Caryn Lim

Defining your own goals in research

Doctor of Philosophy, School of Arts and Social Sciences (expected completion 2017)

Awards and scholarships:

Monash University Malaysia Higher Degrees by Research Scholarship 

Best Student Award for Bachelor of Arts (Global) in 2010 

Best Student Award for Honours Degree of Bachelor of Arts in 2011 


1. Full name / age / nationality.

Caryn Lim / 25 / Malaysian


2. Describe your current major, or the current focus of your research thesis.

My research thesis focuses on the death practices and spaces of urban Kuala Lumpur. In particular, it explores the way in which the death industry has evolved vis-a-vis our understanding and practice of death.


3. Why did you choose Monash Malaysia?

I chose Monash Malaysia because they offered me a generous scholarship that would enable me to continue studying. It is also the place I completed my undergraduate degree and where I feel most comfortable.


4. While at Monash, what type of opportunities did you participate in?

Amongst others, I have been able to apply and receive funding for an international conference in Romania where I may learn from and share knowledge with experts in my field and other like-minded researchers. I also take part in many activities organised by the Monash University Postgraduate Association including the annual colloquium where there are opportunities to network with researchers from other fields in Monash.


5. How has your undergraduate degree or postgraduate experience been at Monash?

So far so good! My postgraduate experience has been fairly smooth. I enjoyed tutoring and I have a good relationship with my supervisor.


6. If you were a postgraduate student, why did you choose to do a postgraduate degree? What were the benefits and challenges that came with studying in a postgraduate course?

I decided to do a postgraduate degree because I came to realise during my undergraduate and Honours years that I enjoyed doing research. I also knew fairly early on that I did not want to work in the corporate sector, so I decided to give academia a go. One of the best things about research is that you define your own goals. I really enjoy my research because it is something I am genuinely interested in. It is a job in the sense that I have a supervisor, I need to get the work done and I have deadlines. But it’s much more than a job because it’s so independent and self-driven. This is also one of my biggest challenges: to remain motivated and self-assured. It’s a struggle that we all face, I think.


7. What did you love most about your student life at Monash? 

What I love most is the flexibility and the community. As a Higher Degree by Research student, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of when and where you work. The research community at Monash, and in the School of Arts and Social Sciences in particular, is also quite close-knit so it’s been great getting to know and learning from other researchers, both students as well as academic staff who are already established in their fields.


8. What is your goal in life, where are you headed to in the future?

I suppose I’m headed for academia! I would love to get a job at a good university, preferably Monash Malaysia (hint, hint) to continue research and lecture at the same time.


9. What is your advice to current Monash Malaysia students? 

Don’t do drugs.  And explore your options!