I miss school. Alot.

Now that I am officially a student again (graduate student), I eagely look forward to my night classes on mondays and wednesdays every week. Everytime I walk through the campus and on to my faculty of science bulding, I am constantly hit by pangs of nostalgia. Even though I was an NTU undergrad, seeing those kids milling their way around the campus, going about their daily acitvities, heading to this class and that lecture hall, made me realise how much I miss school. I miss school. Alot.

I graduated from NTU with a bachelor’s degree 4 years ago and it seemed only yesterday I attended my graduation ceremony, undertook my exams at the end of every semester, dragging my ass down to every lecture I had to sit in, and countless hours cramming just so that I can achieve my desired grades (second-class upper). Of course, there’s more to just studying and attending lectures. There were the orientation camps that I participated in, and helped organised in subsequent years. The school activities, volunteer work, exchange programmes. Life was so vibrant as a student. Looking back, I wish I could do more, I wish exams werent important, so that I can focus on things that were important to me. Making friends, trying out new stuff, be more adventurous and just fooling around. Truly, I have said this many times. If there were one moment in life where I could have a chance to relive through it all over again, it would be my time in NTU.

Still, I am grateful to be given the opportunity to experience all those things, and now that I am a NUS student, I can catch a glimpse of what campus life is like in NUS. For this semester, I will be going back to NUS for my lessons twice a week, and that would be it. The rest of the times are online lectures, intensive modules, perhaps a chance to attend classes at ANU. Going to NUS for my classes is like walking through memory lane. It’s like opening a photobook that you have longed forgotten, tucked deep within the recesses of an ancient bookshelf. As you flip open the dusty photo album, there you are, snapshots of your life laid out in front of you, experiencing campus life, living life as if there was no tommorrow.

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Interview for my Master Programme

A few months ago I applied for a Master’s degree programme in NUS. It’s a Joint Master’s in Science Communication between NUS and Australia National University. Just yesterday I went for an interview after being shortlisted for the programme.

The interview went ok. It was held in some recreation room in the School of Science building and the atmosphere was very relaxed. I was interviewed by a panel of professors and they asked general questions about educational background and the work I am currently in. They also asked me how this course would enhance my work and future career in research and science in general.

I was nervous heading to the venue. But once I reached the holding room to wait my turn, I managed to calm down a bit and had a little conversation with another person in the room. She was also shortlisted for the course and was awaiting her turn to be interviewed. It happened that she is a teacher of 7 years and that she recently completed her part time degree course at the Singapore Institute of Management. I was quite amazed at the fact that apart from being a full time teacher, she managed to have time to take up a full fledge degree course during her remaining free time after work. She told me it was really tough juggling work and school at the same time, much less for 4 years straight. What amazed me even more was that she had the ambition to further her studies, just like what I am doing right now, still having the energy to take up another 2 years of study to complete this Master Programme. She took a break for about a year upon completing her part time degree before applying for the Master Programme. I respect her deeply for her tenacity. Being a teacher in Singapore is quite stressful and you are expected to work long hours, beyond just simply teach. I hope she gets into the course. She truly deserves it.

Post graduation BBQ chalet

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It was a success, even though we planned a little late and did not manage to reserve the ideal chalet, we still had a lot of fun and the turn-out was good. Slightly more than 20 people came for the chalet and it was a good turnout, since we predicted and bought food for 20 people. In the end, the amount of food ordered for everyone was just right and the crowd was perfect that everyone had a great time. We initially invited more than 40 people to the event, but it is understandable that not everyone could come down for the BBQ and Chalet stay over, since we organised and plan the event a mere 2 weeks before.

I stayed overnight for the chalet and when most of my friends  have left, we were left about 11 of us staying over. It was a great and fun night. We played lots of stuff and did stupid things. Things like long exposure light art, writing the words “graduation” and “grad loh” and “SBS 2013” using the flashlight from our smartphones and sparklers that we bought and lit up. I bought a number of board games as well and we played till we were crazy. It was one of the most fun nights I ever had. And I get to enjoy it with the company of some of the great friends in NTU. I truly regard them who were there that night to be my great friends. Friends I will never forget and I hope we remain as good friends no matter what.

