Another uneventful year flits by

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It disappoints me, to some degree – unbeknownst even to myself..that 2016 is going to end in a week’s time.

And paralleled with the horrors of 2015, well.

It just seems rather ordinary.

But perhaps ordinary is what I need, at least for now. Many times, I’ve been on edge – waiting for the worst, living on the edge. Following the aftermath of the ‘retake’ year, a year of much tribulation; 2016 is much like the calm after the storm.

And whilst I am living in the present, I often find myself in the past. At times I feel relieved I even made it out – but sometimes, I feel displaced.

Off-kilter.

Unsure. Uncertain.

But these feelings are timely reminders of what happens when you lose sight of your goal, of yourself. You find yourself drifting away, like a lone boat swept away by the tidal wave.

Truth be told, there hasn’t been much that I can affirm for 2016. There haven’t been any pivotal, life-changing, plot twists.

But I suppose that’s what ordinary feels like. It feels like gradual, incremental developments of your character, your purpose, your decisions, and your feelings every single day.

It is still a battle – but in tandem to what you can chew off.

The first semester has been tiring. You know, that feeling like – at times, you’re ready for the world; and other times, you feel like the world needs to back up for a bit. Tiring, but not exactly difficult; per se.

But mostly, I feel like I’m mostly responsible for tiring myself out by overthinking. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, mostly unnecessary..but I do find myself thinking about things, and then re-thinking, and re-thinking the re-thinked thought.

But overall, I’m on safe ground till now. And for that, I’m grateful.

There are some minor fine-tunings I hope to correct, but I find myself pretty lucky to have met a small group of new friends, being a legitimate part of the school, and finally just kinda having life settled.

Maybe this ‘ordinary’-ness comes with setting the bar of expectations too high. I thought that there would be more shit coming my way, honestly – but I guess the crazy bits have been purportedly left behind.

The misgivings, the hurtful incidences, the joy and surprise of unprecedented events..I’ve been through them all.

I guess one word to sum it all up would be: solemn.

Yes, solemn. I don’t mean the face you plaster on when you’re at a funeral, but the axiom that hints at “having serious thoughts”.

With serious thoughts come very-serious-decisions: and to me, those include the following

  • being there for people
  • being there for myself – sometimes it’s hard, when you don’t particularly think you’re anything great; but some people believe in you and it’s your job to prove them right
  • being sincere
  • being grateful
  • being honest; even if it means you’re upset, or disappointed – or high like a horse.

These may seem like simple things, but they’re rudimentary. When you accept the lows, cherish the highs, and always keep the future in mind; you’re in a good place.

Because you’re human.

And that’s one thing the people of today tend to forget. They tend to think too highly of themselves, or immediately label themselves as a ‘mistake’ when they’re not mainstream.

But what is mainstream, really?

Nobody is exempt from flaws, or insecurities.

Everyone has their story – you have no right to judge others for it, but neither are you entitled to use it as an excuse.

And that’s one thing I bear in mind. It gravitates me; because on days it feels like shit is raining on you, you learn to weather it. And on happier days when rays are glistening off you, you relish them – because they won’t last.

I’m not sure what awaits me in 2017 but as long as I guard this, it’ll be fine. Little by little, slow and steady.

The turtle wins the race.

GES1003: Changing Landscapes of Singapore

So I know this is a pretty popular mod to clear GE, and it didn’t strike me much except as a very feasible option to both score & suffer less – esp since I took urban geog at A lvls.

Though I read many posts about how interesting this mod is, I have to say that it left me feeling pretty zzz most of the time. Had it not been for the fact that I already kinda had some knowledge of landscapes, I’d probably just crash this mod.

sg_river2This mod is divided into subtopics e.g. heritage, migrant, geopolitical landscapes etc. Pretty intriguing; esp the landscapes like sexuality which revolve around marriage & LGBT communities etc – but then again, this kinda thing’s always been my jam. But it’s def content heavy, and the group project kills.

First up. We’re kinda just randomly thrown into IVLE like crazy pool of lost sheep, trying to find a herd. My group was kinda mehhh (god, it’s becoming a trend word for this mod) – simply because I was the rose among thorns, was elected leader for no particular reason, and we only met up like twice?? And then this guy bailed on us (yup, wise move there; abandoning a sinking ship) – but like legit no citations, no work done, nada. The only thing he accomplished was a selfie that was compulsory for the cover page. Remind me again why I love group work.

Secondly, the lectures are really kinda useless. The lecturers are quirky; Dr K is kinda brash and sarcastic, but entertaining on some days. Dr Wong’s kinda this sassy guy who has a twirly accent and mouths off so fast..it gives lightning a run for its money.

So really what I did was give up on listening – instead, I bought notes from this senior so that I could start readings early (which you should definitely consider as an alternative to the incessant rambles of professors). Moreover, I kind of just crammed my readings, case studies, etc before finals which was worth 50%

This tip is worthwhile: I totally murdered the finals paper (i’m not kidding; I wrote like almost 12 sides worth of 3 essays & they were on. point. whoo)

But. I got a B+ for the group project, which was mehhh since many other groups got the A range which was pretty disheartening. And there was also this individual project on Telok Ayer, coupled with a new app that kept crashing. This was probably the worst grade I got (6/10) because I kept selfie-ing the wrong places & lost a bunch of marks for ‘fail’ landmarks.

