So I finally received more info about my exchange trip…

You know, in that email I waited all summer for since I presumed that it would include things I couldn’t get otherwise, or talk about a special process I need to apply though.

Yeah about that.

It literally just consists of a single link… to the exact same public application page I found by myself during the summer…

Except now, instead of having several free summer months to fill it out, I have until the end of October…. when all my midterms are…. Great, just great.

So advice to future HKU students going on exchange:

When they say just wait until you get the email, what you should actually do is go to the uni application page and try to get as much done as possible WITHOUT sending it off

By the way, there might be less content than I expected in the next academic year given that I’ll be commuting (one and a half hours… each way…) to university due to a tragic incident at my hall (Wei Lun) involving the warden (it’s a long story but you can find it online). I’m not gonna post much about it since this isn’t that sort of blog, but just wanted to put that update out there in case people were wondering about why some of my future posts will be very short (and why I’ll be complaining about lack of sleep more often).

Also I’m trying to get into the habit of scheduling posts during my “hei” weeks (canto slang post coming soon!).

Cus it just occurred to me that I can do that, instead of writing all these posts on the actual day…

No learn -> study -> explain post for last week since it was syllabus week (I’ll combine any of last week’s stuff with this weekends post)

-Rebecca

 

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🍀🌞A Strangely Seasonal Update…🍂❄️

So my 2-week-or-bust deadline is here, which means another post as promised.

Problem is I have a ton of vague ideas in my brain but nothing concrete to write about… which means another round of what I like to call…

“Things in parts bingo”.

Basically, you:

  1. Pick a random number between 2 and 12
  2. Look up “things that come in [xyz number] “
  3. Assign attributes or find symbolic meaning to said parts
  4. Write about something that is related to each of those attributes
  5. ?????
  6. Profit (with a blog post that seems more cohesive than it actually is)

In the past (on a different, older blog) I have done Avatar the Last Airbender elements , Fates of Greek mythology and sorta for Blossoms as well, all to relative sucess.

So in honor of the last few weeks of my summer break, I’m doing the four seasons – starting with spring!

Spring (春 chūn) – New Beginnings & changes. Planting the metaphorical seeds for a better future.

Daily Diary progress & Habitica

I’ve been working a bit more on developing better habits, since… well let’s face it.

I’m 20 years old now and have NOT acomplished anywhere as much stuff as I wanted to do by this point in my life.

Earlier in my summer break, I decided to start keeping a diary about my life and goals. It’s not the first time I’ve done so (I have diaries dating back to when I was 12), but this is the first time I have kept at it for more than a month or so without giving up.

I honestly really liked doing it and will probably continue into the school year, since writing acts as a nice way for me to reflect on my day. I might post a bit more about it in the future!

In other habit news, I’ve also been experimenting with different apps to improve my productivity for the upcoming school semester. If you have any suggestions for apps I should check out, feel free to comment below or contact me!

notebook and black ballpoint pen
Photo Source: Maddy Zen on Pexels.com

Summer (夏 xià) – Joy, Vitality & Enthusiasm. Watering the positives and weeding out the negitives with whole-hearted enthusiasm

Ecology field work with Oriental magpie-robins

Over the summer, I have been doing some field work with a HKU professor’s lab, studying Oriental magpie-robins (Copsychus saularis).

Essentially, I have been going around to different nest boxes around HKU campus, checking on their status by taking photos of the nests, eggs and chicks. Unfortunately, all the chicks in the nest box this year didn’t survive, so we weren’t able to “ring” any of the juveniles. 😦

I have one last check next week (since their breeding season ends around the end of the summer), then I might continue to work with the lab doing some literature reviews, or helping out with the playback test data collection (essentially isolating the recorded OMR songs with a program called Raven).

Either way, I’ve loved the work I got to do over the break and can see myself making it into a long term career. So glad I picked ecology as my primary major! 🙂

male_female_oriental_magpie_robin_photograph_by_shantanu_kuveskar
OMR Male (left) & Female (right) Source: Shantanu Kuveskar via Wikimedia

Fall ( qiū)- Transition & culmination. Reaping the harvest from what has been sowed.

End of the first year of HKU quidditich, and the start of year two!

