My Bubble

Self-centred.

Portal

It seems a little dumb for me to build a gaming PC but not actually play games. Of course, I want to, but I often spend my time re-reading fanfiction instead of playing games, or catching up on movies or TV shows.

(Yea, I’m a weirdo.)

Anyway, I recently bought a whole bunch of games during Steam’s Summer Sale, and I decided randomly to just give Portal a go. And man oh man, am I glad I bought the game and played it.

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The Meaning of Life

So it’s been a heck of a long time since I blogged about daily life. But here I am, near the end of my 3rd year as a university student, wondering what on earth am I doing with my life.

Someone once told me that for my course, students tend to find themselves disillusioned in Year 3 Sem 1, the busiest semester of our course. Now that it’s Sem 2 that’s the busiest for my batch, I think I’m struck with that same syndrome.

It’s been just a long slog of content-heavy lectures, 8am classes and tests galore. And I also took an elective on my one free day. If it were any good, I wouldn’t really mind. Instead, it’s been basically a useless time-suck that I’ve learnt barely anything from, and it’s just made my semester feel even lousier.

Of course, I’m still wasting my time frivolously on the internet as I do. But even then, it never feels like I have any time to just breathe and unwind. I’m just tired all day long, and weekends just never seem to suffice. I thought I could relax during recess week, but I ended up stressing myself over building my PC. I barely wrote anything for my fanfiction, although to be fair, I’m a little disillusioned over that as well.

I keep asking myself if all this effort is worthwhile. If doing this is what I want in life. If I’m actually capable of retaining even a shred of knowledge to bring to my future career. If I’ll even get a job in my field of study given the competition. And while these questions always popped up now and then, they’ve never been more prominent in my head this semester. Compounded by the very real fear of true adulthood, it’s just making me feel terribly jaded.

I mean, when I get back test results, I feel a brief moment of emotion, be it joy or sorrow or surprise. Then it’s back to apathy, where I really don’t feel much about whether I did well or not. Sure, I study when I have to, so I can do well on tests and keep up with the class. But it all feels so pointless.

I’ll probably look back one day at this post, at this moment in time, and find it funny that past me was so full of himself, and so wrapped up in his little problems and his tiny world that he would be disillusioned by university of all things. That real life is far worse, and university was probably the easiest time of his life.

But current me just wants all of this to end before he flips out.

Students Who Turn in Work at the Last Minute Get Worse Grades, Study Finds

Uh oh… 😛

TIME

Procrastinators, you’ve been warned — a new study suggests that students who turn in homework at the last minute get worse grades.

Two professors at the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom report that submitting assignments just before they’re due corresponded with, at worst, a five-percent drop in grades.

Researchers David Arnott and Scott Dacko looked at the final assignments from 504 first-year students and 273 third-year students in marketing classes in the U.K., where papers are graded by marks out of 100.

Of the 777 students involved, 86.1 percent waited until the last 24 hours to turn in work, earning an average score of 64.04, compared to early submitters’ average of 64.32 — roughly equivalent to a ‘B’ grade.

But the average score for the most part continued to drop by the hour, and those who turned in the assignment at the last minute had the lowest average…

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Napping Around: Colleges Provide Campus Snooze Rooms

WE NEED THIS PRONTO!!!

TIME

In college, the best grades are usually considered to be the product of sleepless nights. Now, universities nationwide are setting up designated rooms for napping or expanding existing spaces to show students that they don’t have to sacrifice sleep to do top work.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is the latest school to make headlines for piloting a napping station through fall 2014. In the walk-up to finals on April 23, 2014, six vinyl cots and disposable pillowcases were placed on the first floor of the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library, which is open 24/7. First-come, first-serve, with a 30-minute time limit on snoozing, the area was the brainchild of rising senior Adrian Bazbaz, 23, an aerospace engineering major who came up with the idea as a member of U-M Central Student Government after watching countless students fall asleep in front of the library computers. “They’ll just…

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SMUN 2014

Whew!

That was some ride.

