt being depressed and anxious. But I have learned my lesson after 4 years of being a PhD student. I knew why I feel so, I knew I'll feel well soon again and I knew how to help myself.

So this afternoon, I decided to stop worrying about the deadlines. After all nothing, I mean NOTHING, is more important than me being happy and relaxed.

So, I took my time, went to a hair dresser, waxed by face and had my eyebrows plucked and coloured. Then I went to one of those manicure salon and had my nails a nice colour and a simple white french. Later I bought a nice pair of shoes. They are not the most comfortable ones but I really can't spend more time to look for shoes. I enjoy looking good. ...

7 May 2015

by Mathcomp
on May 06, 2015
1. Apply for the postdoc to DB
2. finish the chapter
3. bank
4.Slides for IP
5. Slided for IB
6. GGL
7. VIZ

4 May 2015 + My first Postdoc interview

by Mathcomp
on May 03, 2015
The plan for Today was:
Done 1.8:30 wake up
Done 2. Rewrite the section "Future work for Lab" : 8:30-12:30
Half Done 3. After noon till night: Writing or planning for section of Gen

The good news is today I received my first invitation to an interview for a POSTDOC! Oh man, this is great. I like the institute but the problem is the sam; not sure if I want to live there + the salary might not be high enogh! But any ways I'll go for the interview just to be introduced to them for potential future collaboration and also to learn from my weaknesses and potential mistake in an interview for a postdoc.

Plans for tomorrow:
1. finish the section gen section
2. call/meet bestyinRash/ cousinpo
3. Apply for QU

2 May 2015

by Mathcomp
on May 02, 2015

Few days ago I finally got to write back to Suppi after a very long time. I feel very bad about it and he has not replied yet. When leaving C, Suppie had asked me to keep in touch very frequently. Any how the past is past.

The good thing is I could eventually write down the proof. So I can start working as normal.

The plan is to finish this chapter by the end of Sunday. Finger crossed. Tomorrow I'll be a bit distracted with some family affairs but other than that, I should do my best to be dedicated. The remaining tasks for this chapter is:

For tomorrow morning (should take less than 2 hours):

1. ...


by Mathcomp
on April 29, 2015
This post is just a test!

My first interviews

by Mathcomp
on April 23, 2015
I had two interviews with two different groups this week at uni of G. The first one which was actually my first interview ever was with E dep. It was ok and I was confident but they didn't ask many scientific questions. It was mostly about my background. I didn't get the feeling they are particularly interested in hiring me. On the other hand, The interview the day after at M dep went really good. I got a chance to talk to other candidates. And I knew I did better. They also tried to challenge my various skills and knowledge. In the communications afterward with the committee I found them really interested in me, trying to convince me their department would be a good place for me. They have stablished a new group and are struggling to find some PhDs in the related field. ...

The tropical island of thesis

by Mathcomp
on April 18, 2015
I miss my thesis, all those facts more true than any reality that take me to the world where not many people has the advantage of getting in. It is like your boat reaches to a random tropical island. You step in all by yourself. It's beautiful. You explore it, tree by tree. Far from lies, meanness and policies, their fruits are just 'true' and 'false'. The trunk is the reasoning... zZz .. TBC

April 18 2015

by Mathcomp
on April 18, 2015
That's a long time I Haven't been writing here. It was encouraging reading my previous blog-posts. So I thought I should write again. Not sure if it can still help. Staying back with parents, far away from uni and suppi, with too much distractions and no any other PhD-fellow around to get some motivation from.

Sometimes it feels like there is a lack of some substance in my body that paralyses me, leaves me unable to do any thing productive, not even thinking or planning and this is despite my strong intention and external pressures to finish my thesis, do the required paper works and apply for jobs. I wish it was possible to inject a magic thing into my blood that returns the motivation and energy back to me and takes this nagging feel of guilt away from me.



by Mathcomp
on November 12, 2014

Nov 7

by Mathcomp
on November 07, 2014
18:35 at office,

Yesterday I went for a run with Sam which was nice and helpful but I'd better not to set a time for running in advance coz it just makes me stop working when I'm really into it.

