A Long Overdue Update😅 + Happy CNY 🐶

I’ve been debating how to start this post off for a while now, since it feels like my first post after 3-4 month hiatus should be more exciting and interesting (or at least more thought out and edited). But since I can’t thing of anything really, here goes nothing!

Hi readers!

I’ve gained a fair few followers since I last posted on here (which was like 3-4 months ago) so welcome to my blog new people! (wow, real professional sounding there)

Anywho…

I’ve been a bit busy recently, so haven’t gotten the chance to post as often as I should.

Several new updates in my life:

  • Last semester… could have been better. I was basically playing perpetual catch up with my courses and lost motivation with some of the courses after I found out that they wouldn’t count toward my major.
    • Still I powered through it and while my gpa was down from previous sem, my CGPA went up (since y1-sem 1 was far worse). Plus I learned a ton and feel I got a fair score for how I did. Still need to work on not procrastinating on revision though…
  • Laptop blue-screened in December while I was visiting relatives abroad, so wasn’t able to get back on a proper laptop until I got back in January.
  • I’m taking 6 courses this year, so I’m a bit busier than last year. Luckily these course are pretty awesome compared to last sem’s ones so we will see!
  • Ran 10km again in the HK Standard Charter Marathon again. Was a bit slower this year (by like 3 minutes), but considering I trained less and I got wicked cramps 3/4 the way through I’ll take that time with pride
  • I’ve been nominated to the University of Leeds for my semester abroad next year! Super stoked! (I’ll probably blog about it here/another new blog)

I’ll continue with the goals thing starting March 1, as I’ve found it to be very useful. Even if I don’t manage to finish my goals, at least I have a typed out outline of the things I need to focus on, which is great.

🎆 Have a happy Chinese New Year and great Year of the Dog! 🏮 (恭喜發財!狗年旺旺! 🐶) and I’ll see you in March.

-Rebecca

 

P.s. Before I forget, the USA Mid Term elections are happening this year and the deadline for the primaries in several states are coming up soon.

If you are like me, a USA citizen living abroad, or a member of the military, you can use the Federal Voting Assistance Program at FVAP.gov to request your mail in ballot.

For people stateside, you can find the information you need here at the usvotefoundation.org  or EAC.gov. 12 states even have same day voter registration, so honestly you have very little reason not to vote if you are eligible.


p.s.s I didn’t want this to end on a downer or have this post be super political but it has got to be said. The USA needs to sort out its gun problem. NOW.

It is absolutely abhorrent that these shootings continue to happen and I’m always at a loss for words when nothing gets done except for offers of “thoughts and prayers”.

As someone who grew up in Texas, I understand the pervasiveness of gun culture and get extremely annoyed when people stereotype gun owners as red necked hillbillies or end of the world prepers. A few of my close friends and classmates were gun owners who used them for hunting and sport.  And this was just in Austin, I can only imagine what is like to have a gun in a more rural area. Gun culture is just a facet of life and there is little point in trying to ignore it or demonize others for it.

But something has gone wrong when you remember as an elementary kid having “unidentified stranger on campus” drills where you learn how to duck under your desk or hid in the restroom/closet while staying as quiet as possible. When you remember visiting to a Cabela’s just being stunned at just how easy for someone to get a gun. When you see in the news that another school shooting has happened and you are no longer shocked, only numb.

Gun culture and gun control are not mutually exclusive to each other. You can be a second amendment supporter and believe in common sense gun regulations. This should not be such a difficult concept to understand. Period.

 

 

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A Very Belated Update…

So its already the end of October and I still haven’t gotten around to making that October goal post yet…

The punny goal name I was thinking of was “Braving and Overcoming Obstacles in October” or Booo!👻 for short ( in honor of Halloween of course) but:

a) that is super cheesy.., like wow…

&

b) it turns out that I spent so much of my time overcoming said obstacles (ie mountains of midterms, EOSA things, tutoring intensity, first ecology field course etc) that I never really got around to making that goal post in the first place

So this monthly goal update post is more of a “Task Completed, (though with mixed success)! Moving on”


Now normally around this time I would be planning for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) – aka where you attempt to write 50,000 words in November (1,667 words a day) in a quantity over quality, zeroth draft just get it on paper kind of novel writing.

