Day #4 – HKU’s Info Day 2017!

Note to anyone arriving at my blog from google or other sources, I do not speak on behalf of anyone at HKU except for myself, I am just a student who goes to HKU and wants to talk a little bit about it for the sake of completing an arbitrary writing task I set myself for November.

With that out of the way, hope you enjoy the post 🙂


So yeah, today I helped out today as an Equal Opportunity Student in a booth explaining the EOU, handing out fliers, chatting with people etc. It was a lot of fun but man there were a ton of people!

Here are some random thoughts I had throughout the day:

  1. I am bloody terrible at giving directions to places on campus.

Sorry for anyone who became even more lost because of me today. There is a reason that even as a Year 2 student I keep a campus map in my folder along with my weekly and daily schedule.

Though in my defense, HKU’s campus is not a flat, level campus like most places, it is built on a slant at 3 distinct elevations or zones, so while two buildings look like they are right next to each other, you usually must go up or down some escalators/elevators/stairs reach a walkway or street before you can get to another part, then you take another set of stairs/escalators/elevators to get to your building.

This is made trickier by the fact that the buildings weren’t built at the same time (some date back to the school’s founding in 1911, while others are brand new from 2012 you can read about the main ones here, though it misses out on a dozen or so other buildings), so they connect in weird ways.

(like the library extension is down 2 escalators to the right of the library’s main entrance which juts out and attaches to the 3rd floor of the main building and is a staircase away from the ground floor of Kadoorie science building)

info day map

 

  1. How the heck do you explain “dem beat” to a non-local student?

So being the resident sorta-local, sorta-not student means that I’m often the person people go to when they have questions about HKU life.

And for the life of me, I still can’t find quite the right words to describe this (from what I can tell) uniquely Hong Kong phenomenon. It’s a bit like “chur” or “hei”, sure I can try my best to explain it, but until you really experience, no adjective feels quite right.

(for the lost: chur = that slightly overwhelming, annoying, nagging and stressful feeling you when you are stuck with a group mate that won’t do anything, or you have a bunch of busy work for a class that is worth just enough to care about but you are running out of time to do it. It’s not full-on panic, but it requires a change of plan and more effort on your part. Basically the word for that “Ughhhh…. Really? This now?” emotion. Hei is the opposite of that, relaxed, chill, not-a-care-in-the-world, mellow emotion)

The official translation for “dem beat” they usually use is “cheering competition” but it’s not like a cheerleading routine or dancing competition (that’s Mass Dance which shows up later in the year), it’s more like a New Zealand Haka combined with a Stepping dance but far less professional (think pep rally level of quality), where the goal is to motivate your hall before a competition or event, with members of a hall wearing the same t-shirt and chanting in unison.

For those of you who have never experienced this mildly impressive display of HK culture, may I present HKU’s 2017 info day “dem beat” competition, cutesy of the  university’s Facebook page (since it was taken from a live broadcast the video is a bit shaky and of poor quality)

 

  1. They have definitely upped their intro speech, branding and presentation game from when I visited info day several years ago!

I mean just look at some of this stuff, they even had a vending machine making custom sticky notes for people! (I’ll post more stuff here tomorrow since I have already written a ton and am running out of time)

infoday-website-banner

  1. Huh, I wonder if the Science Faculty has any traditions I don’t know about

So the EOU booth was in KK Leung building, and the other ambassador I was handing out fliers kept remarking on how I would walk through the center doorway, rather than the left or right-hand side one.

Turns out in his faculty (business) there is a superstition that if you walk through the center one you fail your exams (a bit like how you aren’t supposed to walk through the center doorway in a temple because it will bring bad luck). Got me thinking, I know there are quite a few hall traditions and HKU has Superpass (something else I might post about in the future) but I can’t think of any at the moment that is exclusive to Science.

  1. I have become the one who knocks hands out fliers to people….

Normally, people (including me) just walk by when someone tries to hand them a flyer. Today, I became the flyer-giver (we eventually figured out that if you give a souvenir with the flyer or hold up a sign directing them to the booth with free hot chocolate people will be more willing to take it)

This post is getting a bit long (that’s an understatement, its at nearly 1000 words o.O I’ve turned in papers with less content than this post), so I’ll end here for now (but will return tomorrow to edit a bit and add photos)

Until then, DFTBA!

-Rebecca

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Day #3 – Thoughts from Centennial Campus Garden

It’s day 3 and I’m already struggling to come up with random subject matter that makes interesting posts. Starting early today though, since yesterday’s one fell flat, probably because I posted so late in the day and only a few minutes before midnight.

Sitting in HKU’s Centennial Garden right now, since the weather is really nice today, not too sunny not too windy, just right. Listening to “80 Millionen” by Max Giesinger (with earbuds since I don’t want to disrupt the quiet and I’m not a jerk) to learn German since I need to sing a part of it in next Tuesday German’s lesson.

Why singing?

Because it is a good way of learning a language at normal talking speed, exposes you to a bit of the culture and it is a fun way of expanding one’s vocabulary.

