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!
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.
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!
Cub in the lion’s den (and making friends with your fellow
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.
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
우리오래가자 ♥ ~ let’s go on for a long time…
I need a virtual hug right now boooo T_T