Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Certs

Hey all,

I’ve not been updating on my personal life for quite long now. But this is not one of the post where I go through all the thing I had done since the last post.

This is about the certs which I had chosen to present for my job application. There are so many certificates by the time you graduate and you’ll realise that to put all these in your CV is totally ridiculous. Some certs like participation in a Scouts Camp during your secondary days and motivation workshop for the national examinations are not even worth mentioning. Here I’ve selected the most important and relevant certs so far for the application of this first job. Only in the first job would these matter, hence the timing of this writing.

There are ten of them in total and I shall go through them one by one, giving perhaps the link to the past posts too.


Firstly, the programmes that I am in: Bachelor of Science Course.

1. Dean’s List for meritorious performance in the AY 2008/09 Sem 2 of the Bachelor of Science Course. Link.

This one I had gotten during my sem 2. For the achievement of 4.75 Semester Average Points (SAP). Well, you might think I should had gotten it for every semester. However… there are too many things to handle in a semester, and this was the one where I put almost all my free time into studies. It teaches me that this is not the way I wished to spend my university life: I don’t want to become a Study Machine. So at least I have one. It represents my main course in NUS. Amongst the 10 certs, this is the 3rd one I obtained chronologically, in the beginning of sem 3. I put it first because of the 6+5+5+6=22 modules minimum requirement I took for this.

The next programme is University Scholars Programme.

2. Honour Roll for meritorious academic performance and contributions and achievements beyond the classroom in Academic Year 2009-2010. Link.

This one was because I finished 4 out of 8 first tier modules in USP and also joined in the Buddhism in Asia Global Programme. I felt the most undeserving of this cert, as it is unexpected and I didn’t really did any real work to get it. Plus I am not so close to the USP community. This teaches me that a cert does not represent how exactly the person who has it feels about having one. It represents me being in USP, wherein that time, I do not feel a sense of belonging to. It also teaches me that appreciation may come from the most unexpected places, so appreciate them. Amongst the 10 certs, this is the 6th one I obtained chronologically, in the middle of sem 5. I put it second because of the 12 modules minimum requirement I took for this.

The next one I am however extremely proud of.

3. Special Programme in Science. This is to certify that Ng Xin Zhao has successfully completed the Special Programme in Science.

(on the back) The Special Programme in Science (SPS) is an intense programme in the Faculty of Science that seeks to nurture talents among budding scientists. It is specifically directed at the academically talented students who cherish outstanding scholarship, and delight in the rigorous training of the mind and character.

The Programme introduces students to some of the broad areas of science through seminars, discussions, laboratory and fieldwork. With strong emphasis placed on interdisciplinary science, it offers abundant opportunities for those motivated to embark on in-depth studies of advanced topics that are at the forefront of modern scientific endeavours.

Innovative teaching methods, through peer learning and mentoring, form the basis with which creative and critical thinking is fostered. This dynamism is largely sustained by the passion and enthusiasm that the participants have for intellectual pursuits. Apart from their academic curriculum, students in the Programme are also involved in many enrichment activities organized by the faculty.

Quite the description at the back of the cert! Well, they forgot to mention that SPS has a 24/7 room with bookable table spaces for you for each whole semesters and free food are found not-too-rarely just outside SPS room.

Well, it was my 5 modules that I took for this and it represents one of the hardest achievements in my university life. And one of the most worthwhile achievement too. The mentorship experience certainly opened my eyes to how does it felt like grading, teaching, guiding, mentoring, and being normal (instead of extremely weird). Amongst the 10 certs, this is the 9th one I obtained chronologically, in the middle of sem 7.

Next up is an internship!

4. Certificate of participation. This certificate is awarded to Mr Ng Xin Zhao of NUS for participating in the Vacation Internship Programme at the Data Storage Institute from 10 May 2010- 20 July 2010. Project: Study of Nanophotonic Integration Technology. Supervisor’s commendation: The student has demonstrated resourcefulness and great skills in theoretical study and programming. He has good attitude in learning and working with the unknown.

This internship lasted less than 12 weeks, between sem 4 and 5, with a meditation retreat in the middle. It was with the A Star. I touched a bit on applied physics here and get to experience the working life of clocking in and out at the exact timing. In my opinion, the work I did in SPS during my sem 3 surpasses the work I got to do here. This experience told me I am not suitable for industry research. Amongst the 10 certs, this is the 4th one I obtained chronologically, in the beginning of sem 5.

After that I had joined in an International event at the beginning of sem 5. It was:

5. 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games 14-26 August 2010 In recognition of your achievements and contribution to the success of the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games.

