Introspect

School’s out, hello recess week! I was intending to do a post of different content, but I decided to do another update on my everyday life because it felt more appropriate. Half of my Year 1 Semester 2 is gone already oh my tian! Seriously university has this magic of eating time so fast. I really have so much to talk about, and it feels like so many things have happened over this short period of time. Take it as a continuation of the previous post, since the things I want to talk about hasn’t changed and I’m still following the same format.

#kdtEXO

#kdtEXO

Keep calm & #KDTthrowback 2015

The first major event for Year 1 Sem 2!! For those who don’t know what that means, it’s KDT’s first concert which I was part of. The concert had an interesting back story to it; the seniors weren’t satisfied with how one of their external performances turned out. The concert meant a lot to the seniors, since for the Year 3s it would most likely be their last chance to perform. University is the last place for us to try out new things out of our comfort zone, and throwback presented me this perfect opportunity. Shoutout to J who stuck along with me through our months of learning dance together. It was especially tough for the 2 of us who were complete noobs and forever lagging behind. I have always been a slow learner, and dance is no exception. It was depressing to see the seniors being able to dish out song after song while you’re there struggling with a single song. Reminder to self: Being bad at something shouldn’t be an excuse of not trying, and I am thankful to be given a chance to try out such a thing without being (largely) judged by my ability to dance.

As said in my insta post, this whole journey has been a huge step out of my comfort zone, but one that I am glad to have taken. I performed a grand total of 1 song LOL, but that single song gave me hell for the past month leading up to the concert. My first weeks were just dance, dance and dance, and it was the start of me lagging behind in my work. Of course, the forever procrastinating me told myself that I would catch up in work. If I were to sacrifice my ‘studying’ time for something else, I really wished it to be fruitful as possible. Maybe it’s too early to make judgments, so instead of hoping that this whole thing isn’t a waste of my time, just enjoy the whole process. 🙂

The concert itself wasn’t a big event, it was held at UTown Audi 2 on a Sunday evening. It really felt like us just putting up a performance for our friends. I would have been happy if at least ONE of my friends went for it. Yes, I’m so easily pleased right, just one. I know a lot of my friends don’t listen to kpop, so I didn’t bothered them as I didn’t want to force them to watch. Naturally, I just asked those who do enjoy kpop. Excluding my sister, i have 3 guests for the evening! I know I said this already to you 3, still I’m going to repeat myself again: it really meant a lot that someone I knew came, and even brought me some presents awwwww :’). jeongmal gomawo chingu.

the crew

The crew

I don’t have much to say since I only did 1 song, all the juniors were nervous since it was our first performance on a big stage. Although I have been on stage before, performing a music piece is totally different from a dance item. Usually, I’ll let my instrument do the talking and I always have something or someone in front of me; be it a music stand, a drum set or me sitting in the middle of the ensemble. With dance, it’s your body which is your mode of expression, and the feeling of vulnerability comes in because you’re facing the crowd ‘bare’. In the end, it wasn’t our best performance, but one that we would be proud of. The cheers at the end of our song… you just can’t help but think “Yays I did it.” Seeing the video of myself perform, so cringe-worthy omgosh… Seeing the facial expressions of the seniors, they were either really into their performances and for me, I looked totally blank and had the feel of “please don’t screw up, please don’t screw up jaebal”. It still boiled down to confidence and how much practice was put in. I really want to be able to present a more confident-self if I was given another chance, but since it’s my first time ever I’ll be contended with just surviving LOL.

