Twenty-Twelve

So I guess I owe everyone a long report and explanation about what I’ve been doing for the last six months and why I haven’t posted a single article online for a while. Let’s get straight into it.

 

University

So the main thing that kept me from being able to blog was my uni routine. I’ll have to admit that third year provided the most amount of struggle for me: the amount of workload, the difficulty of the workload, and the sheer number of things I had to try and do outside of uni. After much stress and studying, I managed to get through this second semester, a little more bruised than in my previous years; but I suppose things are still going well for me academically.

 

My partake in CBS this semester was severely hindered by the unfortunate times of my lectures, namely having class during ALL the CBS talks and the like. I had a similar timetable in second year, can’t really remember what it was like back then, but I was still able to serve as a Bible Study leader (also despite not being to attend any leaders’ meetings). Yeah I suppose that was a struggle too, but it went reasonably well I think.

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Okay so moving on, I’ve been on holidays since mid-November. Here are some of my highlights in the holidays.

 

K-Pop Concert

Truly a night to remember, being my first Korean music concert and all. My last university exam was on that day (in the afternoon to be precise), so I was frantically rushing to the venue after my exam. My seats weren’t great (as you will soon see in the video below, but I had a blast watching all the different Korean artists perform and seeing all the wonderful stage production that other artists would normally never bother with. Koreans really do ante it up when it comes to stage production. Here is my fancam of my favourite performance of the night:

 

 

Terrigal Roadtrip

A week or two later I went on a roadtrip with some other people in my grade up to a nice beach house in Terrigal. We spent the three days there at the beach, playing games, jamming, and serving one another in preparing food and helping with washing up. It was a pretty cool experience getting to know the people our grade better. Props to the guys for doing most to all of the cooking; and to the girls for helping us clean up afterwards. This reminds me that I have some videos I need to upload from roadtrip…

 

My 21st

At the end of last year, I turned 21, had a nice Asian-themed party (to which very few people tried to honour the theme); but it was fun seeing all the people who managed to free up some time to drop by. Received some nice presents and some encouraging messages from a lot of people. I suppose I was a bit disappointed at the number of people who dropped out, even though they said they would come, I guess I’m not that important haha. But I was still glad at the number of people who did come. Still waiting on my photographer to upload photos haha, but in the meantime here’s my response video that I shot on my actual birthday:

 

 

One of the things I was really excited about for my birthday was getting an SLR. I’ve been testing it out heaps and trying to get the hang of taking good photos and editing them, not as a hardcore professional hobby, but more as a “I don’t just want a simple 1-second photo”; yeah. So my photo quality should be vastly better now.

New Years Eve

We had our (now) traditional CBS New Years party. But due to the sheer number of Christians in Commerce, we could only invite a select number of them to spend New Years with; the point of the party was to get to know one another better (something that is hard to do with a large group of people) and to also help pass on responsibility from our grade to the younger grades seeing as we are getting old and will be graduating soon. I gave a short talk on Acts 1, hoping to encourage not only the younger students, but all of us to step up and think hard about opportunities to evangelise since our freedom in university will soon be coming to an end. I believe I was the only one who stayed up all night, it was hard as usual but wasn’t impossible. Went to church the next morning and then had a few people chill over at my place in the afternoon. Here’s a photo of my grade (or the ones who could make it that night). This was taken with my new camera.

 

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Actually I realised that this photo is kind of pointless seeing as I already have one above of our grade on our roadtrip. I also snuck away to my church’s NYE party too that night, perhaps that photo should be more appropriate:

 

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Coastal Walk in the South

Early this year, I went down south for the first time and hiked (sort of) near some southern beaches. It was a good change of pace because most of our socials would always take place around where we live (in the north) because that’s where most of us reside. But for the sake of those who lived in the south, we thought it fair to venture down to where they lived and hang out with them there. Half the awesomeness of the day was in the walk and chatting with each other; the other half was in our luxurious crab dinner in Beverly Hills:

 

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^ I thought this was a pretty awesome photo xD

 

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Yeah I think that’s enough highlights for now.

 

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Looking to 2012

I suppose that as I come to this year, there is quite a lot to reflect and learn from last year. One of the things I want to change from last year is the way I do ministry. Last year, whilst dealing with a lot of administrative matters for church and CBS, I found that I had little time to build relationships with the people I was ministering to; I found that I didn’t know them as well as I have should and as a result it hindered my influence in encouraging them to grow in the love and knowledge of Christ. As a result, this year I’m going to try and focus less on admin matters, but put my time and energy into building relationships with the people under my care, and the people who do need to be cared for. I do hope that being freed to work on my relationships will help me to be a better witness for Christ to all my friends, particularly my non-Christian ones; that hopefully I’ll get opportunities to help explain to them what a relationship with Jesus is all about. That is my primary goal for this year.