And besides, where else are you going to learn the word “Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung” or Probability calculation in everyday life? 😛

But yeah, just took a quick photo of my surrounding area to put into this blog post, just to give you an idea of how lovely the garden is today.

20171103_133946

It is one of my favorite places on HKU campus since it is an oasis of calm just a few steps away from the hubbub of the busy campus or the controlled chaos of the city. Just a quiet little patch of green where you can sit or stroll around absorbed in your own thoughts, practice for a speech or get some work done without distractions.

Plus its one of those quiet but not too quiet places that’s perfect for recording things (the stairwell of Hoi Oh Chow and the place behind the old halls near the Faculty of Science buildings are other places that are good for this as well).

Also, it has surprisingly decent wifi, probably because of how near it is to Centennial Campus. XD

Which reminds me, I actually had a weird assignment in my freshman year about the garden, where I had to estimate the weight (well guestimate since we weren’t allowed to look stuff up) of everything in the garden to calculate the possibility of the garden collapsing due to extreme amounts of rain.

Yeah it was a bit weird (the class was SCNC1111 – Scientific Methods and Reasoning, which I don’t mind mentioning since all science majors have to take the class anyways (note the course code is different from the SCNC1112 that I tutor, I did pretty poorly in 1111 (in fact I did worse in that class compared to Cantonese) but did really well in 1112.

~ Break for a bit as I go tutor a friend English (well more like record a thing) ~

Finished tutoring (and being stalked by a very enthusiastic bee presumably thought my reddish-purple scrunchy (scrunchie?) was a flower or something.


yeah, now sitting near the fiction section in the Hong Kong Central Library right now. Returned a few books and now I really want to get a head start on history (both classes) but can’t think of a topic at the moment (and like an idiot left all of my history papers at home), so will probably switch over to a different assignment for now – most likely the Common core stuff since that is coming up.

Also need to sort out exchange stuff…. So yeah lots to do, but already I am digging my heels in because my brain feels like the deadline is too far away to start panicking and wants to take a break from midterms/studying not realizing that, you know, that stuff was more than a week ago at this point so I really don’t have an excuse….

 

How many words am I at? I feel like I have typed a lot already…? Oh wow, 620+ words! Well, that is more than enough 😀

I’ll be helping out tomorrow at HKU’s info day, so my post will likely be shorter and about HKU, but we will see what tomorrow brings.

Off to do some actual work now! Until then!

-Rebecca

Day #2 – A Simmering Pot, A Procrastinating Student

Oh, by the way, got back my WWII history essay back today.

Yeah, REALLY should not have procrastinated on it. Comments noted the numerous grammatical and careless errors like lacking punctuation and several run-on sentences etc things that could have been prevented had I actually spent a reasonable time on it instead of procrastinating til the last minute…

The score wasn’t like devastating or anything, but I KNOW I could have done much better on it than I did and my class grade definitely took a hit since it was worth 30% of my grade. Arghhh. Feel a bit sorry for my professor for having to read through that slog of an essay to be honest, since I will admit, yeah it was bad… anyways

We will wait and see how I did on the Ecology midterm, but hopefully a great score there will make up for my poor one here. (actually, that would make a good future post, how to remember scientific names. Ill think about it)

Ummm….. huh. Well I am running out of time since it is 11:30pm right now (completely forgot about this challenge til now) so here goes nothing!


I’m going to do a daily post prompt now since I was going to write another post about why afternoon classes are awesome but ran out of things to say and it needs more editing to reach the 500 word count.

-Skip to here people arriving from the daily prompt page-

Today’s (that is November 2nd, 2017) daily post theme is… *drumroll for the people arriving to this blog from a different place*

Simmer!

Which is an interesting word when you think about it. Not full on panic boiling but not still and calm water either. Just bubbling away on the back burner without notice.

In a weird way, it is a bit of a metaphor for how small issues slowly develop into large problems.

Both things on a large scale like climate change (which I can’t believe is an issue up to debate in today’s political discourse) or on the personal scale like delaying starting a midterm essay.

At the same time though, the opposite can be true as well.

A little small spark that grows and gains momentum, that works toward a cause, slowly, until the pot simmers over and real change can occur.

A watched pot may not boil, but turn your back on it, and that small simmer may prove to be more powerful than you first thought.

(wow that was a contrived A.F. metaphor 😛 I tried and it is late at night)

Unrelated side note:

I’ve always wondered about those silly “As seen on TV” Ad that used to be aired on TV about that plastic container you make microwaved pasta in. How did they get that effect of the pot to boil over consistently? Like I don’t think that a producer would want to have boiling water so close to the “clumsy actor people”, plus pots don’t really foam over like that in real life when simmering things.

Perhaps they used like soap or something to get that effect? Especially since those clips are always in black and white, so there could be a bit more movie magic involved than I first thought.

But yeah, where was I?

I am feeling a bit like a simmering pot at the moment. I can feel the incoming “boil” with all my final exams and big essays where everything is worth 50%-70% of my final grade on the horizon, but I haven’t brought myself to turn off the stove yet…

Hope this doesn’t blow up in my face….

So there! A few hundred words about a random daily post word, adding up to my 500 word limit. Whoop!

