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Learning With Zeal and Zest From Compelling Research Work

Pic: A Memorable Moment with My University Thesis Supervisor

Pic: A Memorable Moment with My University Thesis Supervisor

I just had come back from a vacation in Dhaka to Stuttgart, Germany to continue with my research work. I would be working on an IT-Maintenance System in the company, InfoCom GmbH in affiliation with my university, Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences as a Master’s Thesis.

InfoCom GmbH, a reputable telecom company in Stuttgart wished to manage its IT resources more efficiently, with speedy access to IT information and reduced costs. For this reason, the author was given the responsibility to create a relational SQL database first where relevant IT information would be stored and then create an interface using JavaScript, PHP, and HTML for retrieving, downloading, inputting, and editing information of the IT database. The system interface would portray reports and data-entry forms in HTM format.

PHP was quite new around 2004 when I was working on it. I had exactly six months to complete the thesis. I wasn't familiar with PHP or SQL Server (which was a requisite for my work). I started working with the above platforms and learning with interest and enthusiasm.

I was so engrossed with the work that I barely communicated with my colleagues except for Thomas Franz, the manager, and my supervisor. I wasn't popular as an employee, but Mr. Franz believed in me, and that was enough encouragement for me. I also had access to Pawel Wojnar in Poland to discuss IT and software design issues in my thesis.

First of all, Thomas said I should design a user interface. The term was new to me, and I searched for examples over the web and finally got a grasp of a tiny diagram. And it was an AHA moment for me to understand what a user interface would look like.

Slowly starting the design of a database with SQL Server at the backend and together with PHP, JavaScript and HTML, I persevered designing the frontend and connecting both ends.

I got lost designing “Next” and “Previous” buttons on data entry forms. I had a terrifying thought I might be asked to leave my position from the company at any moment.

I tried and tried with no success. I started working with reports, and taking the help of the web, I could design them well.

I continued working with data-entry forms. I told myself I had to be solution-oriented and not panic.

“You cannot solve your problems with the same mentality that created them.”

— Albert Einstein

There weren’t enough IT people around to ask for help. And it was difficult to communicate about it with Pawel over a distance in Poland. So, I decided to talk to my male friends in the city. They couldn't help much, but they asked me to contact some other friends. I did ask them as well but got very little help. Do you see the trend? The mentality that created the problems wasn't leading me anywhere until I changed my mentality of taking some help.

Well, it wasn't a smooth journey, but I did get help: the actual kind of help. I talked with my university supervisor, Professor Dorothee Koch, but that didn’t help to give me any clues either. But some miracle did happen. I was giving all follow-ups to my problem to another male friend who recently moved to another city. He felt my pitiful situation, and I think he remembered how I had helped him with his thesis a year ago with proofreading.

He sent me some algorithms by email so that I could work out my problem. I replied with the subject title: Still No Good News. That evening I went to a male friend's dorm to discuss further this problem. He said that since I still didn't receive any help with my problem, he would try to get help provided that I emailed him all my work with good commenting. The next day: EUREKA! The miracle. My male friend from another city emailed me with the subject title: Good News. I was a bit hesitant at first, but after reading my friend’s entire email, I realized he gave me a solution module to my problem.

Immediately, I started integrating it with my work, and guess what- did it work? Indeed, it did. He worked out my problem. Later as I carried on, other difficulties came up in my work, and I found my friend was not that enthusiastic anymore. So, I researched free programming language forums. I was in luck. For the rest of my thesis, I could only continue because I changed my mentality once more. Abandoning my friend and continuing with the online forums helped me a lot.

All my research work was completed, including additional demands from the InfoCom Manager and my university supervisor.

I was soon documenting my thesis and enjoying it very much. After I proofread it and had it commented on by my university supervisor, Professor Dorothee for a few more edits and modifications, I had it fully ready.

I printed four sets on the company's laser printer with color. I went to the binding shop on my university premises and ordered the four sets to be bound, and I was through.

Pic: My Master’s Thesis Book

Pic: My Master’s Thesis Book

I had to give a presentation on my finalized thesis in the presence of Franz, Wojnar, and Professor Koch. The day came in, the time approached, and I gave an impressive presentation.

I was told to leave the conference room temporarily, and the board of three discussed my performance and work to come to a final decision about my grade.

I soon learned I got a 1.7. The highest possible grade was 1.0, then 1.3, then 1.7, and then it goes to 2.0, and so on.

I guess I would have been happier if I got a 1.3, but I think I got what I deserved, and it was a prestigious grade that I earned.

Soon there would be a graduation ceremony. My classmates and I wore graduation gowns, and we were conferred upon our master’s degrees in Software Technology. It was an extremely high peak moment for me.

I took photos with my supervisor and classmates. Here is one of them:

Pic: Myself, My Thesis Supervisor, Professor Dorothee Koch, and My Best Friend, Haiying

Pic: Myself, My Thesis Supervisor, Professor Dorothee Koch, and My Best Friend, Haiying

Then I came back to my country to rejoin my old job. This degree helped me to get a promotion and a much higher salary. I felt gratified. It was hard for me to forget the zeal and zest I felt while learning new stuff from my research work abroad years ago.

Until today, I remind myself of those fruitful days whenever I am in low spirits, and I quickly revert to radiating high vibrational energy, which is good for me, my surrounding family, and others, as well. It is because it helps the Universe to come into alignment with our current desires and deliver them promptly.

© 2021 Rosina S Khan