 

Another thing I do want to work hard towards is defending the truth of the gospel, for fear that a lot of Christians lack the core truths and hence fail to understand what Christianity is all about. I’ve noted some ministries and churches in Sydney that may be preaching unsound doctrine; not things that are “completely” but where the truth is not evident for one reason or another. I know that it’s hard to correct a lie once it’s been implanted in someone’s mind, so I hope to be able to target these “untruths” before people root their beliefs firmly into them. And yes that will raise questions for me as to whether I know the truth or not; I hope to be able to address that concern soon in the coming weeks.

 

And of course lastly there’s university still to consider. My fourth year seems to be a bit more relaxed than last year. In a sense, you could say that this is my “second” 3rd year, because most of the courses I’m doing are just third year courses that I couldn’t fit into last year. As such, the courses I’m doing shouldn’t be difficult and so hopefully I will get that time and energy to focus on the goals I’ve listed above, as well as aim to get a graduate position in something. With my free time at uni, I hope to be able to meet up with some of you guys and to spend time getting to know you better, for the purpose of encouragement and edification (in case the objective wasn’t clear). We all need to ration our time carefully, so let’s use it as efficiently as we can.

 

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In the meantime I will be heading up to Hong Kong next week, for about 4 weeks. If you have something you want me to buy for you, please message me as soon as you can. Stay tuned for more posts and updates from Hong Kong. My next serious article will be on the theme of “Regret”, it shall be up soon.

Semester 2, 2011 (Preview)

I couldn’t think of a better title, the timetable below is pretty self-explanatory:

 

[2011s2] Jason Tam

Wait, what am I on about? The timetable above is NOT self-explanatory, which is why I’ve also provided a Q&A. But before that, let me point out some straightforward facts and implications.

  1. I’ll finally have one day off (Monday) a week, instead of my packed 5 days a week this semester.
  2. CBS is heavily impacted in that I will not be able to attend ANY of the “required” weekly events, aside from Bible Study.
  3. I have 18 hours in total, and am not sure how many hours (if there are any) are skippable.
  4. Yes, “skippable” is a word. I don’t care if there’s a red squiggly line under it.

 

Q1. Was this really the best timetable you could come up with?

Sadly yes. This is pretty much the most optimal timetable (for me) that I could make. A reason for this is that all my courses are small, so there aren’t many (or any) classes to choose from. All 12 hours of lectures you see above were already set; there was no possible way to move them. As for the remaining 6 hours of tutorials/labs, some only had two choices, others had more but many of those clashed with a lecture time of another course.

 

Q2. Could you have done other courses instead?

I could. But because my peers are also doing these courses, I did not want to disadvantage myself by doing courses that I didn’t have contacts in; that would just be plain stupid. Having said that, there was one math course which completely clashed with my actuarial course, but the times for that math course were never fixed so I can’t really enrol in that one still.

 

Q3. What about Monday?

Even if I did decide to come in on Monday, and it;d be really hard to bring myself to do such a thing considering how this semester is playing out, I can only have a maximum of two tutorials there. So coming in on Monday for a maximum of two hours of class, I would rather put those two hours elsewhere and get Mondays off. The only serious trade off is that I cannot attend the CBS meeting, and since I have Monday off, I don’t think I’ll come in on Monday just for that meeting.

 

Q4. Why are you doing 5 courses?

Two of them are worth 3 Units of Credit each, and so I still have a total of 24 Units of Credit for next semester. I have 18 hours of class because these are science courses, and not just commerce (otherwise I would get a carefree 12 hours a week). If I do not do these courses now, it will disadvantage me (for the reasons listed in Q2) and it will probably stuff up my degree in one way or another.

 

Q5. What are your plans for CBS next semester?

Seeing as my timetable is completely anti-CBS (semester 1 of last year was the same actually), I am most likely going to wisely step down from my leadership roles there. The only thing I can really help with (or at least attend) is just a Bible Study weekly. I can still lead one if need be, but considering that I won’t be able to attend any other CBS activity, it would probably be wise for me not to lead a Bible Study next semester. We will have to see what my MTSer has to say. But with about 4 hours of break a week, I should still be able to attend a Bible Study group.

