My Master’s course: Looking back.

Two years ago I made a decision to be a student again. A part-time student. A postgraduate student. I knew what the stakes were. Working and studying at the same time was never meant to be a walk in the park. Sacrifices had to be made, something had to give.

For me, it was holidays cut short, weekends spent doing my assignments rather than doing the things I enjoy to relax for the week. It was a constant grind, semester after semester. Sure I had to enjoy the summer holidays, but where there weren’t school assignments to worry about, there was always work to catch up.

The first year was tolerable. I was enthusiastic. It felt great to be a student again. And what better way to be an NUS student. Night classes twice a week for the first semester, a week-long course followed by the next, and then online modules conducted by the ANU the rest of the way. I took on every challenge, trying my best to get good grades. To prove myself that I could juggle work and study at the same time. And for a while it did. As the work piled on and the assignment became more numerous, the pressure was on. Add to that workload is the thesis I had to write as part of the final year project. That took the cake.

The second year was tough. Despite having no actual classes, those modules that I chose was challenging, assignments were abstract in nature. Lots and lots of writing. Lots and lots of deadlines. There were times, I had to admit, that I just could not care less anymore. Where a passing grade was good enough. But in the end, I did better than just getting a passing grade. I would definitely get a better grade if only I had more time devoted to my studies, but you only so many hours in a single day like I said, sacrifices had to be made. There were numerous times where I just had to tell myself that this is good enough, I cannot abandon my other commitments.

These two years were filled with highs and lows. But now it’s almost at an end. I cannot believe it.

I am going to miss my classmates, despite not seeing face-to-face on a daily basis. These people are some of the nicest and the funniest bunch of people I have ever met. I am truly grateful to have known them.

So what is next for me? Honestly, I do not know. I guess when everything is truly over for the course I am taking, I will sit down and reflect deeply what the next phase of my life should be.

Advertisements

Four months till graduation… and I am already losing steam

The road I am taking, it can be a lonely one.

Just four months till graduation, and I am already losing steam. The final hurdle, one more module and a project thesis and that is all there is to it to complete my studies.

But somehow, I have lost all motivation to really push myself hard.

One final push. I don’t know what I can do to get back on track.

It is a lonely road.

Somehow, I don’t see anyone pushing me on, egging me, encouraging me to not lose hope.

Work, study and all the other things going on in life.

2018 hasn’t been kind to me or my family.

When this year ends, I promise I will reflect on 2018 and share some of the things that have happened in my life. Both good and bad.

Science Bucket at Singapore Science Center

The Science Bucket was the last assignment for the Semester. Each of us were tasked to perform a science demonstration in front of a live public audience at the Mendel Auditorium at the Singapore Science Center last Saturday. It is an open event, where anyone who visited the Science Center on that day were free to pop by and see our demonstration done live. Each of us were given 15 minutes to do the demonstration and explain certain scientific concepts for a lay person to understand.

For my science demonstration, it was all about eggs. I demonstrated the strength of the eggshells by explaining the shape that rise to its strength. I then demonstrated that the eggs are stronger than most people would imagine by stacking thick books weighing 12 kilograms in total on top of just 4 eggs. It was a fun demonstration that involves enthusiastic young volunteers to help me stack the books on the eggs without breaking them. I was quite amazed by their enthusiasm. Almost all the young children sitting in the auditorium were clamoring for a piece of the action and an opportunity to take part in the science demonstration. And it wasn’t just my demonstration that piqued the most interest. Almost all other science demonstration performed by my classmates needed volunteers and we had no shortages of that.

It was a really long Saturday. Our day began at 8am in the morning, ending all the way till 4.30pm. But it was an eye-opening experience. It was my first time performing a science demonstration in front of a live audience. I was a little nervous, but I was more excited to perform it, probably because of all the kids who were so keen in learning science through our demonstrations that we did on that day.

At the end of the day, everyone was so relieved that it was finally over. The amount of planning was just insane. It took weeks of planning, delegating who do what, when. And we also had to do our own rehearsals to make sure that our science demonstrations works and to iron out any kinks along the way so that when it comes to the actual day, the programme would run smooth as butter. And it did run smooth as butter. Everyone chipped in and no one complained about anything. Everyone was helpful and cooperative and despite knowing each other for 4 months, organising the Science Bucket and going through it smoothly was a testament to our bond and friendship we have cultivated since we first started school.