Basically the subtitle. So HKU has this rule that in order to become a full fleged association with the student union, you have to comply with a whole list of stipulations.

One of the requirments is that the club must have existed for 2 years without funding from the union itself, another being that at least 40 HKU students must be members. So in an attempt to make quidditch “a thing” in HK, the team have partnered with the university’s Equal Opportunity Unit (EOU) and gotten a some of scholership money to create the “Fly for Equality” project.

We’ve gotten a bit of media coverage in our first year, and are hoping to recruit lots of new people through the EOU Ocamp or the exibition match that will happen at the start of the semester. Exciting stuff though!

(unrelated side note: possible future post idea – explaining HKU/canto slang terms like “ocamp”, “chur” “dem beet” etc?)

39393086_2151717545100388_4909616621166788608_n
From our latest practice. Source: HKU Quidditch

Winter ( dōng) – Rest & reflection. Storing what was gained before and contemplating what is to come.

HKU -> Leeds exchange plans & updates

Finally we come to the bit that I’m assuming 80% of the readers skimed to. To be frank though, not much has happened since I last posted.

I’ve contacted the International Affairs Office (the people incharge of outgoing exchanges) and they gave me the advice to register for semester 2 classes in case the thing falls though, and that more information will be provided later.

Bit nervous though, since I have to do everything from register for classes to get student visas all within the span of a few months during the school year. I’ve asked my other friends about it and they said the IAO focuses of sem 1 and full year people first, so I shouldn’t really panic until October.

But yeah, I’ve been doing some research about Leeds and the surounding area, specifically on museums, historical sites and botanical gardens (yup, I’m both a history nerd + ecology geek, and dang proud of it!)

So if you know of places I should visit, again feel free to comment below!


So yeah, hope this entry was somewhat interesting…

Missed my self-imposed deadline by a few minutes due to an internet issue and not saving often enough, but hey close enough!

Until next time!

-Rebecca

HKU Registration Blues…

Every year, HKU students around the world log into their portal page to click one dreaded blue link – “Enrollment Add Classes” .

And every year students shake their fists at the internet gods as they are faced with the same ever present, blinking red words.

Pending… Pending… Pending…

Over and over again like a dripping tap that just won’t stop…

If they are lucky, the page loads and they are met with glowing green tick marks, confirming they have been enrolled into the classes of their dreams.

These students sigh with relief, close that page on their browser, and go on with their day, relishing in their final few weeks of summer before college starts again.

For my fellow brothers and sisters who aren’t so fortunate, they are trapped.Forced to stare at the same freaking website: on their desktop computers, their laptops, their phones.

It’s Kübler-Ross model’s 5 stages of grief in less than an hour.

Denial comes first.

It can’t be happening to me. It worked last year. Should I reload? No it should be fine, just a small glitch. I’m in Chi Wah learning commons, surely being close to the servers means that…

Server update. Frozen page. An auto log off.

The source doesn’t matter, just the result.

ARE YOU F-ING SERIOUS!

Anger erupts throughout Hong Kong as group chats explode with furious words aimed at the system.

Some stare, frozen in complete shock. Others rage quit their computers, fed up that they have wasted precious minutes of their life on a dumb webpage

For the few that remain after the disaster, clinging on to tattered slivers of hope, the bargaining begins.

If I can just get into this one course, just this one… please… I need this for my major… it’s only offered this semester…

Seconds turn into Minutes, Minutes turn into Hours.

Suddenly the Suspension Period looms overhead like the sword of Damocles.

Desperate pleas fall on deaf ears as despair seeps in.

 

A death knell tolls off in the distance… It’s over.

 

Perhaps not in the way one might have hoped.

But it is over.

It is over.

It IS over.

 

Well, until Add-Drop period at the start of term….

Frick.


Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad. (geeze, really? who whoulda thought?)

But point still stands.

Registering with HKU’s first come first serve system, where thousands students reg for course ON THE SAME DAY mere hours from each other can sometimes feel like stumbling into the Hunger Games with nothing but a pencil eraser and a rubber duck.

I get why they do it, and honestly, HKU’s system is probably still much better than others around the world. But when it’s your third year, 5th semester stuck doing the same thing, it takes a toll.

