🍀🌞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

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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

​So what did I actually do? As told through a motley collection of photos (2017 Summer Recap pt.2)

Short one.

Not because of homework stress or anything like that, it’s -knock on wood – not that bad so far, more of because the more that I think of it, the less there is for me to really write about in an engaging way that anyone would really want to read about

(or maybe I’m wrong, in which case feel free to comment below and let me know!)

But, since I did promise a two parter and I feel as though my past few posts have been extremely text heavy, plus judging my summer based on the completion of a few goals seems to be extremely reductive.

So without futher ado (in rough chronological order), my summer!

wp-image-585277280.jpg
So this is where all of HK snakes that are caught get taken…
Cool looking Orchid, forgot to note down its name 😛

A photo meant for one of the Cubing posts during the Summer Blogging Challenge demonstrating differences in core type (cut cus who wants to read about that?)


-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

Day 0 – The Beginning

So this blog is surprisingly empty/quiet… Now normally I would just brush it off as “too busy” but really…?

Its summer.

I don’t have anything to do.

Quite literally.

In fact, I have been extremely unproductive.

So here we go, a new challenge to get me to populate my blog with some posts. Now, they won’t really be polished, they won’t be well thought out, actually it will be more rambling posts. But with that disclaimer out of the way… I’m gonna do it.

Blogging everyday for a month.

Yup.  Starting tomorrow (June 12, 2017) I am going to have a post on here everyday, until the 12th of July. At least 200 words, since that is a really low barrier to entry.

Why?

Well, in part because of the following:

  • It just occurred to me that this is my last summer as an official “teen”. Technically I am an adult now, but next summer I will officially have left my teenage years, and I still feel like I haven’t done much yet. Like if 12-year-old me were to visit Current me, they would be extremely disappointed that I have pretty much wasted my teenage years and haven’t idk, written a novel or gotten into an Ivy league school or whatever.
  • NASA just released their astronaut candidate list. Wow, these people have accomplished a lot in the span of a few years… If they can do that, I should be able to fill my summer with something other than binge watching all the tv shows ever from dusk til dawn
  • Improve my writing skills. I have noticed something during my first year of uni… I suck at writing quickly without a deadline. With a deadline, at least there is a target a goal to get stuff done by, but without one, I notice that I tend to leave things until they get pushed aside into the Pile of Incomplete projects. However, since I am part of a student blog now for my uni, this is something that I need to get better at.
  • What else am I going to do during my summer?

 

So there is that.

One goal, Two hundred words a day, Three ( x ten) days in a row.

Let’s do this thing! 😀