First Day of Semester 1, 2010

Well just like one year ago, the first day of uni for this year was just as exciting, hectic, annoying, with its own thrills and spills. Many of the things that happened were unanticipated and surely it took a lot of quick on-the-spot decision-making. Of course this post will extend to Tuesday as well; and rather than be hasty with blogging about the first day, I should really wait until the first week is actually over. Oh well, here it is:


First thing on Monday was actually not uni but instead I had to meet up with my youth pastor to go over our youth group Bible study. I had uni in the afternoon and so I had a bit of a morning to use for this meeting. Of course, going through my Bible study like this was fairly routine; what made today special was that there was this woman who was watching us the entire time. We were sitting inside Gloria Jean’s by the window and she was sitting like a table away. She was watching us the entire time and when we were about to close up she introduced herself as Amanda, told us that she noticed we were going through a Bible study and stuff. The conversation then moved into her telling us how she was having a lot of personal problems which hindered her Christian life and that she needed a lot of healing and stuff. I guess the most polite thing we could do was offer to pray for her, which we did. But on the whole, that encounter was really weird because it was clear she seemed a bit insecure and as much as praying for her was a good idea, it makes you wonder how else we could’ve supported her. My youth pastor stayed back to talk with her while I went back to have lunch and train down for uni.



My first class today was at 2pm, a finance lecture. To completely ruin the day my very first say at uni, I had a very unfortunate encounter with a mythical creature called [Dups] (or code named “Kuro Kuro”) which I thought I would never ever have to see again. It’s shrill cry made my stomach wretch, and I just couldn’t my bad luck at having to witness the foul beast once again >.<” But that’s an inside story. I noticed many people were in the same lecture as me, which was quite fortunate: most of my Actuarial buddies, Jono, Sarah; yeah.


I spent the first lecture today messing around with my laptop trying to connect to the new Internet system that our uni had set up; it took a while and after a dismal hour I finally had it up.  It was a dire situation for me and Yit at the time apparently, as Tim D tells us that we were not meant to do one of our Actuarial courses, but instead to do a math course which covered the Actuarial one. So essentially we enrolled in the wrong course, but that was only because we were majoring in Actuarial Studies & Maths; the combination had a different study path T.T” So in the next hour me and Yit changed our timetables during class; and within the first two hours of uni, my timetable was flipped completely upside down. I will move into timetable analysis later.


On the whole I had not paid attention to the lecture and so I didn’t learn anything, but that’s okay because this course is pretty dud for me; I only need to do it because they told me to, I just simply have to pass. The final exam is pretty lax anyway, 50% weighting and it’s made up of 60 multiple choice questions, wow. It’s not a course I intend to put much effort into, especially when there are more intimidating courses. Talked to Sarah afterwards, she said she can get me a brand new textbook for Finance and hopefully sell it to me for less than the bookshop price, which obviously is quite expensive. So that means I have to return textbooks now: the finance one and the Actuarial one which I dropped just an hour ago haha.



This course would better be labelled with the subject heading “Calculus”, if it helps anybody. The class was made up of mostly science students who were doing maths; I saw Molly and a couple of people from my high school there. Our lecturer was Mr Jonathan Kress, who appeared in a previous chapter of my blog a long time ago. He was the person to contact for our online math quizzes last year; and my first one had messed up and I had to go see him. Today it became apparent that he was a computer noob, or just not super-efficient. But that’s okay, hopefully he’s a good lecturer.


I’m not sure what to expect from this course, because now these aren’t Actuarial-level math courses like last year; they’re just plain science-level maths. In fact a lot of the course outline was topics that we had already covered, so not quite sure how hard this course will be.


And for now, this was the first day of uni, had a lot of things to sort out the next day, as well as in the long run. I was unable to obtain any of our lecture notes for any course off that stupid new website called “Blackboard”. Man they just had to change it to something more ridiculous and more bogus than “WebCT”. It just means needing more time to get used to it, which I rather not spend having to do so. And as a final note to add to the first day, I had already skipped my very first lecture apparently. That new math course I had just swapped into during finance –> there was a lecture for it that morning; epic fail start to the new semester.