But honestly? I’ve got bigger fish to fry, mainly with exchange preparations and final exam preparations.

I know November is a bit early to start, especially for me, but I really need to tackle these tough classes now before they overwhelm me in December.

Specifically Biochem…

So instead this will be a bit like Fall Post a Day blog challenge, with a post a day about what I am doing/learned/studying etc, though upping the anty to 500 words a day for a total of over 15,000 by the end of the month.

👩‍⚖️🎓Rules to make this more official:📝📚

  1.  500 words a day for each day of November
    1. There is no regulation about where I write to meet the word count, provided it is not required for class work – i.e. if I write 500 words for my official website/cv page, that counts, but notes or lab reports for classes don’t
  2. Posts don’t need to be well edited, just typed out and published
  3. Topics can be chosen ahead of time and partially typed out as long as at least 100 words were written on the day the post is published.
  4. Quotes and the like don’t count in the word count – aka I can’t just post a poem as my 500 words since that I kinda plagiarism and cheating

So yeah, the theme (subject? target?)  for November is “Study Notes! Part revision, Part writing, All in preparation for December”

… Yeah not really good with coming up with names for these things, but hey practicality over style is more important on this front.

so that is all for now! See you in November

-Rebecca

🍁 Autumn is here in earnest! 🍁

I was trying to come up with a witty “theme” for this month.

And…well…

You will see below  (In the next post since this is turning into a 2 parter)… XP it is a bit… Punny?

Anyways. so how did last month’s “Month of Future Career Growth”  go?

  • Create my personal website as a hub to everything I do 
    •  [Started, but not finished] So I’ve got the general outline set up, just working on typing in all of the content – especially under the portfolio section. I haven’t released it to the public yet, but it is almost done, will expect it to be out by November at the latest (don’t hold me to that though!). Sneak Preview!Capture
  • Continue tutoring English (both through the university’s CAES Peer tutor program, and my own IB merchant of Venice ) 
    • {COMPLETED} and continuing! 😀
  • Update CV – my CV is hopelessly out of date
    • {COMPLETED, See last goal page} As seen last time, I’ve finished this already before the month even really started
    • Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile/ digital resume
      • ~ Haven’t Started!~ I was thinking of holding this off until I’ve got my personal website set up, since that way there is something more professional to link to other than my personal blog here.
  • Figure out exchange plans – like actually write out a pro con list, intended transfer courses, get CGPA up (around 3.6), create an estimated cost plan etc
    • [Started, but not finished] This is going to be an ongoing goal thing, as
  • Sign up for internships, scholarships, classes, mentorships,etc
    • ~Haven’t Started!~ No really excuse for this really… need to look into this sometime soon before they are all gone

Not adding an arbitrary score since that was a bit lame XP

So…What about the extras?

  • [Extra] Improve my typing speed to 70wpm. It is ~65wpm right now.
    • I haven’t been doing this, rather I have changed it slightly to speed reading (Schulte table, apps etc) since it seems like a more useful goal
  • [Extra] Perhaps update this blog more than once a month ish, if I have the time. Maybe an update on how Carousell is going, or some how to college type post for the freshmen?
    • Nope didn’t happen, then again I’m heading into mid terms, sooo….. yeah

Anyways, splitting this up so I can stop procrastinating on revision and revisit this next week when things cool off a bit and become less crazy. So yeah!

Happy (late) Mid-autumn festival and look forward to finishing these midterms!

-Rebecca

September is upon us…. (2017 Summer Recap pt. 1)

Well, given the epic 18-credit-hour Y2A semester has suddenly reared its ugly head, I’d like to take the time to go over the summer as a whole (which was sorta productive… ish? I mean I wish it were more, but over all not bad) while I have the chance today and this weekend.

Firstly – Need to get this out of the way, but recap on the goals

Last month was named the  “Catch up and Learning month” because I was planning on using it to get a head start on my Y2A work

How did I do?

ehhh….