I’m glad I decided to do the reflections on SMUN ’14 two days after the event actually ended. The annoyance and frustration that threatened to boil over plenty of times still simmered within, and only with ample rest and other things distracting me, did I manage to adjust my view of SMUN to a more objective one.

I can’t say that it was a great event on a personal level. Bogged down by covering Logistics and Events, it was a miracle we managed to make it through the event without hiccups on that front. Given that we were a 4-man team, often down to 3 or even 2 men, it was quite a feat from my perspective.

As part of the Events Committee, it’s obvious that I should first reflect upon what Events had been tasked to do. We were handed the opening/closing ceremonies, and the social night for SMUN. The planning stage started early during the semester, but tapered off as school became the priority. Only after the exams did we really sink our teeth into the planning, but by then it was getting really close to the event proper.

We were lucky to be able to get Kent Ridge Guild House for the social night for a great price, but the logistical needs of the ceremonies left much to be desired. With a limited budget, we can only do so little to get the things we needed, or hire the help for the ceremonies. And as with all events, problems kept cropping up, such as AV issues and having to beautify a functional stage.

The opening ceremony went off with little to no hitches, other than a lot of physical labour. Social night was not so, with a huge problem regarding the bag deposit plan we had enacted, but failed miserably due to a lack of manpower. The event itself wasn’t a huge blast either, but given the time constraints we had, I think we were pretty faultless in its execution.

Finally, the closing ceremony. What. A. Nightmare. A very late GOH, miscues, missing manpower, AV problems…the list went on. I’m surprised we made it out of there without calling it a non-failure. Given that the closing ceremony was under my jurisdiction, I felt responsible for its lack of success. But with the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that if there is fault to be apportioned, I’m not the sole person to blame.

So that’s the Events stuff. Can’t say it’s very much different from other events I’ve done, apart from the crippling lack of manpower and the litany of problems that wrecked the closing ceremony. Otherwise, it was all pretty standard fare IMO.

No, what really killed me and the rest of the Events Comm was covering logistics. Without a dedicated Logs Comm (which was effectively non-existent a few weeks before SMUN), we had to cover all the logistical needs of a 260-delegate, 4-day event. From packing goodie bags to lugging them across NUS, it was all done by a few people.

Unsurprisingly, given that I have pushed aside other commitments to deal with SMUN until it was over, I was pretty much there for every logistical movement. Which was hell on earth, as we moved a ton of logs here and there. The pre-opening ceremony period was particularly insane, with just 3 people moving 250 goodie bags across UTown. It may not sound like a lot at first, but the physical exertion really takes a toll.

Then it was just a heck of a lot of running around to ferry things around UTown. The lack of sleep from preparing logs didn’t help either. At the end of the event, my feet were blistered and my shins ached with every step I took. But we made it, somehow.

Did I gain any satisfaction from completing SMUN relatively successfully? Not really. I never really got the satisfaction from planning events since my very first one, AYC ’09. After that was just firefight after firefight, as the organising committee had to deal with all sorts of problems. At the end of each event, there was just a sense of relief and exhaustion, and satisfaction was at a premium.

SMUN ’14 wasn’t particularly good, even compared to some of my worst experiences. It’s probably the physical toll that it took on me; I’ve never had so much to do for an event before. Well, at least now I know what I’m capable of.

But of course, one of the main things that happen during such events is the meeting of people. And while I shall not elaborate too much on the people I found annoyance with, let’s just say that they were targets of expletives during the more intense moments of executing SMUN.

But with the bad comes the good. I can’t stress how much respect I have for Andy, my Events Director and a good friend. He tanked so much work every night that when we woke up early to prepare for the day’s activities, we often found him snoozing from exhaustion. I think I lashed out at him once or twice during the event, when we were all stressed and really tired. But he took it in stride, continued to thank us for our efforts, and I have massive, massive respect for him.