The next day I had just a single lecture, but had many other duties to take care of. I went down to the bookstore to get a refund for my textbooks. Of course they only give you store credit, which I guess is better than nothing. I was afraid of not being able to get a refund for my textbooks, I’m not sure how stingy they are with refunds, so I made up a fair excuse (you don’t need to know) and managed to get my “money” back, in the form of a $223 voucher.



This was now the only Actuarial course I have this semester, and I am really glad for it because last year’s one was rather energy-consuming. I found out more about this course yesterday and it really does look like a heavy course. 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of tutorials. A total of 4 hours for the week? Wrong. Flicked through the course outline and realised that the lectures and tutorials alternated each week. So one week there was a 2-hour lecture, the following week only a 2-hour tutorial, and then back and forth. So in actual fact it was only 2 contact hours a week! But this is an Actuarial course with heaps of hard material; and no lecturer or tutor is going to go through the work with us?!


They re-structured the course for this year, and most of it is self study, the minor amount of class time was to be used to “wrap up the topic” and “answer questions” and to “go through exercises”. Like, oh dear, the lecture isn’t even a lecture anymore. But, fortunately the lecturers had some rather well-prepared material, including lecture slides, a readings schedule and funnily as well, video lectures on the website for us to go through at home, as many times as we like, which I think is pretty awesome. So yes it does mean that we have to go through most of the work at home, and spend quite a lot of time on it; but that’s sort of expected I suppose; I’m just glad they’ve given us some good support material. It’s going to take a while to get up to speed but luckily the first three weeks is material that we’ve seen last year already, so that will give me some leeway.


Our first lecture today only went for one hour, and it was just the lecturer explaining what we had to do in the course, including the video lectures, slides, and other tidbits, we didn’t actually learn anything which was really weird.



The last course I haven’t gone through yet is this one – Higher Theory of Statistics. I bought it’s $20 course pack after I refunded my textbooks today, which I’m happy for, since I gave up a $120 textbook for (ACTL2002) to get this cheaper course pack. I spent way too much on textbooks this semester T.T” Anyway this one simply looks like more maths and hopefully won’t be harder than the Actuarial alternative; most of the basics we have seen already in previous Math and Actuarial courses so it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up. Luckily in that first lecture we missed on Monday, they only did revision; I should actually read up on the course pack soon to catch up.


Timetable Analysis

Okay, now let’s see the fruits of my planning from the experience I gained last year. But in all honesty, the timetable I have this semester was purely out of my control as all my classes are small and so there’s only 1 lecture time and only a small handful of tutorial times to choose from.


2010 S1

The yellow boxes represent that MATH2901 course I had just picked up and it’s sort of changed my week now. I have to start earlier on Monday, but luckily only 10am. Overall, my starting times are fairly late, anything after 9am is acceptable. And a good thing was that it removed the 9am start I would’ve had today (Wednesday) as a result of ACTL2002, which I’ve now dropped. Also before, I had a single tutorial on Thursday at 5pm, for ACTL2002, and a single lecture on Friday, the orange box. I would not have gone to uni on Friday and so I would’ve skipped a Math lecture each week, but now MATH2901 forces me to come on Friday so now I don’t have to skip any lectures now! The only trade-off is that I have Thursdays off now instead of Friday, hmm…


The green boxes alternate weekly like I said before. So next week, that green block on Tuesday won’t be there but the Wednesday 4-6pm will be T.T” I guess that means every second week I won’t be ending late on Wednesday. For Tuesday in particular, on the weeks I end at 12pm, I can go back to have lunch with my parents, otherwise I’ll just have afternoon tea after 2pm with Jacky.


I have ample breaks this semester, especially for CBS now which is great! Last semester I had the anti-CBS arrangement for bad luck but this semester I can attend everything. And I guess I don’t have too many idle hours at uni so I won’t be missing out too much study time while not being in class at uni. This timetable should run more smoothly for me this semester, the late starts mean I can sleep in a bit more and I won’t always be ending too late so I’ll get home not feeling too tired. But that obviously comes from having to come 4 days a week.


My timetable shows 17 hours, but in actual fact there are only 15 contact hours a week, which is fairly good for a Commerce/Science student I guess haha!


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