Duolingo has been going well, I have broken, then continued, then broken my streak several times, but overall I feel as though even if I haven’t learned a whole lot more, at least my vocabulary set has not drastically fallen behind. Grammar needs a lot of work though, and different cases still confuse the F- out of me, but I’m working on it! Signed up for Intermediate German, Non degree course for Y2A, so overall a good summer prep.  (Score: 7.1/10)

Planning for future studies? I feel as though the month was more exploratory in nature. I went on my first ecology survey (which was pretty awesome, more on that later). Scheduling for Y2A and course selection could have gone better (again, elaboration below/ in separate post, cus boy do I want to go on a mini rant about it :P), but again, I planned and got most of the classes (but not all) that I needed. More work on for exchange, but gotten started on plan for possible German summer lang exchange. (Score: 7.6/10)

Asia WWII history + history website updates: Could have gone better. Watched some history documentaries but were either about WWII from a western perspective (The German documentary series Die Deutschen  [Eng: The Germans] is excellent, shout out to the wonderful people who have put it on youtube and added English subtitles so I can practice German listening and learn hist at the same time – names will go in the edit of the post) or about Chinese history in the 20th century (mostly cultural revolution stuff). I have reread my History EE on the Battle of HK and Churchill’s foreign policies, so there is that. History website on standby for the foreseeable future due to me needing to sort out what type of posts I want, rather than writing then getting rid of it, rinse and repeat. (Score: 5.8/10)

As for the Big Bad BIOCHEM…. Hahahaha oh boy… yeah… I really dropped the ball on this aspect. To describe how little I’ve done, I am currently listening to Khan Academy videos (on basic biochem) explaining biochem to me to try and make this not a complete wash. For real though, what the heck past me? Next to nothing over 4 weeks?! Wed am next week is my first Biochem class of the sem, so I need to kick it into high gear… NOW!(Score: 2.2/10)

Extra stuff such as coding and cubing I didn’t touch due to not even coming close to passing my bigger goals… sigh…

Man I am good at procrastinating during summer vacation…


So yeah…

Moving swiftly onward from that train wreck!

This time, I’m calling it the “Month of Future Career Growth”:

Things I will be working toward things that will improve my “personal brand” and create a “plan of action” to reach the “necessary targets for success” (aka make it look like I know what I am doing, for future employment and research opportunities)

  • Create my personal website as a hub to everything I do – I’ll slowly move to separate this blog’s content from a more professional “portfolio-like” site that I’m making now, since I’m pretty sure my future employers want to get info on me, not skim through random thoughts I happen to blog about during that time frame.
  • Continue tutoring English (both through the university’s CAES Peer tutor program, and my own IB merchant of Venice ) <- got things in the work now for this
  • Update CV – my CV is hopelessly out of date Sped up and finished Aug 31 to apply for Equal Opportunity Student ambassador. Got an Interview Sept 6!  Boo-yah! See past me? That is how The Papaya rolls when she is serious about getting stuff done! ehem… where was I? 😛
    • Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile/ digital resume
  • Figure out exchange plans – like actually write out a pro con list, intended transfer courses, get CGPA up (around 3.6), create an estimated cost plan etc
  • Sign up for internships, scholarships, classes, mentorships, lectures etc
  • [Extra] Improve my typing speed to 70wpm. It is ~65wpm right now.
  • [Extra] Perhaps update this blog more than once a month ish, if I have the time. Maybe an update on how Carousell is going, or some how to college type post for the freshmen?

This post is getting a bit unwieldy with the giant wall o’ text, so I will be back with more stuff (such as the above promised Ecology survey experience, or that course registering story)

Here is a semi relevant xkcd as a reward for reading this far down!

# 773: University Website

university_website
Source & the Explain xkcd

More to come!

Rebecca

A Conclusion and Quick Update

I thought I’d put something up on my blog to explain what has been going on as of late, since the blog challenge ended rather… abruptly shall we say.

So think of this as a “bookend” to my month (almost) of writing!

Firstly, I’ve decided that I’m going to keep the challenge up, rather than get rid of it. While it may have not been the greatest sample of my writing – what with it being completely unedited, off the cuff with no theme etc – I feel as though it gives an insight to how I write first drafts, and acts as a sort of “time capsule” to my final year as a “teen”. Perhaps future me will find it fascinating, it would be such a shame to get rid of it now because it isn’t very polished, just to regret in years later with no chance of recovery.