That night, was the night that clearly sealed the fact we felt almost inseparable and infinite. Just like the movie, “Perks of being a Wallflower”, there were moments that day where I couldn’t care less what happens next after we leave the chalet the following morning. I just feel like I want to enjoy and treasure the moment, that particular moment with them. The moment where nothing matters. Just me and them. The feeling of being infinite. That night was truly magical for me. For the first time, I get to spend it with the one I admire most…

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Convocation

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31st of July was the day of my convocation. After 4 years of study in NTU, I finally get to graduate. And graduate with a second class upper division. I am truly happy right now. I not only achieved my goals I set out at the beginning of school when I first started out in NTU, but also managed to have a meaningful and fulfilling experience as well. Truly, tertiary experience is one of the most exciting and memorable life experiences I could ever have in my life. I am truly grateful for all the good things that have  happened to me. I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to live out the life full of wonder, satisfaction and amazement. The friends I have made are some of the most interesting and truly inspiring groups of people I have ever met. I am truly honoured and humbled to be friends with them. I will never forget them. Ever.

I posted this on Facebook on the day of my convocation and have since gotten a resounding round of approval from my peers;

This is it. Today is the day. Today is the day I officially graduate with a degree. The closing of another chapter. Tomorrow, a new chapter begins. A blank slate. How I write this chapter is completely up to me.

It has been a long road to reach where I am right now. It began with a single step. But the journey doesn’t end here. I will have to take that first step again to reach my goals. A new road. The road to happiness and success is a long one. I will be lost. I will encounter roadblocks. I will need to make u-turns along the way. If there is one thing I have learnt about making such journeys, is that it is never a straight path. One thing is for certain; never stop walking. No matter how long I take, so long as I don’t stop, I will reach my destination, eventually.

The people that I have known, my family, my friends, and the people that I will meet in the future, they are there to show me the way. But it is I who will have to make the effort to walk the road to happiness and success. And I will never stop walking till I find my own.

As for this journey today? I have reached my destination. I have found my own happiness and success.

A breakdown of my grades

So now that I have officially completed my study in NTU, having fulfilled and completed all modules that are required to graduate. Allow me to break it down for you my grades and tally the number of modules I get for each respective grade. Here they are:

Tally A+ 3
A 1
A- 9
B+ 12
B 11
B- 0
C+ 1
C 1
C- 0
D 0
P 6
S 3
Total 47

I took a total of 47 modules with a few exempted modules which are not part of the tally. Of the 47 modules, 6 received a passing (P) grade, which is essentially a pass/fail module that does not have a grade associated with it. 3 modules are given the satisfactory (S) grade. Again, these are essentially a pass/fail module that does not have a grade associated with it. The majority of my grades are in the B or B+ range, which is pretty good. Here is the distribution of my grades in graphical form.
gradebreakdown

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings

A friend of mine commented this on my facebook status, after mentioning that I finally achieved my goals I set out for myself when I first started school in NTU. That goal was to achieve at least a second class upper grade at the end of my four-year journey in NTU. And I did achieved it, at the 11th hour, after the final results for my FYP grades were released.  The grade that I gotten for my final module, was enough to pull me up to achieve my goals. I am ecstatic. Truly I am.

And what my friend mentioned, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” couldn’t be more true. Before I decided to do my FYP, I was so close to achieving my second class upper. But I wasn’t there yet. FYP was my last ditch effort to increase and pass that elusive 4.00 threshold that would deserve a second class upper standing. I told myself, this is it, this is the final chance for me to do my very best, pull it up one last time. After that, there is not more chances in changing your grade. So I chose to do FYP instead instead of an internship, where you merely get a pass/fail grade. My decision was probably the best decision I have ever made in so many years.

And the day came when the results were out. Which was today. And lo and behold! My GPA increased! I really did achieve my goals at the 11th hour. It was a close shave, one last push, which I did not take it for granted and the efforts really paid off. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. You should never know the outcome till everything is over.

I have a lot of people to thank for. Particularly my mentors and supervisors who helped me along the way in my FYP. I definitely have to write a letter of thanks to them tomorrow, telling them how grateful I am for rendering lots of help along the way and for playing a crucial role in achieving my goals.

Molecular Evolution marks the end of my exams in NTU

Monday marks the end of my exams for this semester and also my entire life in NTU. Molecular Evolution is the module that so happens to be the last examination that I had to sit for in my entire NTU life. 4 years in the making and it has come to this.  Continue reading Molecular Evolution marks the end of my exams in NTU