I think about 400+ peeps took this mod, which makes the bell curve kinda steep (esp since the content is ‘fed’ both in lectures & tutorials over and over and over)..but little is done to impart the answering techniques.

As such, I’d consider myself lucky that I managed to figure out essays (thanks to philo training) – enough for me to conquer the upper percentile of the bell curve.

Another point worth mentioning is the ultimate mehh of the T.A. She’s this nice graduate student doing a project about plantations in Indo, but she’s really really quiet and so not engaging. She tries, she really does – but to rely on her for your eventual grades is like %#nohope_notjhope

So overall, I’d give this mod the following ranking [1 being pretty light, 10 being intense]

  • Content: 7
  • Workload: 6.5 (it was like a 8.5 nearing finals)
  • Interesting: 4

Final grade: A-

GET1025: Science Fiction & Philosophy

Okays so I took this module out of pure, unadulterated passion for all things philosophical – and what a joyride it has been. I have to admit that most of the time, I’m at a lost as to what Prof Holbo (Holbo – not Hobo) is spouting; but it’s interesting, nonetheless. It’s kinda like when you’re listening to an aboriginal language that sounds quirky (and though you’re so confused) you kind of like being befuddled.

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Before I delve into my personal experience, let’s break down the details:

  • Lectures: Every Wed, 4-6pm @ lt9 (FASS)

*chope the back row seats, really; just so Prof Holbo can’t reach you & u get to experience panorama view (and stone)*

  • Tutorial: every fortnightly; mine was 10-12pm, every odd week (there weren’t any even weeks!)

TIP: always check u’ve got the right week; because if you miss it (like i almost did), and discover the classes have passed for that week…well consider yourself roast.

Exam: ABSOLUTELY NONE!! (disclaimer: may seem like a privilege – he also concocts tiny doses of suffrage) in the form of:

  • blog comments (navigating the blog isn’t easy – no, really) because it has sporadic bouts of intellectual wisdom, amassed by the sheer number of seniors who’ve already taken a preclusion/pre-requisite mod before

It can really fuel your inferiority complex; like you always feel lackadaisical in tutorials? Most of what Prof says is like ‘okay, google search’ or like ‘am I in French 1001?’

But it’s a very unique mod because Prof Holbo gives this list of essay questions, by which you choose 6 and it’s really fun!! It follows macro-concepts like ‘Man v Superman’, ‘Fate & Destiny’ etc which are really mind-boggling but legit!

There are also tutorial participation points (by which you really ought to contribute) – when he says ‘contribution’, he means it. Prof Holbo’s mod isn’t simply the kind that you can snooze in because he literally picks off everyone in tutorial. But he’s a really intriguing, passionate prof regardless -and he likes unique answers.

I remember somebody mentioned a psychological anime: ‘Psychopass’ – which was an example of this utopia which is really a pseudo dystopia and I was thinking ‘wow that’s so smart but Prof Holbo’s probably gonna be ??? bcos age gap, and he’s ang moh>.<‘

BUT HE KNEW ABOUT IT.

So yes, the only complains I have about this mod is the sheer workload when it comes to reading off the annotated asterisks (*) that are tested in a bulk of 10-11 books condensed into 8 MCQ questions in lecture.

Imagine a hot, humid, Wed afternoon – you’re just dying to go home, but you have to call on your spirit that’s floated away & board A1 to FASS then proceed to crumble even more when you’re confronted with a bunch of ludicrous mcqs that are literally #mindgames

And then after you’ve submitted that OAS sheet so oh-so-lovingly scribbled in for a span of 10 minutes, you feel relieved to know your answers are right (but still remember the whole week you spent mulling over twisted science fiction books just to get that.one. mark.)

I think the greatest takeaway is to simply lay back and enjoy the mod, do your readings, write with fervour and passion (I did the best at ‘Pitch Frankenstein – a remake’) by which I claimed he had gay tendencies; and Prof Holbo would never have gathered than my research was inspired by BTS stans ❤

So the point is; don’t be afraid to take on ‘intense’ mods – they may be populated by seniors, who’ve got loads to say and argue about. Or you might not have done philo and/or sci fiction ever but that makes you a clean slate. And that, in itself, makes you less mainstream & advantageous.

Brief breakdown of my scores:

  • Essay: out of 5 = 2.5 (x1), 3 (x4), 4 (x1)
  • Quiz: out of 8 = 7 & 8
  • Blog comments ~ idk but I left like 8-10 comments? Just be original & insightful 🙂
  • Tutorial participation: just…try to phrase your inadequacies like scholarly curiosity? and make ignorance sound intelligent??

Overall grade: A- [idk how I even got here; but I’m legit inspired to take a Lvl 2xxx UE philo mod again; fight me on this]