Sunday, August 29, 2010

Growing Up in the University

"Once you're in the University, you'll be fine, you'll graduate." My mom said that to me countless times when I was studying hard to get full As during my secondary school time.

Back then, I didn't know what University entails, why is it so cool to be in one. I just got the conception that if I will certainly graduate, it should be easier than right now. It wasn't until High School that I realised that studying and learning is just going to be more and more packed and tough the more you advance.

The first semester in NUS is a heaven of playing for me. I stayed up late to the wee hours of the morning just to catch up with gaming and batman episodes that I missed before. The advantage that I had of having a silver medal in the International Physics Olympiad

And indeed, every semester of trying to avoid the hectic stress of deadlines during week 11, 12 and 13 fails every single time. I suppose it's also the attitude during the normal weeks that counts too. Also my involvement with so many academic programmes certainly should make me realise that I more so than most should be burdened with more than normal amounts of stress.

Lucky for me, one of the programmes I joined in is SPS, Special Programme in Science. I had to explain this to many people when I mentioned SPS room. It's a room, bigger than most homes of Singaporeans, and it's air-conditioned, with permanent seats for the students if they wish to have one.

It's a study haven, with many seats on the tables complete with power sockets for laptops; friends around complete with seniors of various majors in science that you can ask questions anytime; computer clusters complete with Windows Vista or Ubuntu and free printing; seminar room complete with projector and seats for 50, a lounge room and even a library complete with books from all disciplines of science.

It was also SPS that takes up a lot of my time too. Being a research intensive course, it exposes us to the skills of writing a review paper during our year 1 semester 2 itself. And we had to work in groups of 3. It was a taxing experience, what with the weekly lectures, interactive sessions, group project meeting and reading up papers on our own, and for me taking seven and a half module for that semester. Days and nights of sleeping in the SPS room and for 4 hours per night helped me gone through this period. I bent so much on studying that I spend over 100 hours per week just studying. In the end, I managed to score a Dean's Tea SAP and pulling my CAP up to the first class level.

So there you go, the story of my first year in University. Thanks!

Me? Right Now? Again.....

Ok, continuing on to the next update.

SPS Junior Mentor training was surprisingly harder than I thought. In the end, I didn't make it.... (I was given a second chance through next sem....and that's better than straight rejection, Yay!)

After a few days of moody-playing-board-game alone and joining the SPS Newbie Orientation Camp Briefing and recap on what to do as a game master, I went back to Malacca with my uncle (Since it was a long weekend, due to National Day) and I really need to take charge and see my perspective a little more.

Coming back, I had to mention that Hariom becomes my room-mate, he's my year 3 physics course-mate in SPS and we wanted to stay in the same double room, but as usual, we were too late in informing the housing people about it. It came as a pleasant surprise that he is assigned as my room-mate.

And came on the start of year 3. I'm taking the modules of
  2. MA2216/ST2131 PROBABILITY
2 Physics, 2 Maths, 1 USP 1 UROPS (USP & SPS & Physics)

And I do try to do the tutorials this time..... It's not easy to be a good student, quite little or no time to play.....

All these time, I've been out of touch with NUSBS's Matric Fair and Camp Ehi Passiko..... but the Welcome Tea on the first Friday of Week 1 we all did a fantastic job. After that, I went to the SPS NOC and had a fantastic time playing with the SPS newbies and the year 2 people. Next it was YOG, youth Olympic Games volunteering.

I went there after coming back from Changi Village on Sunday to do my first duty. They gave free T-Shirts, Pants, transportation, meals, and a Celebration Party at Universal Studios! How cool is volunteering!

Over week 2 I've adjusted to the hectic lifestyle of going for volunteer and doing homework.
With NUSBS activities coming up again, I can readjust to the lifestyle of sleeping early and waking early!

Now's the end of week 3, with significantly lower amount of events that I can relax on updating my life. With the upcoming NUSBS AGM I can finally step down as the Deputy Dharma Director and take up another new post!

See ya all next time!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Timetable for Sem 5



8:00- 9:00

9:00- 10:00

10:00- 11:00

11:00- 12:00

12:00- 1:00

1:00- 2:00

2:00- 3:00

3:00- 4:00

4:00- 5:00

5:00- 6:00

6:00- 7:00

7:00- 8:00


PC4248 S12-04-03

LA2 S16-0304



Lecture: Humans Relations SR1


Prob LT27


Prob Tutorial

PC4130 S16-0436




PC4248 S12-04-03

PC4130 S16-0436

Tutorials: Humans Relations SR1




Prob LT27



Saturday, August 14, 2010

Something about me-Ng Xin Zhao

I was born in Malacca in 1989, and raised there until form 6, where I took STPM (Malaysia's equivalent to A-levels) and then I came to NUS studying Physics and second majoring in Mathematics.

On financial aid, I decided to make full use of the opportunities in NUS, so I joined in University Scholar's Programme, Special Programme in Science and Special Programme in Mathematics in addition to my double major. Other than that, I also dabble in CCA, joining in Physics Society, Nam Wah Pai (Chinese Martial Art) and Buddhist Society. Currently I'm only active in NUS Buddhist Society as the Deputy Dharma Director and going to take up the Management committee again this year.

Well, let me talk more about my social life, which is more relevant to the module of Human Relations. During my (all boys) secondary school life, I was labelled as a bookworm, for bringing a book wherever I go and reading whenever I got the chance to. I was a social clutz and mostly live in my own world.

After going to High School, I started to actively interact and be more outspoken in the class, also it is a bit of adjusting to do sitting in a mixed (gender) class. This is because I got inspired by the few “Jokers” in my classes who got lots of attention and popularity. Being addicted to the taste of popularity after getting top results and skipping a grade in my primary school, I modelled myself to be funny, strange and good to regain the popularity, and I was the most infamous person in school!

Due to some good fortune and lots of reading due to interest, I got selected to represent Malaysia in the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in 2007 and 2008. This did much to boost my self confidence and make me even more famous. My blog which I started in 2007 (my last year of high school) got lots of hits after I got silver medal in 2008. During the 2007 IPhO, I collected the emails of almost every participants, thus almost all my shyness in talking to strangers at a social event evaporated there.

The Olympiad allows me to have the opportunity to stay in a local University (UKM) to study physics there even before I got admitted to any university. So for the two months there I felt the first real taste of what loneliness is in the nights. I was away from family and friends and there wasn't much to do at night. This is in stark contradiction with the self-image that I had of me being a lonely traveller (and liking it).

The loneliness ends when I joined in their Buddhist Fellowship activities and made new friends there. I even got to star as the baby Prince Siddhārtha (the Buddha) in their biggest annual activity! My involvement in Buddhist Society in NUS (attending 4 out of 5 of the weekly activities per week during my second year) continues on mainly through interest and spiritual commitment. Using my new found social skills (not being shy) and weird (and unique) personality, I felt just at home in NUSBS.

However there is another home in NUS for me, and that is SPS. It's mainly because I spend so much time in the SPS room (sleepovers, homework, permanent placement of my laptop, friends and boardgames). Being a relatively small community (50-30 people per batch), I know everyone in SPS and everyone knows me!

Despite all these homes, I still feel that I'm in adequate in social skills and human relationships as exemplified my friends at both homes that I'm just like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory (Social skills wise, but at least I do learn). Hence the interest in this module!