Today I talked to Teachfriend. We shared our writings goals. I should stick to it! But Can I?

Tomorrow I'm going out of town for hiking and camping over night. Should take my paper to work. hum?

Plans for Tomorrow and the day after:
1. Reviewing Rad's paper and thinking about the possible improvement (Luk's question: why not a bigger basis???)
2. Reviewing my new idea--> writing thins down

Plan for tonight:
1. Read suppi's recommendations
2. ...

A prize for the first draft

by Mathcomp
on November 05, 2014
Wednesday 13:19 at the office:

I keep it short coz should finish my report but I noticed nothing can turn me on like plan for a trip. And this time I made this plan to visit a series of Arab countries in Feb, if I manage to finish my firs draft. I know it is hard but the price is also amazing.


Nov 2, 2014 Sunday

by Mathcomp
on November 02, 2014
17:39 At office! I can't do any work but wasting time! Don't know how to force myself to work! May be I go for a run with Sam! Hope it helps!

Oct 30

by Mathcomp
on October 30, 2014
Ok, Yesterday I did no work but I met a number of friends briefly that busted my energy. I also talked to officebesty. We decided to help each other online. We tried it today. It does not work as much!

Today I came to Uni around 3! Confirmed the previous conf financial reimbursement and prepared my Visa application for the next conference. Now I can not do more till I hear back from admins!

Suppi asked me to start a task! Right today! I think he wants me to be back on track to the project! Well, I should ..


Done Today 1. Case 34
tomorrow 2. VC report
tomorrow 3. Clean my office
Done tomorrow: 4 OSHC + sealed letters

----------- weekend ------------------


oct 28

by Mathcomp
on October 27, 2014
It is not going well! I lost the string! Came back from a 6-weeks overseas trip and officebesty is gone, There is no one to wake me up in the morning, walk me to the office and listen to my everyday plan. I was so motiveted during my trip. But now Being jet lagged, I don't know how to come back on track. I need some one who can encourage me. Dating Jord is not helping. We are far apart and he lives in a different atmosphere. May be it's time to visit uni consouling! if I could wake up early.

Oct 23

by Mathcomp
on October 23, 2014
I'm back! Maybe I write about my trip here and there on my Blog later but now I want to focus on what should be done:
By the end of this week:

Done 1. Move in (hard job)
Done 2. Sup Bday gift, a creative one??
Done just VC report has left 3. Finish all paper works regarding this trip (including report to VC)
Done just needed to be posted and submitted 4. All paperwork (visa+approval+ticket) for the conference
5. Email to Ank and rad (So I have to talk to Suppi about and think)

Sep 30

by Mathcomp
on September 30, 2014
I know, I know! I have a lot to do! Let's get into it!

Sep 24

by Mathcomp
on September 24, 2014
I had a big journey so far! Being on a number(12) of flights, trains and buses between cities, staying more than 6 cities (stoping at even more ) for in two weeks! Should change my name to mathcopolo! :D
I gave two talks in two conferences, met important or interesting people and gain more life experience.
I'm planning to visit briefly two more universities. The bad thing is that I feel a bit less motivated. Not sure what the reason is? Is that because I am tired? Or maybe coz I have been away from work for a while? Or many the researcher I met all work on theoretical parts which sound boring to me!!

Any how, I don't have time to be unmotivated. Should motivate myself and get back on track!

1. CV
Done 2. Todo emails
3. ...


by Mathcomp
on September 24, 2014


by Mathcomp
on September 24, 2014


by Mathcomp
on September 24, 2014


by Mathcomp
on September 24, 2014


by Mathcomp
on September 24, 2014


by Mathcomp
on September 24, 2014

Sep 11

by Mathcomp
on September 10, 2014
00:12 Sep 11 at office!

