When Doubt, Fear, and Worry Turn Into A Miracle

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Being in the last semester of my study for Master program in Clean Energy and Chemical Engineering major at Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), I was still not really happy with my work productivity. Although I have completed all the required class work credits, I still did not have any paper for my graduation.

In order to graduate by August 2014, I should be able to get my paper accepted in the journal which is really a tough work since it was my very first time to write a paper intended for publication in a scientific journal. In addition, the deadline for submission of all the requirements would be on May, 30, means that if I could not get any paper accepted by the date, my graduation would be delayed. Although I could submit the paper to a journal on March, 10, I was really pessimistic at that time as I thought it was quite impossible to get my paper accepted within only 2 months. Some of my friends said that it usually needs more than 3 months to get a paper accepted. When I consulted this situation with my advisor, he was also actually worried about my graduation but he asked me to just wait for the result of my submitted paper. If the paper was rejected, then I should extend my work here for 6-12 months while preparing to submit the paper to another journals.

I still could accept this situation, but honestly I was a bit regretful inside. Deep in my heart, I did not want to delay my graduation. Actually it is not a mandatory for the Master students to publish a paper as the first author, but the Ph.D. students must publish (at least) a paper in an international journal as the first author. Unfortunately, I did not belong to any other research groups since all the students who previously worked under the same supervision of my advisor have already graduated, so literally no chance to put my name on other people’s works (as the co-author) just for completing the graduation requirements. I felt like I was a Master student with a responsibility to complete the graduation requirements of a Ph.D student. Whatever, I had no other options: unless I get my paper accepted with being the first author, my graduation would be delayed!

During the submission and revision process of the paper, I was so depressed. Almost every night, I went to bed very late and I spent most of the weekends in laboratory to work till late. No matter what, I tried to enjoy every process and convince myself that everything has been intended for a good purpose, until I completely realized, since the day on April, 23, 2014, that my fear was nothing at all. My doubt and worry were just for temporary. That was the most exciting day for almost the two years of study and work here where I finally found a hope for my future again. That was truly an unforgettable day in my life when I received a stress-relieving e-mail from my advisor congratulated me for the acceptance of our paper in the journal of Bioresource Technology.

I believe there is no great success accomplished by the only one man’s show. Behind every great achievement, there has always been enormous effort and support from many others, reflected in a great collaborative work. I am so grateful to my advisor, Dr. Chang Soo Kim, who has shown his patience, guidance, and tireless help during our intensive research work despite his presence in Canada. I highly respect and appreciate him for many lessons he has given to me, which is really important, not only for my academic and research work, but also for the improvement of my attitude in the work. I would also like to thank Dr. Jeong-Myeong Ha, who has been willing to be a joint advisor and helped me a lot in the academic process so that I can complete all the requirements needed for my graduation, and of course to all my friends who have patiently supported me a lot. This work would never be done without their help.

Although I can still hardly believe that the acceptance proceeded faster than expected, but now I am more convinced that miracle truly exists. The miracle has turned all my doubt, fear, and worry into a wonderful reality. I have done my part, but I know that the miracle has also done its part. It has given me strength to finish the works well. The miracle is something beyond human’s control that comes in an unpredictable way and time. All supports in the form of prayers, loves, and cares from my advisors, friends, and family are truly miracles for me. Nothing is impossible if your life is surrounded by such miracles.

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