You could say this is the start to many beautiful memories that I hope to make in university. It is heartwarming to know that instead of giving up on us, the seniors went all in with us and we were able to pull off the whole song, when it could have been easily dropped. It was no doubt an arduous journey, so is it worth another round? #kdtthrowback 2016? Quoting A, this was our first performance and it’ll just get better from here. We shall see hahaha 🙂

 

The Bass Family

The Bass Family

GENUS – #3weekstonextconcert

And with the end of Throwback, it was 6 weeks to Guitar Concert (and now 3 by the time this post comes out). As school resumed and weekly practices resumed, I started to settle down into GENUS. Things got slightly better as it was getting less awkward during practices when I got to know my section mates a bit more. However, with the difficulty of the piece and the high commitment levels, one by one, more juniors left or dropped out of concert. To be honest, I don’t blame these people, as people like me who have guitar ensemble background are struggling as well. Maybe I’m an anomaly since everyone else who was in guitar ensemble before well LOL. Okays I could have been easily one of those who dropped out as well, can you imagine the free time I suddenly I would have had now? To be honest, I have no idea why I stuck around, I blame it on my stubborn life principles that won’t allow me to quit something halfway unless necessary.

As reported in my earlier post, I was summoned to probation auditions. There were some seniors who were forced to go for auditions as well, but it was more for formality sake as these seniors came back from exchange and did not pass ‘attendance requirements’. The seniors who came back wasted no time with the new pieces and were able to play it fluently. The pace for probation auditions were much slower, but at that time I still struggled to hit all the notes. Miraculously I PASSED, and the normal practices resumed. I got requested to play the percussion for one of the songs, and percussion players have to come at 930am to practice… *vomits blood*. That makes my Saturday a 9-6 day *faints*, my point on why I continued on in this CCA remains a mystery.

Then there was the actual concert auditions. After the auditions, we were summoned and the thing they did to some of us juniors… it made me lose all respect to the cca to be honest. I don’t want to go into details, but it was just a fucking dirty ass move. All I can comment is that it could have been conducted in a much better method. The whole group dynamics wasn’t as good as I imagined. Cliques were inevitably formed, and the senior-junior hierarchy gap was obvious. Unlike KDT, these seniors outside CCA were still seniors and not someone who you could just hang out normally as a friend. especially when selection for EXCO were coming soon. I gave a straight 1 (1-10, with 1 being the least interested) for my interest in GENUS EXCO. I did consider taking it seriously because I stood a good chance given my background, but to be honest I had close to zero interest in it. Yes it would have looked good on my resume, but was it worth slogging a year in something you didn’t have passion in?

Again, I don’t have high expectations for audience turnout, I would be happy if ONE person came. Classical music is something I don’t expect many to appreciate, and I wouldn’t want to force my friends to sit through something they don’t enjoy. Ticket prices are also quite expensive, so much opportunity cost incurred just to support someone hor… For now it’s still the same: do the concert well and we’ll see from there.

 

Filming for Project XOXO!

Filming for Project XOXO!

NBC – Slavedriver Incoming

I really talked a lot for my 2 CCAs LOL. Technically,  I shouldn’t have much to talk about this since the actual camp is so far away. There were a few short meetings among the Publicity Committee to settle some camp matters. Business efficiency indeed, and it was the beginning of the slavedriven route.

My first major job for NBC was actually a side project called Project XOXO, which was a fundraiser by the Bizad Club for the Freshmen Orientation Projects (FOPs). Being the person-in-charge for videos, I was approached to film a series of videos to publicize the project. It was mostly me and my boss KE tanking the work, and yes shoutout to S for coming to help in terms of manpower. What I envisioned for the video is totally different from the end product, so I just go with the flow and did my best with whatever material I have. The first video is another thing in this semester which gave me hell; 4 hours of filming, plus more time spent filtering videos, and brainstorming to fit what the upper people wanted. I swear I spent a minimum of 15 hours to edit a freaking 2 min video, and not to mention that 3 of my Wednesdays (which is my free day btw) were burnt. And this was all midst the preparation for throwback. It really was just shag during that period: I would reach home at 12 midnight after dance practice and edit the videos till 4-5am. And again schoolwork was being ignored, it could have been far worse if not for KE helping to edit the entire 2nd video when it was supposedly my job. 고마워요 It really lightened the burden during that busy period.