That is all for now, see you tomorrow!

-Rebecca

Day #1 – Und so beginnt es!

And so it begins!

In German for the title because why not, I know how to say it (have been learning the language for about a year now) and it makes for a more interesting title. Plus the explanation bumps up my word count slightly since to be perfectly honest 500 words per day is a bit… ambitious for 30 days, but I don’t want to fail this challenge before it even really begins 😛


I titled this challenge the “ Sudo-wrimo” after the Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge I would normally do during November, where people across the world attempt to write 50,000 words in a month (see the previous post).

Note that it is spelt “Sudo” rather than “Pseudo”. Why? Well because I am a terrible speller and have always been annoyed by silent letters, so it is spelled phonetically and since “Sudo” is much shorter and reminds me of the Pokemon Sudowoodo, so hey.

pokemon-1513925_640
Couldn’t find a photo of Sudowoodo labeled for reuse, so enjoy this generic pokeball courtesy of  Pixbay

 

This entire introduction pretty much shows the tone of the rest of this challenge, very casual and not formal at all, with barely any editing – just me practicing quick turnarounds of thoughts -> words on a page/ screen, since that is quite a useful skill and I need to practice my writing skills.

I’ve been typing for a while and am still only at around 250 words…. Great….


 

Since I didn’t do an 🎃 October recap 🎃 last month due to midterms, I’ll use my remaining words to give a short overview of my classes and other things that have happened since my last goal update (not giving the course code at the moment since I’d rather not have this be one of the first things that pops up when you search “HKU-course code” )

Biochemistry – Did a midterm few weeks ago, 1 point below average so not great in the grand scheme of things, but considering it is one of my weakest subjects and I felt as though I failed it after the exam, I am pretty dang pleased with how I did.

Economic History – Got the same score in both the Book Review essay and the mini quiz (A-). Was hoping for a better score on the essay, but did a lot better on the quiz than I thought so I’ll take it!

WWII Pacific History – Finished and turned in the midterm document analysis essay, haven’t gotten it back yet, but really should not have procrastinated on it. Still think I did okay on it, but we will see.

Common Core – No real midterm, just a bunch of assignments here.

Ecology – I went on a field course trip during reading week and IT WAS AWESOME! I’ll probably write more about it sometime later, but have started updating my formal website portfolio with a lot of photos I took on the trip. Felt I did really well in the midterm MCQ in that “the-test-felt-a-bit-too-easy-not-sure-if-is-because-I-studied-well-or-because-I-crashed-and-burned” kind of way.

So that is all for today, be sure to check in tomorrow for another 500 words in my Post A Day “Sudo-wrimo” challenge this month!

-Rebecca

 

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

Daring to Disobey

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Rules lately.

Specifically the societal rules we surround ourselves with every day that go by unchallenged – sometimes for good reasons, othertimes not so much..

I guess this is a long winded, overly pedantic way of me trying to rationalise and explain why I feel so bad for dropping a class, when by all objective measures it would be the best course of action for me to take.

I don’t NEED to max out my course load and take 6 classes (18 credits) in one semester, in fact, I KNOW I would burn myself out a few weeks later when taking into consideration my commitment as a peer tutor (in both English and Science), my role as a student blogger, my non-credit German classes, my new role as an Equal Opportunity Student Ambassador, hall activities etc…

The list keeps building, yet there are only a finite number of hours in a day.

And as Malthus pointed out (paraphrasing to make an contrived metaphor):

As populations (workload) increase exponentially, while resources (time) grows linearly if at all, eventually you will reach competition and eventually, collapse.

Yet it feels a bit… wrong to do so.

Like I have just given up when this is pretty much exactly what add-drop period is made for.

I’m not sure where this feeling comes from really.

I could go with the classic “Asian Parent” excuse, but that is just that, an excuse not a reason.

I guess it is the fear of being left behind. 

Everyday, you are surrounded by messages of supposed encouragement:

  • “Push Yourself!”
  • “Don’t let dreams just be dreams”
  • “Shoot for the stars!”
  • “XYZ famous person made it while living in a college dorm at [so and so] famous university, why can’t you?”

It all creates an atmosphere of “Is that all you CAN do?”, when the more pertinent question is “SHOULD I do more?”.

And, although it sounds much less inspirational…

Sometimes the answer is NO.

Sometimes the correct solution isn’t to keep on going with reckless abandon til you crash, it is to slow down a bit, perfect what you have, then SLOWLY ramp up the speed.

Right now my gut is telling me slow the F- down.

So I am daring to disobey what society often expects of university students, and taking the time I would spend in an extra class + tutorial + homework to sharpen my skills as a whole.

To look for opportunities outside of the classroom such as volunteer work

And above all, to just prove to myself that I am in control of my own destiny and which path I decide to take is mine, and mine alone, to make.

Because sometimes it is okay to buck the trend and do your own thing.

In the words of Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken (emphasis mine):

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And besides, great scores in 5 classes > okay scores in 6, GPA wise. 😛

Thanks for reading!

-Rebecca


This post was based off of the Daily post prompt: Disobey (September 12)