Saturday, January 3, 2009

FYP report - done and dusted, lessons learned

This is it. It is finally completed after 5 months of blood and sweat (LOL OK, I am exaggerating here, but you know what I mean). After the submission of a soft copy has been completed, a hard copy is also required. And so it was properly compiled, printed and bound. Before parting with it, I decided to take a final snapshot of it:

FYP Report - 21 July 2008 to 18 December 2008

When I held this report in my hand, there was a deep feeling of satisfaction - not only does it signify that I, too, can be like any of the seniors, work and produce something primarily out of my own endeavor, but also signify that I am approaching the end of my tertiary, and possibly, my formal education. Whether or not there will be Masters or Doctorate following up, I am not sure, and I am not thinking about them at the moment.

Right now, I just want to bask in the delight of completing something so momentous, as well as share some of my experiences gained from doing FYP with my readers - particularly if you have not done one yourself:

1). Get a good professor

There is nothing like having a good, supportive and readily available boss. Hence, it is better to choose someone whom you know had, or will build a good rapport with you. Obtain advices from your senior as to which professor is better to work with. It's never a good feeling when you cannot find any help when you need them.

2). Persistence

FYP is likely to be one of your longest academic engagements as compared to all your other work, hence persistence is definitely needed here. Few people can land those titles which require only a month or two of work, so be prepared to tune yourself mentally for the long haul. There will be ups and downs, as with all other things in life - hence, it is crucial not to lose heart and focus.

3). Be clear of your path

Before you embark on the project, make sure you thoroughly, or at least understand the majority of what you are doing. Obtain a clear comprehension of all the big and small goals the project entail, but also bear in mind that sometimes, the professor might want you to change one or two things. Being flexible and negotiable are definite plusses here.

4). Consistency

This is probably one of the most important factors that would determine whether your FYP journey would be a smooth or a tension-filled one. Although it is part of human nature to procrastinate, I can safely say that six months, or even a year, is after all not a very long time. We all know how time flies, so try spreading out the work. Every little bit of progress is positive.

5). Communication

By communication, it can refer to anything between you and your professor, post-doctorate, or others, such as the course mates sharing the same equipments with you. Try keeping things polite and respectful, and they would be more likely to co-operate with you. Sure, there will be some people who don't fit into your good books, but not everyone does, right?

6). The final outcome

The unique thing about FYP is that nearly all of the students will be working on different topics, hence the bell curve grading system does not apply. Hence, what would the report be graded based on? If you are thinking that only positive results would get you a good grade, I would say not totally true. One thing of note is that a successful research usually spans over a period of several years and it can be a tad demanding to expect a student to yield marked discoveries over the period of six months to a year. Hence, the crux here is to demonstrate what you have learned and achieved, as well as a positive attitude throughout the course of the project.

Oh and, not forgetting to maintain a good relationship with your professor.

Hope you will enjoy your very own FYP journey!