No major screw ups during the whole filming process, although I believed it could have gone much smoother but all is well. It wasn’t my best work, but one which I’m satisfied with (If you’re interested in watching it, its the 3 part series called ONE, TWO, THREE on the Bizad YT page haha) It was my first time making a video and this was a reminder how time consuming it could be. What makes it heartwarming was that KE and Mr PD-nim acknowledged my hard work. Small actions like these really go a long way, trust me. 🙂 However, I feel like there is still a distance among all of us, the feel where we aren’t friends outside of work. Let’s just hope it gets better with time ay, I already have 2 days worth of dry runs during recess week #moretimeburnt

 

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And everything else…

It’s very clear that I have been ignoring my studies, and with how things seem now the situation may not improve. The modules this semester is just sian… shows how important having interest in whatever you’re going to study is. Seeing many people transferred course over the break made me rethink whether I made the correct decision of staying in Accountancy. I figured that I would still complaining about something if I did transfer to Maths and I didn’t have this thought until I was faced with the semester’s modules. As boring and sickening these modules are, I still have to do my best if I want to put myself in a good position for exchange. The goals for the semester hasn’t differ, just do my best and enjoy the whole student life.

It has becoming increasingly lonely in school these days, and it’s wide and clear that I have no part in my class. I was eternally busy with my external activities, but again if I really bothered about them I would have tried to make time, which I didn’t. I really went back to my own bubble, going somewhere else after lessons to be alone and strangely, I feel at zen not having anyone around me. That doesn’t mean that I have no friends alright, maybe I’m too selective when it comes to that. Whatever it is, I’m contended with how things are going now. Well of course things could have been much better, but quoting someone again: “In life, you’ll wish you made more mistakes.”. Y1S2 Round 2 let’s go!

 

And Taeyeon with black hair = totally love. Solo artist debut soon please Taengoo!

P.S. These few weeks have been emotionally draining for more than 1 reason that I haven’t mentioned. Don’t want to go into this just yet, but you… To think I waited till almost midnight just for you that day… 나 미치겠다… 헐~!

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우리오래가자 ♥ ~

DISCLAIMER: Seeing the number of revisions I have for this post (23 revisions last count), this is yet another post which has been terribly delayed. I wanted to get this out by the end of recess week, but I was drowning in work during recess work and I fell sick too, so it was really a shitty recess week. It has been a bad fucking shitty year for Kpop as well, and as a small dedication I’m using Korean words for the title of this post. It doesn’t really have any link to the content of the post, and the topic for this post is just a recap for the first half of Year 1 Sem 1, with some of my reflections as well. Another very wordy and dry post, but I’ll split into sections and of course, add pictures!

Sending WZ off to UK!

Sending WZ off to UK!

A whole new environment (and class participation)

Looking back 2 years back, what C said was right: “Until you experience it yourself, you won’t know how uni feels like”. After 2 years of my brain rotting, I was going back to school with no idea what was going to happen. It can be scary yet exciting at the same time.

I still remember our first sectional ever in NUS, we all just walked into this large seminar-style room, were given name tags and just sat down quietly. My first gut feeling was “Where am I, what is this”, my first steps in uni and the environment felt very intimidating already. My first sectional was Biz Law (BSP1004) with Prof Ravi, and he was telling us how in our mod 30% of how we are graded is based on class participation. FUCK the thing I dread the most when I hear there is such a thing in uni. And oh yeah, how we were sitting was going to be our grouping. LOLS. Prof Ravi is one who really emphasizes class part as a very important part not only in his mod, but for our subsequent future. You would rarely see other profs trying to encourage everyone in the classroom to class part. Fortunately the people who I sat with were people who I was familiar with and we did our biz law group project pretty smoothly (although we completed and sent it to prof at like 4am lols). I won’t go on the breakdown of all my mods because that will be at least an addition of 500 words more lols. For now, all my mods is going well so far, nothing bad coming up yet so I’m contended. I got the supposedly easier basket of mods for this semester and they are all level 1 mods as well. ALL IZ WELL 😀