Which leads to a second issue.

Since I have now designated this blog as my “official site” instead of my old CAS blog I’ll need to work harder on making my posts seem more professional. Not the blog challenge, since that came with its own warning, more of in the sense that it needs to be more “navigable”.

As in if I were to put this site on my CV or future business card etc, people need to be able to have a quick “snapshot” of who I am, what my interests are, my skills, personality etc. Rather than what they get now, which is pretty much me rambling about everything from assassins to geometric puzzles to dried squid.

Perhaps a “goals” bit, maybe something on my ultimate book recomendations, a better about page etc.

I’ll give myself until this years end to fix everything, since it is a pretty dramatic shift from how this blog was originally conceived (ie just random nonsense that no one would bother to read)

Other things the challenge has taught me (in a more rapid quick fire style):

  • I vastly underestimate the amount of work I can do in a day (or even in an hour) while overestimating what I can do in several (such as a week). I found this pretty fascinating since you would assume it would be one or the other, but here we are. I guess it has something to do with how long term projects are seen as “I can do later” things which leads to procrastination and a sense of having more time to waste, while short term things lead to intensive bursts of productivity. Something I’ll keep an eye out for in the future, since it seems like something that would prove to be useful in my academic life.
  • I am more creative than I first assumed, though it ebbs and flows depending on various situations. A lot of it is just getting it type out first, then editing out the issues later.
  • Sometimes the crazy ideas work out, so that is promising for my future I guess?
  • I work well with defined goals and targets to hit since it makes my day’s work more tangible.

On to the update-y part of this post!

I’m naming this August my “Catch up and Learning month”, where I will be catching up and easing into my academic work, just to get a head start on my upcoming Sophomore year of university (not sure if I mentioned earlier, but since I will be doing the equivalent of 18 USA Uni credit for both sems next year… with all the peer tutoring, non credit language classes of last year, combined with new hall activities… yeah.

Wish me luck!

Specific targets and things to do (in case lazy future me takes over and uses the excuse that there is “nothing else to do” other than idk browse youtube for hours or whatever):

  • (Re)learn Biochemistry – I used the term (re)learn since some subjects I have leraned before, just not well, and other bits I haven’t given I only did SL in IB. Either way I am behing and my first semester of biochem could have gone better. I also have it for my first sem of Sophomore year, so whether I do well and pull up my Uni CGPA in Year 2 hinges quite a bit on this aspect
    • Method: Khan academy, IB textbook HL parts
    • Frequency: Once every 3 days at the very least, 1 hour each “session”
  • German Revision –  Put simply, I have forgotten pretty much everything I learned last year over the summer. It’s less of a priority than some of the other things on my list, since it is a non-credit baring course, but it is a long term goal of mine to pick up the language.
    • Method: Duolingo, previous notes, movies/documentaries/songs
    • Frequency: Duolingo every day (its only like 10 minutes a day come one! :P) other things 2x every two weeks, 30 minutes ish
  • Asia WWII History Recap – I have a specific course on it and another general course on society in wartime in Y2A (my abbreviations since Semester 1 of my Sophomore year is getting tedious to type out). Plus I can use my revision to work on my history revision blog (which I do realise I keep talking about but never updating… come on man
    • Method: IB history notes mainly, some historiography if I get the chance
    • Frequency: Same as Biochem
  • Planing for future studies – Included in this section is pretty much all the research for exchange, Y2A & B, future internships, updating CV etc. Just all of the paperwork things that need to get done, but I keep procrastinating on 😛
    • Method: -.-”’ N/A? just do it!
    • Frequency: Same as Biochem and Hist.
  • Coding  – This is less urgent, more of a long term future skill to develop like with German, rather than a I need to do before school starts in September kind of thing. I’ll likely be learning R rather than just focusing on HTML, since I will be doing R in Y2B for an Environmental Statistics course
    • Method: Codeacademy
    • Frequency: 2x every two weeks, 30 minutes
  • OLL & PLL Cubing – This is just a fun one 😛 Only if there is nothing else on the list or in study breaks
    • Method: online algorithms, twisty times
    • Frequency: No minimum, maxing out at 30 minutes a day.