 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my weekly routine, I cannot attend Core Theology on Tuesday nights because it clashes with my youth group leaders’ meeting. Somehow, my timetable managed to cater for my Tuesday night meeting once again (thank God). I think it will be wise for me to take a step back from CBS activities (only because the circumstances have made it so), so that I can get more time and energy to focus on church activities. My focus and energy has been greatly divided this semester between many things, and it’s felt like I haven’t done anything to as good a degree as I would like. I already mentioned about me being given more responsibilities at church, and so I should be wise about my responsibilities and give more time to that. Plus, uni studies have just plummeted because of all these weekly activities happening. Consequently, church will be my primary focus for next semester.

 

There won’t be many lectures I can skip, I anticipate. But the only ones worth skipping would be the ones that take place at critical time slots throughout the week, namely anything that happens at 1pm. There is a chance I will get Thursday 1pm free, and that will save my “The Bible Talks” hour.

 

Q6. Is there anything we can do for you?

If you’re a CBS person reading this, do pray for me. It really does make me feel bad that I pretty much can’t go to any CBS event without killing myself over my studies and my energy (5 days seriously is painful), but I hope I can still be an encouragement to people in my faculty. I think I’ll still be involved in any faculty planning stuff (unofficially though) and I’ll be happy to offer my opinions and advice if they’re needed. I’ll be keeping tabs on how our faculty is going but I probably won’t be taking any upfront roles.

 

For church people, you are more than welcome to judge me more harshly next semester as a leader since I should have more energy (due to my free Monday) and my somewhat undivided attention for just church activities (since CBS won’t be on my mind as much next semester – but I’ll still be thinking about it of course). It’s not good to not be able to do campus ministry, but in any circumstance that God throws at you, it really comes down to how well you deal with the situation. And so for myself, I would rather get something done right, than to be able to do everything there is.

 

Still have more questions? Shoot me an e-mail or something.

Daydream Syndrome (part 2)

Edit 1: Friday, 4th March 5:53pm

I said I’d post again after a week of uni, so here it is again. But before I get into my uni routine for this semester, I’d like to spend a bit of time looking at this:

 

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Everyone should recognise this to be the chain that hangs off my phone. Most of you will remember that I once had a “gold” one, the one on the left; and now I have a new “silver” one. What was wrong with the “gold” one? Well those of you who have seen my gold one will have most likely FONDLED with it MULTIPLE times. And as a result, the one of the left is now the way you see it is. Before, it used to look just like the one on the RIGHT. Yes, that’s right, my “gold” chain used to be silver; which obviously implies that all your acidic sweaty fingers have fondled my chain such that all the silver colour has rusted away. I guess that can’t be helped. But I would hope that those who find my phone chain interesting, would admire it from a distance, rather than up close with your fingers; I don’t think I’ll be able to get a replacement one any time soon.

 

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Okay, so onto uni now. 5 days a week is going to prove to be quite challenging, especially since my weekend is booked with activities and commitments as well. Doesn’t seem to be too bad, as long as I commit to doing my readings and my homework I should pull through this semester alright. There were a few notable things that happened this week, which should make for an interesting, yet annoying, semester. For starters, all my lecturers are foreign to the point where understanding their English becomes a challenge of its own. Both my Actuarial Studies lecturers have really appalling English and I find myself wondering how these people were even selected by the uni to be lecturers. Even if they are intelligent and such, if you can’t communicate what you know to your students, you’re worthless.

 

Our first Actuarial Studies lecture ended an hour early. The lecture was meant to last a full 3 hours (yes, 3 hours, no breaks, except for about 10 mins every hour or so). The lecturer just packed up his stuff and left, even though there was a whole hour left AND he hadn’t finished teaching the first week’s stuff. That was pretty bad. The second lecturer just couldn’t speak English full stop. At the moment one course requires a huge Actuarial Mathematics textbook, which was quite big and heavy, but only worth $120. The other course requires special course notes from the Institute of Actuarial Studies Australia, which go on sale for $150 for just the notes only, and $230 including a questions and answers booklet. Quite an outrageous price to pay for simple pieces of paper, it’s not even a textbook and they’re making us buy that sort of crap. Luckily our students have our ways to counteract that…

 

As for my two math courses, again both are foreign but their English is much more understandable than my Actuarial Studies ones. One of them was French with a fairly heavy French accent. In the first lecture he put up his contact number on the screen and told us to “call [him] if you want to hear [his] voice…” very nice! Although he seemed like a funny man, I was mistaken today when he sent one of my friends out halfway through a two-hour lecture for resting his head on the table. My friend tried to talk his way into staying, at the same time not realising that our lecturer was asking him to leave, due to his poor choice of English words. The lecturer later explained to us that he sent him out because he was not shown respect, and then mumbled some other stuff. Honestly, we’ve shown respect to all our lecturers by PAYING for them to teach us something we supposedly need in the future. And not only so, we’ve paid our respects by actually SHOWING up to the lecture; paying for our cost is a “sunk cost” already.