Rushing and stress defined my day today (Sep10). I'm very stressed. I'm scared. I have to leave in 5 hours. Wish had accepted it when BestyS offered to stay with me tonight! Feel it's too much for me to handle. I'm not ready. Don't know what I'm doing. Wish I was still a kid, dad doing everything for me I just enjoyed life. Strong, independent but the reality is I have fear in my heart. I don't know what I am doing. After all those effort can I just not go?

Sep 9

by Mathcomp
on September 08, 2014
1. Wake up: 8:30 + a nice breaky + watching TV ..
2. 9:30 start packing ---> 12:30
3. walk to career centre

To do before I leave:

1. Moving out + cleaning + officials + arranging my money back
2. Contact T to sell the fridge
3. packing clothes and stuffs + ducoment + office note ...
4. printing all my tickets
5. Slides
6. Checking hotel In W and in C

Sep 6

by Mathcomp
on September 05, 2014
Done 1. 7:30 wake up + morning routine
Done 2. 8:00 walk to office
Done 3. 8:30 start work
4. Modify the literature on O-method (an obj is acc iff it is can-lab) on trello, tehsis and cof slide
Done 5. Edit the fist slide
Done 6. Resume (Editing)
Done 7. Photo-walk (at 2:00)
8. Second slides
9. Going through all todo emails

10. The new idea (just one more try on the proof: 1 hour + add them to the future section of thesis)
Done 11. One video or article on interviews

proving the new method ---> Done on Sep7 (now should mainly think around it that in which way it can be more useful)
notes on the last project


by Mathcomp
on September 04, 2014
Now 23:30, today Sep 4, me at office! I woke up at 6:30 and worked on the new idea in bed for about 2 hrs but right after I wrote the algorithms, I went to sleep again till about 10:30. So I came to office around mid-day.

Till now I was only working of my slides. So many images to create using stupid xfig. It is almost done, Just 2,3 last pages remained. The massage for each slide is written but need a good polish and a bit of thinking (1-2 hours may) but no image or creativity needed. So I totally stop working till maybe my flight. But I should show it to suppi tomorrow.

Done 1. 8:00 wake up + morning routine
Done 2. 8:30 walk to office
Done 3. 8:45 start work
Done 4. Programming: combining my removal program and Suppi's dry one
5. ...

Sep 3

by Mathcomp
on September 02, 2014
Done 6:30-7 morning routine
Done 7:00 AM walk to office (shooting?)
Done 7:30 start work:
Don 1. Design slides for conf2
2. Finish content of slides for conf1
Done 3. Meeting with suppi on
This : a. My slides
Done b. Sup with the last project
Done c. My idea for a new method ----> So far, so good
Done 4. Ask admins to fix my Pc and reimbursement application
Done(not accomplished) 5. Write proofs on the new method
Done 6. Finish the literature on O-method
Done 7. Gym
8. Had more time? Work on notes on last project
Done 9. One video or article on interviews

To do for Sep 2

by Mathcomp
on September 01, 2014
7:00 getting up (just think of the email )
7-8: morning routine: shower, breaky, cooking lunch
8-9: photo walk around the lake and then to the office
9:00 start work:

a. Write our idea with Suppi about a very new heuristic method (maybe I can add them to the future work section of my thesis)
b. Finishing up the literature on the other two method, add them to my thesis
c. Prepare the slides. Finishing up and present it to suppi (so that I can do presi + real figures the day after)
d. Designing the slides for the second conf

Sep 1

by Mathcomp
on September 01, 2014
It's 16:52! I'm writing here not to spam the forum. I did most of the tasks for today (all of the scary ones). I just need to seat and design my talk (Which is fun) and do a bit more work on literature.

Ok there was a bit disturbing stories around that I want to avoid totally from now on. So back to work. I want to do some more on my talk and then head to gym a bit. Though I woke up too early this morning and won't be as energetic today but this is what I love and help me to have more peace of mind. Then I come back and write tomorrows todo list and headhome to work more toward my trip.

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