Basically I am implementing a sort of “homeschool self learning” schedule to both get ahead in my studies and improve my work ethic in preparation for Y2AB.

So here we go! Another summer challenge! I might make a new category if I start posting a lot about this,  but for now I will be putting it under either updates of goals depending on how this goes.

Note that there will not be a Post a day style blogging for this, more of a post every weekend if that kind of thing.

Until later! Y2 Prep or Bust! 😛

Rebecca

Day 27 – Busy days ahead! (+ Parchment length thoughts)

Shorter post today since I need to get up early tomorrow for the RISE tech conference (I’m part of the volunteer team that does registration, it will be my 3rd year taking part) I’ll probably post some stuff about it later when it begins in earnest (tomorrow is just for the people setting up their booths and stuff) so look out for that in the future!

Can’t believe that I have been blogging for nearly 30 days so far, not quite sure what I will do after I complete this challenge. Probably continue posting here, albeit MUCH less frequently, maybe once every two weeks or so, though that depends on how much interesting stuff is happening with my life and how much free time I can devote to this.


I’m at around 130 words right now, so to pad this thing out, I’m just going to add a few more sentences about random things that comes to mind.

  • Game of thrones season 7 is coming out soon, I haven’t read the book series yet, but it’s on my “to read list”
  • Still thinking about next sem of college! (both the classes and exchange stuff)
  • Should have not used contractions in the bit above, but going back and editing them out now feels like cheating..
  • I wonder how many notable works in history were improved upon by their author attempting to meet some arbitrary word count. Probably not many, but still.
  • Actually, was writing things by word count even a thing before the advent of modern word processors? I mean page count I understand, but word count?
  • Oh and before that, did they do it by physical text length ala Harry Potter (side note, now that I think about it, a foot of parchment is like one side of an A4 piece of paper… that’s nothing for secondary school! why do the characters complain so much about it then? That isn’t that much, especially considering you can just write larger since the paper isn’t lined or anything..)

And on that random note, a few final words…

Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

Rebecca

(Oh and for the curious, I’m a Hufflepuff aka the best house ever! 😛 )

Day 24 – Elemental Reflections (on a whole bunch of stuff)

Like the types of benders in Avatar the Last Airbender – aka the-greatest-TV-show-ever-no-joke-binge-watch-it-now-if-you-haven’t-seen-it-yet(minus energy bending) or the Classical Greek Elements (without aether), this reflection comes to you in 4 distinct parts related to Air, Water, Earth and Fire!


Air – Element of Freedom. Foreseeing implications, valuing diversity. peace and clarity. 

This section is more about my blog and the “creative freedoms” I’m giving it. 

So I really should have spilt up the snacks post into more than one like the cubing one… oh well, part of this type a day thing is learning more about making posts and blogging.

I’ll be leaving that one incomplete for now and finishing it up later when I get the time too.

Basically, anytime there aren’t finished tags on a post, I’ll get back to it later.

Since the arbitrary rules I wrote at the start technically didn’t say I had to finish a post, or couldn’t edit it later, just that I had to write something every day 😉 Again, my blogs, my rules. 

Also, the more I write these things, the more I realise there are different types of posts. Some that require more time than the few hours (sometimes minutes) at the end of the day that I have.

I feel as though the act of starting to write stuff (possibly not finishing) and editing it later is more closely inline with what I was envisioning when starting this project, rather than just 200 words of copy and paste, so I will give myself a bit of leeway when it comes to “post a day”


Water – Element of change. Going with the flow, being flexible and adaptable.

This is going to be about my changing views on Carousell. If you have no interest in it, skip to the next one. I should also point out that they aren’t paying me or anything like that, just my thoughts.

So earlier in this writing everyday thing, I made a post about how difficult it was to get rid of my textbooks in HK (see the post here ). and I mentioned how I was flogging it on a random app I downloaded but getting no bites.

Well, in the two weeks between me posting that and now, out of my listing of a dozen items just to test it out, I have managed to sell off 1 textbook and have deals in the works to exchange 3 more… Yeah. 

Not sure if it is the fact that school is out, so people are thinking more about buying books, I’m getting lucky with my post times (seems like more people like for things I post in the afternoon) or there are just more people being on the app now (I’ve been seeing the app’s advertisements on mini buses now, though it could just be the 

Or it might just be me, since some of my friends are having trouble selling the same books, even though they are priced lower in some cases.