For class participation, somehow I’m doing alright, like above average. According to feedback from my professors and classmates I’m doing really well; not only for Biz Law and also MNO (my other mod which 30% of my grade is class part). MNO was a pleasant surprise because I didn’t think I was speaking up enough but Prof Wu gave me very positive feedback yays! ^_^ I was quiet through out one lesson and everyone came up to me and was like “Nick are you alright? Why you never class part?” WOW WOULD YOU HAVE IMAGINED?!!! ME BEING ONE OF THE ACTIVE STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM. And of course there are some who are the class part ‘whores’ and the ones who don’t utter a word over the whole lesson. Over the few weeks, some of us started to get used to the environment and gradually, our classroom became a war-zone with people shooting their hands up. It’s scary and it makes the whole learning environment feel so artificial. It also made the Monday blues even worse, because it was an 8-8 day and I would have to class part for 2 sectionals straight. Imagine you sitting there stressing yourself because you haven’t spoken up and waiting for a chance to say something. I don’t blame those who speak a lot; in the end it’s all for their marks so it’s inevitable that you become a ‘whore’. To sum it up in 1 sentence: I hate class part, I don’t see how it helps to making the learning more conducive and I have no choice but to do it because I don’t want to later emo over my Bs because I knew I didn’t class part enough. I’m doing well so far (what a surprise seriously ahahaha) so keep it up Nick haha! (just don’t overdo it, and don’t be shy)

In NUS, Business and FASS are the two faculties with the most free time and seeing how the timetables are for my fellow friends in Engineering/Science, the discrepancies are really quite significant. This is not saying Business is slack or anything, on the contrary it makes it even more stressful since most of the learning is put onto yourself. There’s really a lot of independent work and it’s up to your own self if you don’t want to be left behind. That’s why they call NUS National University of Self-Study. No more spoon feeding, no more fixed timetable; if you don’t care about your work, don’t attend your tutorials and lectures, no one is going to care. So you really got to have the self-discipline to do your work in time and at the same time do some revision as well for your finals. It really feels like you’re studying for A levels again, only now you have 5 months instead of 2 years. Time is really flying right now and it’s getting easier to lose track of the dates of the month. When time flies like that, it can be easy for me to lose my direction for uni. So just take it day by day, week by week and don’t lose sight of your final end-point. 

Skyping with L, N, JQ and YN for our Biz Law project

Skyping with L, N, JQ and YN for our Biz Law project!

 

Joining GENUS and KCIG

For CCAs, the original plan for me was to join a music/culture-related CCA if I was in hall, and since I didn’t get a place… I had to go find other options. Before entering NUS, I was just another lost puppy in the big world and I have no idea what CCAs were there for me to choose. C recommended persuaded me to join GENUS [Guitar Ensemble NUS]. One of the things I told myself when I come into uni was to try something, one of which could be a new instrument for music. Going back to your comfort zone works as well, so I emailed them and went for an audition. It was a short Q&A with 2 of the main committee members of GENUS, and obvious some music theory tests, such as actual playing, rhythm and sight reading. Back at DHS, our conductor would just feed us tabs so when I was told to sight read I was like sorry I can’t read music LOL. Especially when I had CO and percussion background, I think their expectations of me were higher and imo it could have been a total flunk in the audition. In the end, I made it in and became part of GENUS. Practice so far in GENUS can get quite painful in the head, because I am totally new to reading notes and I’m sticking to old habits by writing the fingering on the score (much to the displeasure of my senior LOL). Being someone with guitar ensemble background, given how I’m playing it doesn’t seem like I’m from one… 😦 Well, the only way for me to go now is up, so there’s still much room for improvement and hopefully I’ll get better in playing and sight reading.

