Mother of eight beats the odds to complete PhD


Compiled by C. ARUNO, PAVITHRA RAMAN and R. ARAVINTHAN

PREGNANCY may be perceived as a hindrance to pursue further education, but for a mother of eight who completed her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in three and a half years, the experience was all worth it, reported Utusan Malaysia.

Dr Zatilfarihiah Rasdi, who graduated on Sept 10 from UiTM after successfully completing her research in the field of dental biochemistry, discussed the challenges she encountered on her path to doctoral status.

The 38-year-old said the journey she underwent during her studies might not be the same as others as she was not only pursuing a demanding course of study but was also taking care of her children, age one to 14.

“Looking back, I really can’t imagine how I was able to go through all that as it was very challenging, especially with young children,” she added.

Zatilfarihiah, who is also a dentistry lecturer at the university, said her husband could not assist her with the children due to his career obligations.

She said time was the resource she had to sacrifice the most, particularly her personal leisure time, in order to guarantee that her research and thesis writing were completed on time.

“I wake up at 2am almost every day to study the journal and complete my thesis before I go to the laboratory from 8am to 5pm to do the lab work,” she added.

Zatilfarihiah said her parents had always helped her and taken care of her children whenever she was unable to and that her husband had always been encouraging and supportive of her academic pursuits.

Zatilfarihiah is among 116 post-graduate graduates in the field of medicine who received their degrees at the first convocation session of UiTM this year, some of whom had their graduations delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The above articles are compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

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