Others include Cheryl, our Secretary-General. She was somehow more sprightly than all of us despite having less sleep, always ready to offer help even when she had little time outside of her other duties. Without her, the 4 guys in the Events Comm would have been pretty screwed when it came to doing artistic stuff for the social night. Her passion and dedication to the event was clear to see, and I’m glad to have worked for and with her in this event.

The rest of the Events team deserves kudos too. Shawn was there most of the time, a great source of idle chitchat that helped make the event go by much faster and better. He was also always there to help with the logistical work, and that saved Andy and I a ton of work. Ping Liang, affectionately known as TPL, was hamstrung by his internship, but while I during the event, I might have resented his lack of presence a little, I could easily recognise the pains he took to try and make the social night a success. His constant fretting over how it was going to turn out, the apologies for when things didn’t go well…I can’t resent sincerity like that.

Beyond them, I met Jonathan and Shaun. Shaun was eternally busy doing all sorts of things, and totally deserved his 5 lanyards with his numerous positions within the planning committee. Jonathan is a very intelligent person who has plenty of advice and opinions that have helped with how we executed the event. Without him, I think the Events Comm would have been happy just to get the event over with, instead of trying to make it good.

These were the people I interacted with the most, and I’m glad to have worked with them throughout SMUN ’14. Other than them, the Sponsorship Director, Cheryl Ng, was a chirpy, bubbly individual who was always asking whether she could help, and did so until bedtime. The rest of the organising committee were mostly Acad people, and so we had few interactions beyond hellos and me passing them draft resolutions and working papers hot off the press.

In the end, do I really care that Events seems a bit secluded and insular? Not really. We all had our jobs, and we did them to our best ability. I’ve learnt to an even greater degree that there are all sorts of people in this world, all with different attitudes towards life, work, duty, and responsibility. And I’m glad I came out of the event with a greater appreciation for the dirty work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s one of the reasons why I’m always doing Ops related stuff in events.

And I guess when the next event rolls around, I might end up doing that sort of thing again.

Year 1 Sem 2 Midterms

Yeehaw.

Well, now that those horrible things called tests are all over, I guess I can reflect on them a little.

Last semester’s midterms were ones that I actually studied a whole lot for, mostly for Anatomy. It was a big break in tradition for me, who had little to no desire to study ever since secondary school. I usually study the day before; I managed to study for the whole of recess week (albeit not very efficiently). I thought I had turned a corner.

Then semester 1’s exams came and went, and as I got dragged into the audio game thanks to copious amounts of research that morphed into an obsession, I went back to old study habits. And so that continued to this semester’s midterms, and I ended up not even studying for LSM1401’s final CA, which I failed, somewhat embarrassingly IMO.

But after that poor grade, I still found myself lacking any sort of desire to study (or do my work, which will probably cost me my elective grades…). I think it’s partly due to how the module was (damn easy, and then a final CA that hurt badly), and partly due to how I hate the meritocratic system that ends up turning everyone against each other.

Cue another angry rant about bell curves.

Yes, I detest the bell curve. Overall, my absolute score for LSM1401 should be at least 75%, which should grant me an A- (based on NUS High’s grading system, which should be a decent reflection of NUS’s system). But, with the bell curve, I’m not expecting anything more than a B+, and I wouldn’t put any money on me getting one of those. It drives students to study, yes, but do they seek to learn or just to score?

It’s a sad indictment of our education system, when people see me as a nerd when I ask questions beyond our curriculum. Is our schooling not about learning, broadening horizons? When did we start getting degrees for jobs? Where did the interest go? When did grades become more important than the content which we are learning?

The irony is that I’m just as concerned about my grades (see: bell curve rant above), because it will ultimately impact on my ability to find a job. Change to a system that is touted as excellent won’t come easy, and probably won’t come at all.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. People will probably think I complain too much, given I score decently despite not studying. Well, that’s because I actually try to learn during lectures instead of dumbly copying notes and trying to figure it out later.

Whatever.

All I know is, I hate exams and bell curves because they put an ungodly amount of emphasis on grades and studying when education should be about developing the mind and learning new things.