For KCIG, I was contemplating whether to even join at the start, just scared of being judged. Why was I thinking of joining a 2nd CCA anyways? The Nick who scores completely zero when it comes to dedication and enthusiasm in CCAs, going for a 2nd CCA? Okays I admit the main purpose was just to score more points in the CCA section for exchange (they give you 5 points for every CCA you are in). Partially also it’s a grade free semester for us freshies so I see it as a semester of trying. I roped in J to join me in KCIG, and in the welcome teathere was us and 2 more male freshies, the rest all girls LOL. I was bewildered on how the ratio was so skewered; it was like 9 girls to 1 guy. I expected the ratio to be quite in favor of females, just not by THAT MUCH of a margin. There was this buddy system where they would pair 2 members to 1 exchange student from Korea here, so me and J signed up for it as well and we met up for a few times already! Our trend seems to be eating some ‘baby-portion’ food (as quoted by Minee) at a posh restaurant before excusing ourselves to a fast food place HAHA. It’s quite a cool system, the only problem is the communication barrier because not all the Koreans can speak Korean well. Fortunately, J’s buddy was an Korean American (who’s a Year 4 in Pol Science… like omg wow?), so she was there for translation in case my buddy didn’t knew anything. The other 2 guys convinced me and J to join the sub-section of KCIG, KDT (which stands for KCIG Dance Team). Yes yet another day which I never thought would come, me dancing rofl. Another thing I always wanted to learn was dancing, and the first opportunity for me to do so was B’RAG, but I didn’t take that opportunity (which now I look back, don’t really regret haha). Of course the first few sessions were super awkward as I don’t have any dance background, but neither do most of the people inside so it’s all cool if we awkward together. This was a really good platform for me as I accomplished 2 things at one go: learning dance and KPOP dance. I guess that’s the only genre of dance I really have an interest in. How is my time there so far? Okay I still have a long way to go and I look totally horrendous on video, but I’m enjoying myself there a lot. The seniors are really friendly and there to teach you step by step.

Somehow the rank of priority changed as I got more involved in KCIG instead of GENUS. Truth to be told, I’m not as close to much people in GENUS. There isn’t much interaction in GENUS too, and now we are in the workshop period as everyone is learning the basics. Hopefully it gets better when it comes to ensemble playing. Okay maybe it is because I was skipping 2 weeks worth of practice whoops, carrying the guitar around is quite a big burden, especially when you live so far away from school. Just 1 of the many excuses I have given for skipping CCA :x. I’m now only going for the dance part but not the culture part of KCIG. Honestly, it’s really tiring to be juggling 2 CCAs which have commitments of 2 days per week. I feet really burnt out, but in a good way. In the end, it seems like I’m giving 75% to each CCA, so maybe it’s better to just focus on one. I’m seriously considering leaving 1 of them if it starts to affect my results and for now I’m more biased towards KCIG because it’s more fun. Not saying I would 100% quit GENUS if I had to drop a CCA, so if the time ever comes let’s just hope I follow my hear (plus brain) and make the right decision!

Dinner with the korean buddies!

Dinner with the korean buddies!

 

Cub in the lion’s den (and making friends with your fellow cubs lions) 

Before I went into Business, I sort of knew that I would need to do some presentations. Never would I have thought how much I hated it, and I’m forever nervous in front of a big group. According to many, I was trembling when I was presenting LOL (yes nervous wreck me sigh). Somehow everyone else seems so confident when they present, and yes I envy them and wish I could be like them. In that sense. I’m like a cub in the lion’s den. To add on, it’s a total new playing field in NUS Business. Everyone who got into here scored at least an AAB in their A levels or have a good GPA back in poly. Everyone in NUS is smart and everyone in NUS Business is fucking smart. There are many people who somehow are able to juggle work and commitments super well. Life’s just a bitch at times right? You study hard, you do well but it’s still not enough. Why is that so? Because there are so many people who did better than you and you get stuck in the middle of the dreaded bell curve. I’m not getting buried in the bell curve for now, did slightly above average for both of my midterms (GEM plus acc). I know I should be contented with my results, but strangely I want to do better. So even though some people out there are smarter and can grasp things faster, I shouldn’t be using this an excuse : it just means that I have to work harder. But what J said was somewhat true: The cub still has a chance to grow into the lion.

