I’ve been taking some time off to rest and relax, since… welll…
I crashed and burned last semester trying to take 6 courses, many of which also had full lab components with weekly expermiments + lab reports etc.
So I was sorta ignoring this blog for a while to just get away from writing stuff that had to do with academics and school. I hope you all understand, I might go into more depth about it but that is for a future post.
But I’m back now!
With more posts on the horizon so that I can get back into a productive mindset for the new sememster coming up. Fresh new start and all that!
In other exciting news, I’m going on exchange to the University of Leeds during my spring semester! (yes during Brexit)
So if you want to know more about that, I have a new blog “Away in Leeds” that basically talks about me preparing for that trip. It will also have a bunch of stuff related to HKU university life, in case people are thinking about going on exchange TO my university.
This one will be more academic related and goal oriented, while the other will talk more about hku culture and exchange planning.
I’ll test this two blog format out and see if it works, but I wanted to have a separate blog for exchange stuff, so that people could just look at the stuff they are interested in, rather than everything to do with my university life.
Lastly, there will be a new post coming out tomorrow about registering to vote in the USA Midterm Elections!
(Both because it is an important topic and because I feel as though you all deserve to have more posts after such a long absence)
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!
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! 🙂
Fall (秋 qiū)- Transition & culmination. Reaping the harvest from what has been sowed.
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.
(unrelated side note: possible future post idea – explaining HKU/canto slang terms like “ocamp”, “chur” “dem beet” etc?)
Winter (冬 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!
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).
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.
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!
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.
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?
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…
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!
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.
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
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.
Short post today, both because the wifi issue (same restictions apply, though I’ve gotten the tag thing to work. Not sure how to get link thing to work without typing out the whole url, so will save that til wifi is fixed). Plus I spent all my energy typing out yesterday’s post and I want to take it easy for a day or two.
But yeah, sort of regretting this whole post a day idea now…
I mean don’t get me wrong, I have written a few posts that I feel are pretty good, the blossom one and the recap one come to mind.
But you know? It feels like the 30 day end is so far away and I’m slowly running out of random ideas and things to say.
Like I had an idea about how people being controlled by light throught history, but that seems pretty lame and incoherent of an idea that I can’t think of a good ending to.
Most of my posts in this challenge are also pretty unpolished with next to no editing as well, so I’m not really sure why I am spending all this time typing out random thoughts on this blog that I had first planned on using as a more professional about me kind of page.
Now that I’m looking at it, I’ll probably have to edit out some of this stuff later or create a new professional page because some of this is just not the sort of stuff I would be proud showing people I know in real life or as an example of my quality of work. Shame too, I love the blog title, but the content man…
Again, its not bad, just a bit… rambling.
Would be a bit weird to show people this and have them see it without context…
Perhaps I should include a link or something in each post that goes to the first one, or include a caution along the lines of:
Please excuse the lack of quality in the following post, it was thought up, typed out and submitted in the span of less than 24 hours and contain little to no editing. Do not consider this an accurate sample of quality work, rather think of it as a writing exercise challenge by teen who for some reason is trying to create daily content without any preparation in advance in the somewhat vain attempt to keep herself occupied and hard at work during her summer months. Your cooperation is appreciate. 😀
Ehhhhh… maybe not. Would stretch my already long post out to the point of basically being a long short story… actually maybe I should wri- nah… no point really.
Hopefully this is just one of those temporary stumbling blocks present in all long projects, and not a sign of future disaster to come…