For this event, I travelled to NTU for a few times during the beginning of the semester to help teach the young athletes (teenagers) how to fold origami. It was yet another International event that enabled me to relive for a moment the awesome feeling of being in one. It also has an interesting backstory, involving the Universal Studios ticket that we got for free, that almost came to be but it did not happened. And I am glad it did not happen. Amongst the 10 certs, this is the 5th one I obtained chronologically, in the beginning of sem 5.

When I mentioned the international programme that I was in, it was:

6. The Academic Committee of 38th International Physics Olympiad Awards to Xin Zhao Ng from Malaysia Honorable Mention 13 to 22 July, 2007, Isfahan, Iran.

It was the one that changed my life, took me away from depression, made me extremely famous in my high school, got me brimming with confidence and turned into arrogance, and put me on the path to become a Physicist. Amongst the 10 certs, this is the 1st one I obtained chronologically, during my high school years, 1 year before entering NUS.

The second one I obtained would be one year later, just before matriculating into NUS.

7. The International Board of the IPhO awards the Silver Medal to Ng Xin Zhao from Malaysia at the 39th International Physics Olympiad held in Hanoi, Vietnam July 20-29, 2008.

It was the one that got me into newspaper at last! And the one that I bragged on (in)famously during my first (and second) year in NUS. It was also the time when I learned that my name sounds similar to “Hello” in Vietnam. Making me famous there too. It was partially also with this confidence in the interview that got me into SPS.

Now you had seen: First 4 University Programmes, next 3 International Programmes, and the next 3 are the ones that I treasure the most: Spiritual development, or for those without religion, Co-curricular activities.

8. This certificate is hereby awarded to Ng Xin Zhao for services rendered to NUS Buddhist Society as the Deputy Dharma Director of the 31st Management Committee. February 12, 2011.

This cert represents a lot of hours attending and organizing NUSBS weekly and annual activities with 14 other friends who are kind and nice. It gives me meaning in my second year of University life and gradually changed me from the Study Machine into someone who is balanced and happy!

One of the toughest moments in my NUSBS life that I burned out, but rekindled in the next cert you see. Amongst the 10 certs, this is the 7th one I obtained chronologically, during the Dana Lunch 2011, middle of sem 6 for services rendered during sem 3 and 4.

9. This certificate is hereby awarded to Ng Xin Zhao For his services rendered to NUS Buddhist Society as the Vice President of the 32nd Management Committee AY 2010/11

This is the year when I was at my peak in NUSBS. Doing more jobs than I did in the past year that I did not thought possible, fulfilling a lot of successful events, managed a cool team of people who are nice and kind and good in their own way, and the one year that made me prouder than ever for being in NUSBS. It does gives me a lot of work to let go later on. However, while it lasted, it was nice. Nice to the full end of nice. I miss the 32nd MC! (Which we have been keeping in touch too, more of that next time.)

It was also reminder of one of the few events in NUSBS that I helped out after stepping down. Yup, hard for me to let go…Dana Lunch 2012 where this cert was given was one such event, making this the last of the cert that I chronologically obtained, in the middle of sem 8. Another activity that I helped out was a bit earlier, it was:

10. Certificate of Participation Awarded to Ng Xin Zhao For the successful completion of Intervarsity Youth Leadership Dharma Camp 2011 (24 to 25th September)

One of the few things that made this event and Dana Lunch 2012 worth mentioning is that it is when a lot of Buddhist Organizations were involved. In Dana Lunch 2012, the TIBS was invited with 12 External Buddhist Organizations sharing about themselves. In the Intervarsity Youth Leadership Dharma Camp 2011, it was Fo Guang Shan who hosted the TIBS in assisting us to share our common problems and solutions to them. It was a tremendous morale boost to all who participated and I was glad to be one of the few who represented NUSBS in the planning stage, and in the sharing stage. Being the 8th cert I got, in the middle of sem 7, it also serves as a reminder to not delude myself, and a dangerous reminder of just how easy it was to fall back into delusion without a proper ending to safeguard the mind and senses. Perhaps only one person would understand this, but oh well. I’ll still put it here.

Now that you’ve seen my University life, you can roughly conclude that I was:

Playful and arrogant during Sem 1, so I didn’t got Dean’s List then,

A Study Machine in Sem 2, so I got the Dean’s List,

A research intensive person in Sem 3, part of the reason I am proud to be in SPS,

Getting into more Spirituality in Sem 4, with a meditation retreat in the middle of my internship!

Receiving and making good fortunes in Sem 5, where I got a recognition I didn’t anticipated, and decided to be Vice President of NUSBS,

Got more involved in spirituality than in studies in Sem 6, wherein I still didn’t get Dean’s List and was planning for big things to happen (Intervarsity Dharma Camp and Dana Lunch 2012).

Trying to let go, very hard no less, in Sem 7, wherein I was still involved in NUSBS and

Finally, involved in mentoring in Sem 8, as mentioned in the SPS part.


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