Hence this somewhat superfluous soliloquy (see SAT, I can use fancy words too!)

This year was apparently worse than usual, to the point where they extended the Registration Period by a day. So it wasn’t just me this year. Cold comfort but hey, apparently we are all in this together. (And now that song/ from HSM/ is now stuuuuuck in my he-ad…)

Here’s hoping that it will be better in the future!

I might write a “How to survive Reg Day” post in the future, as it feels like something that might be useful to other HKU students, both present and future.

Until then! 

-Rebecca

 

I’m Back! Also, A Few Summer Plans…

So I’m back from the Mainland China photography trip with my mom (well was back in HK a few days ago, but took a few days off to decompress etc).

I’m having trouble uploading some of my photos so it will take a while before they are online, but they will be coming soon! I’ll probably create an Instagram of Flickr account to post photos, since there seems to be a storage space limit for photos uploaded on this wordpress website (since it is the free version).

But anyways…


Right now, I’m focusing on a few different things:

  • Doing research on things to do in Leeds and the surrounding area
    • In particular, this website called Leeds-List has been incredibly helpful about everything Leeds and Yorkshire.
    • I’ve also been reading up on some hiking trails I might want to try – in particular the Brontë Way, since I am a MASSIVE FAN of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
    • Lastly, I’m looking at things to do in Manchester and York since they are less than an hour away by train, so will make for good “weekend trips” away for me to do in my own time.
Map Leeds
Map of the region – Source: European Rail Guide

 

  • Earning money to subsidize part of the trip (through selling second hand books and tutoring people)
    • While my parents are covering the plane ticket and living expenses, I’m trying to find ways to earn some “fun-money” so I can do more on my trip.
      • *Insert Obligatory Plug for my listing page HERE if you live in HK and want to buy said second hand books*
    • Meanwhile, tuition during my study abroad trip will be the same my current HKU fees (HKD21,000 or around 2,700 in USD for a semester), since my university is partnered with the University of Leeds.
      • Also unlike with USA colleges, universities around the world are actually affordable WITHOUT massive student loans or scholarships 😛
  • Figuring out student visa and immigration stuff
    • As far as I can tell, I’m exempt from the English language requirements and a few other things as I am an American citizen ( born in the USA and lived in Texas for most of my life before moving to Hong Kong).
      • However, my dual citizenship with Taiwan might make the situation a bit less straight forward…
      • And I also have a HK permanent resident card – the HK equivalent of “citizenship” (since HK isn’t a country but many people in HK can’t get PRC citizenship for various reasons too long to get into) so yeah….
      • Also, while the University of Hong Kong is an English-medium university (since HK was governed by the UK until 1997, again long story) it is not in an English speaking majority country so maybe I don’t qualify? I’m not sure at the moment, but am working on it!
United Kingdom visa in passport
Yay ! I Love Travel Paperwork! 🙄  -Source: Gov.UK
  • Learning to take better photos with my DSLR
    • The trip was incredibly fun, but I have a TON left to learn before I feel like I’m ready to bring my camera “into the field” as it were, without experienced people guiding me through the basics.
  • Doing some summer undergrad research
    • I’m working under a professor with Oriental Magpie Robins (Copsychus saularis) around HKU campus at the moment. I might post about it in the future if that is something people are interested in, but probably not since it isn’t related to anything “study abroad”-esque.

But above all, I’m…

  • Enjoying my summer break
    • Because as Calvin and Hobbes put it…
Calvin
July 4, 1986 by Bill Watterson – Source: @Calvinn_Hobbes & C&H Search Engine

Thanks for reading!

– Rebecca

Day #7 – “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” – A story about how human memory can be an amazing yet fickle thing!

A cool story about something that happened today!

Let me set the scene…

So I had just finished eating lunch with one of my friends (since I have an hour break between a common core tutorial I have with her and an English Peer Tutoring session) and was putting my tray away when I feel a tap on my shoulder.

The following conversation ensues (I can’t remember it word for word but this is the general gist of it).