Perhaps that experience selling books on amazon as a kid paid off? Since some of the really basic stuff (like ISBN numbers so people can double check it is the book they need) or how to describe the condition of a book are missing in some of the other listings I’ve seen. 

For now, I’ll continue trying to keep an open mind toward it and see how it goes! 

(By the way, if you are in HK and want to buy second hand English books, I’m Beckysbooks on Carousell)


Earth – Element of substance. Strong, persistent and enduring, facing challenges head on.

A random pondering of where I stand right now

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far with writing. 

Seriously.

I have never done a writing project this consistently before and it continues to amaze me that this silly idea I had about a month ago to kill summer boredom has turned into an epic saga with over 24+ chapters of a uni student’s thoughts on everything from growing up and trying to find her place in the world to more random post like geeking out over cubing and being overly metaphoric about random words thrown at be by a daily post blog. 

Then again, it occurs to me that most writing projects start off with a person having comparably silly random idea (a boy becoming a wizard and going to boring school, a fantasy story involving different houses competing to sit on an uncomfortable chair, a girl in a dystopian world who gets thrown into a fight to the death etc) and going:

“Ehhh… why not? This thing isn’t going to write itself.”

Then persisting through everything to the end where the thing if finally published, often several YEARS later.

Kudos authors out there! I’ve tried doing it several days in a row, and even I started to lose hope around day 12. Which reminds me…

There was a guest post linked to a post of mine that was written by Michelle Jayne on Kasmin’s blog titled ” The Writer and the Tortise” (link here) which really resonated with me, that deals with a similar thought of perseverance and writing habits. You should check it out! 😛 


Fire – Element of power. Having the desire and drive for growth to achieve all that is possible within their ability.

This bit goes out to all of the May 2017 IBers out there, who are in a few hours about to recieve their scores and see if they got into university (including my younger brother).

Some of you will be elated about your scores, some will shrug it off, and some of you will be crushed.

This open letter of sorts is for the latter guys in particular, but applicable to all IBers and people entering university

“Where there is a will, there is a way” is a saying my former math teacher used to say.

Of course at the time it was to counter any of the (admittedly kinda pathetic) excuses we would all come up with for why our assignments were late. 

But, like most wise advise given to me, its true meaning doesn’t present itself until later.

Your score may feel like the end of the line, as measure of all the hard work you have done over the last two years. To that I say… its not.

Unlike pretty much all other exams in the world, IB is not a sprint, a few hour multiple choice quiz that is over in a flash. It is a pentathlon of suck that you are thrown into without any prior training… while sleep deprived… with CAS and TOK and a 4000 word research paper etc.

You have, over the past two years done everything from analyse translated literature, read passages in a second language, design your experiment, write a mathematical investigations, explore humanities subjects etc. And that is just the IAs. 

I speak from experience when I say that you have a leg up compared to your peers, and the first year of uni is nothing compared to IB. Everything from learning how to write a paper with proper citations, to volunteering in actives as a global citizen, to overcoming (or at least coping) with sleep deprivation etc are all skills that IB has left you with that a simple score isn’t going to show, but universities know about and consider. 

(well, except for USA unis who care more about AP and SAT. Then again you have already gotten in, so your IB grade doesn’t really matter at this point. so you don’t understand the terror of waiting til d-day)

In the end, your score doesn’t define you. 

Whether you sit down and give up, or brush yourself off and get up, does. 

I have a friend who thought their life was over when they got a 23 (later a 24 after remarking), but who still got into university to study film due to his hard work ethic, leadership skill and portfolio of work that the IB left them with.

It can be done! 

So no mater what score you get, Celebrate!

You now join our global community as an IB Alumni, and more importantly, an IB survivor 😛 ! Prepare yourself for all the lingering IB-isms, the “You know nothings” to the Pre-IB/ the Year 1’s,  silent “You poor unfortunate soul” nods you will give to the Year 2’s and the instant connections you get with other people who went through IB like you.

Good luck to all, with all your future endeavours!

 


On that note, I’ll catch you later!

Rebecca