Now that the semester is over, we have one more module that all of us will be taking, and that would take place in June. It will be an intensive module, meaning it will take place the whole day, everyday for 2 weeks. And then it would be over. In addition, this would be the only module that all of us will be seeing each other again, before going on our separate ways. Some of us are full-time students, and they will be continuing their studies in ANU, taking different modules from the part-timers. It would be the last time we gathered together. Looking forward, I think I will be a little bit sad to see them go. But I know that we will all continue to keep in touch in the months to come. At the end of the day, each of us will graduate from the course. That is everyone’s end goal.

Speaking of memory lane

I have been keeping a journal and writing my thoughts, feelings and experiences throughout all these years. I’ve never kept a traditional journal where you wrote stuff with a physical journal book. I grew up in an era of the internet and while it was the early years where the noisy , 28.8kpbs modems were in vogue, I quickly understood blogging on the web, even before blogging was cool. And so there were many journal websites and blogging platforms that I kept over the years as I write. And it was only in the last few years that I acutally tracked down all those sites that I kept, and migrated all my journal entries to WordPress. The power of the internet to archive everything allowed me to keep and preserve my old entries, dating back 15 years ago. 15!

15 years ago I was just 15 years old. I was just starting Secondary 3 at that age when I decided to ‘blog’. This was my very first entry:

Yoz Journal!
Basically, I’m mainly using this journal to record my life as a Band Major. Dunno what that is? Well, its basically being a leader in a military band in Singapore(Cool!). Anyway, my life is pretty stressful balancing work and play with family and friends all at the same time! So one of the reason why I plan to keep a journal is because so that I could voice out my problems, achivements, successes, failures, hates, and love all in this journal. I dont have to contain all my emotions within me. I have good friends to talk to but I just couldn’t find the time to do so. Im soo busy its like im working as a stock broker, lol!. This entry is basically nothing, just to get a hang of it. On Thursday is my promotion ceremony, whereby I will officially be a Band Major, giving out the certificates, badges, sashes, blah blah blah. I dont feel like introducing myself cause i feel its such a cliche. So I guess thats it.2/8/2002

That was what I wrote while I was in secondary 3. My very first entry. I remember the reason why I had this compelling need to write was because at that time, I was going through some rough patches (and of course puberty with all the mood swings and all). I was given a very heavy responsibility and that was to lead a music band in school. I was given the top post, practically overnight. How I deserved it, I will never know. I was a pretty low key kid, never standing out from the crowd much. As a young musician, I was never that talented to stand out to lead the entire band. But life can be cruel at you sometimes, shoving you to uncharted territories. And so it began. My life as band major (and an upcoming ‘O’ level candidate, acne outbreak, your Drum Major with suicidal tendencies, the onset of SARS, moving house, the closure of schools, the stressful Singapore Youth Festival and all the expectations of winning medals all for the sake of your school, bearing on your shouders. Hey no sweat!) with all the trials and tribulations.

Speaking of memory lane, reading my old entries can be embarrassing. I hope one day I can revisit those old entries by starting from the very beginning and slowly working my way up to the present day. Reading old entries written by none other than yourself is like hearing your own voice. It’s so weird and can be cringe worthy. I will definitely go: “I actually I wrote that? What was I thinking?!”

 

 

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.

Lenovo Thinkpad 13 + Aer Fit Pack = Perfect

The Aer Fit Pack and the Thinkpad 13 is a perfect combination. The laptop is relatively light, coming at 13 inches and fits snugly into the laptop compartment of my Aer Fit Pack. I brought my laptop to work to see how the bag would feel on my back when I carry my laptop with me, and with the added weight, it still feels comfortable using the bag. I have yet to fully load up the bag with my running shoes and running clothes, towels, water bottle and shower foam. I would be a little bulky in the end, but I doubt all those extras would significant add to the overall weight that I would be carrying to school. Afterall, my new New Balance shoes are pretty light, and all I would be bringing next is a pair of running shorts, and dri-fit t-shirt for running with a small tower and a small bottle of shower foam to shower after a run.

All in all, I am almost ready to start school in January.