I’ll be R, she will be G (not going to give her real name but let’s call her… Ginny because Harry Potter :P)


~Set in an HKU restaurant~

G: “Sorry this might be a bit weird but I’m sure I know you from somewhere… did you go to a CityU mooting workshop or CUHK’s summer institute or something like that during the summer?”

Side note: I didn’t even know what a “mooting” was (it’s is a mock courtroom trial) until I googled it just now. This becomes relevant later on…

R:  “You mean the previous summer? Or a few summers ago? No, I’ve never been to CityU, though I went to a CUHK medicine clinical attachment program a few years back?”

G: “No it isn’t that. Huh… you aren’t a freshman right?”

R: “Yeah, wait… what did you say your name was again?” (slightly surprised she new since most people think I’m a freshman, plus my brain is registering her as someone I know, rather than a complete stranger I have never seen before)

G: “Ginny”

R: “Okay, yeah I definitely remember your face from somewhere as well, plus that name just sounds too familiar”

G: “What faculty are you in?”

R: “Science, majoring in Ecology & Biodiversity. We are in different faculties though I think, you are studying something like Law right?”

G: “Wait, how did you know that? I don’t think I mentioned that earlier”

Note: she technically did hint toward it with “mooting” but since I didn’t know what that was at the time, I was just as surprised as she was that I “guessed” right –

R: “I don’t know, just felt it was something related to that subject… Maybe we are in the same common core class?”

G: “What do you take this year?”

R: “CCST____, about scientific revolutions and…”

G: “Nope, it’s not that… and we aren’t in the same faculty or year so it couldn’t have been a general requirement or a freshman meet up sort of thing”

R: “Yeah… huh. Because I’m really sure I’ve seen you before, you look really familiar to me”

G: “Yeah I know right? This is so weird…”

R: “Well see you around I guess, need to go tutor some people now!”

~End Scene~


So after I finish tutoring two people (went really well) and leave, my brain immediately jumps back to trying to solve this enigma.

Doubt begins to set in.

Maybe she just looks like someone else I know, that is always a possibility.

But no, that just doesn’t feel right; maybe she’s changed her glasses or hairstyle, but I’m sure I have seen her before, like over 80% positive.

Besides, I knew what faculty she was in before she told me, and her name and face are so familiar… but I just can’t place it!

At this point, I’m slowly regretting not getting her phone number in case I do actually know her and have just forgotten for some reason.

Wait… maybe…

Yup.

Her number is already my contact list!

Okay, so we have established that we have met and exchanged phone numbers at some point.

We are getting somewhere with this mystery!

Anyways, after a few back and forth WhatsApp messages (where I gave her my number since she switched phones – see! Having a nearly 5-year-old Samsung Galaxy Note 2 does have it advantages :P) we just start listing things:

Secondary schools we went to, Summer programs we did, university clubs, Extra curricular, IBDP…

Everything, anything we can think of where we met a lot of people within the past few years

After a while…It finally hits us!

We were in the same St. John Ambulance First Aid Class!

Suddenly a torrent of information comes flooding back to me (it genuinely felt like something out of a movie, like where a person with amnesia gets their memories back)

Big, general things like our instructor’s name and the names of other classmates to random little things like that fake CPR dummy we made with someone’s ipad, a backpack and a pillow we made during a practice we had outside of the formal lessons.

Something about 30 MONTHS or 2.5 YEARS AGO, that lasted maybe 24 hours over 5 or so days and my brain STILL remembered subconsciously recognized that she looked familiar, even if I couldn’t consciously recall where I met her.

What is crazy about it was that our minds were both dancing around the answer the whole time.

We knew was something that:

  • Happened during the summer break
  • A few years back, when we were in secondary school
  • Vaguely related to one of our (intended at the time) university majors
  • Had an academic element to it
  • Was something that involved group work

 


So yeah the human brain is amazing, and Hong Kong is a pretty freaking awesome place to study since it is small enough where crazy stuff like that can happen!

That’s all for now, DFTBA!

-Rebecca

~~~~~~~~~~

P.S. Thinking about writing less starting tomorrow until Sunday since I have a few deadlines coming up. I’ll aim for 200 words tomorrow and make up the extra on the weekends. I’ll confirm tomorrow.

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

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