For such an introverted person like me, it’s really hard for me to make friends because I always hope that someone there comes up and speak to me first. In the end from NBC and UC, I didn’t really make any lasting friends, all of which end up as people who I wave and say hi when I see them around in school. Thankful for O’week though as they group us with our classmates so it’s not like you will lose contact with them. For any potential NUS Business students out there, hre’s a pro-tip: You can skip all the camps and RAG, but please don’t skip Oweek. It became quite prominent that cliques are being formed among us. To start off, there were the people who went for Oweek and those who didn’t. Branching from the ones who went Oweek, there is the Sheares gang, the USP gang, the others gang, and there’s me. Okays I’m not that loner, but I don’t even know myself if I belong to a clique LOL. It seems like I’m making just acquaintances, but not any close friends. I do feel left out at times, many times in fact and this is not in Business itself; the same applies for GENUS and KCIG. It’s more of my issue rather than others. Especially in uni, you see yourself changing in order to fit in the environment. There’s a fine line between being yourself and changing to fit into the environment, I believe that many really change themselves in order to fit in, which shouldn’t happen. I used to think clubbing becomes a must when you go uni, but now I rather just don’t because firstly: I’m not a fan of clubbing and secondly: You don’t really have to follow the crowd. So just be yourself and be natural. You may end up like me having no friends HAHA, but really don’t let others change you, but you do need to change a bit as well. Not everyone can be accommodating to you (And that is something I need to take note and do better).

Also, now being in uni for myself, I understand why it is so easy to fade away from your older friends because uni is occupying most of your time. I still try to keep in contact with my JC friends and army friends, but again it’s really hard to find a common time to meet up so the only times we really see each other are during 21st birthday parties and when we send our fellow friends off. Thankfully most of them are in NUS as well so sometimes we can meet up to mug and have a meal together. In uni you really meet some weird people lols, and in the end the people in Dunman High are still the best. I just hope that I don’t lose contact with people anymore, because I really value these relationships a lot.

Guys selfie during Oweek!

Guys selfie during Oweek! HAHAHA so gay~~

 

Staying optimistic 

Okays conclusion time! (3k word count oh em geeee) I feel that another deja vu moment yet again: me soloing mugging in school nearly everyday till the latest time possible. Only recently did I make my trip back to Bugis and NLB (I never fail not to be productive there haha!). Yes, it feels really lonely at times, especially when you see people around you having at least 1 more person to accompany them there. I don’t really mind, but of course it would be nice if I had a mugging buddy along. Thank goodness for BX for accompanying me for some of the nights @ UTown. Although the student life can get really stressful, it still feels really good to be a student back again. So many insecurities, and half a semester have passed so far! I’m really not sure if I can survive all of this, but the only way is forward. Give me strength somehow, plus a little bit of motivation and drive. Okay I need much more than that, I just need someone to catch me if I fall. Let’s go Nick, 8 more weeks and then give yourself a good break from all of this! 

 

AND TIME FOR SOME KPOP:

Super Junior, EXO, KARA, Wonder Girls… never would I have thought the day would come where the same thing happen to SNSD, where a gap is suddenly formed…  God my heart broke when I saw the beginning of the performance of Gee during the fan meet, where Jessica is no more in front with Tiffany. T.T No matter what happens, I’m still a SONE to the very end. 8 + 1 in the eyes for now, but forever 9 in the heart. #StayStrongSNSD

snsd lets go on for a long time

우리오래가자 ♥ ~ let’s go on for a long time…

I need a virtual hug right now boooo T_T