 

And the last math lecturer? He’s the crazy scientist-like guy who was my tutor was one of my courses two semesters ago. His accent is quick thick though so it’s a bit hard to understand him but he is quite intelligent. I call him crazy scientist-like because that’s what he looks like, not to mention the way he “wields” a piece of chalk and crazily writes a bunch of math equations of the blackboard quickly, and messily. I don’t hate him, he’s just really enthusiastic about teaching maths, which I guess is a good thing for us students who want to learn. Neither of my math courses require a textbook – well for one I do, but it was the same as a textbook I already have for an Actuarial course I did last semester; what a coincidence!

 

So all in all university doesn’t seem too big a thing this semester; although I speak pre-maturely about that since I haven’t even considered the homework, some of which I already have, which I haven’t done yet haha. The five days is going to hurt me I reckon, but I’ve done it before already so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

 

Moving on, I am once again leading a Bible Study group this semester for CBS. Instead of leading with MC Ding this semester, my co-leader will be super tall Ms Chung (code names will have to do, sorry people). My group so far is quite big, at least 9 other people apart from the leaders. But the thing that’s a bit daunting is the fact that they’re all 3rd years and older; I haven’t met most of the older students. My group only have 2 people that are younger than me and Ms Chung, so hopefully we’ll be able to cater well for them and look after them this semester. Other than that Bible Study leading should be alright. We’re having leaders’ meetings on Monday afternoons, though I suspect each week there is going to be problems with trying to finish on time; you can only do so many things in a 1-hour meeting, so having a long agenda really isn’t helpful. We will have to see how this organising structure goes.

 

I guess the last thing I might mention is youth group. Things picked up over the last few weeks, because my co-leader went off to do her own things so I was left to follow people up and get admin stuff done by myself. But now most of it has been taken care of for this school term. Hopefully I’ll be able to see some fruit from this term that will let me know that I’m doing the right thing; most of that will probably be seen through our Bring a Friend Day evangelistic thing; have a talk to prepare for that day too. It feels awkward now, doing talks, because I haven’t done a proper one since Soul Purpose back in year 12. As such it is probably up to me (and God) to become more articulate in the coming days and weeks.

 

Until next time, I guess I’m going to get back into studying or procrastinating.

 

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Edit 1:

Knew I forgot something. Wanted to also talk about how this week reminded me just how horrible our public transport system is. Not having used it during the summer break has eased a lot of stress from me. It really has been frustrating nearly every day this week just having to put up with the annoyances of public transport. As usual, trains run late but it hasn’t been that bad this week. It’s the buses that have been the most annoying this week. Simply put, the buses DON’T COME, AT ALL. On a few of my days this week, I got to the bus stop in time for 11am and 12pm and there were more than a hundred students waiting in line for the bus. Rarely anyone starts uni this late, and rarely do that many number of students wait for the bus, ever.

 

So I really have to hand it to the bus company, for knowing how to be inefficient. During peak hours, around the 9am to 10am mark, there are heaps more buses, which is good. The problem is that none of them are full; and this is when most students want to get to uni. The buses simply don’t wait and leave once the bus is half full, even though there are students waiting. I’ve even come across an EMPTY bus, that’s right; a bus that didn’t pick a SINGLE student up. I don’t why it was empty, but if it was going to the university (to take students back from uni), it could’ve at least picked up some students (even 1 would’ve been good) rather than be a complete waste of space on the road – seriously, a giant vehicle carrying only 1 person, the driver.

 

Buses from uni are just as bad; they also don’t come, leaving hundreds of students waiting, and missing their desired train. Not only so, but during O-Week, the express buses weren’t even stopping at the right place. They were stopping before the traffic lights, which isn’t where they stop, and they totally missed the normal bus stop, which is right after the traffic lights. And to add insult to injury (for those who were waiting at the right place), those buses were only half full as well. How’s that for complete *face palm*?

 

Today on the train back home, a man with a Middle-Eastern accent was shouting over the intercom; yes, shouting. It was hard to make out what he said, and all I really heard was “Attention passengers”. But what he said after that sounded along the lines of: “We have hijacked this train and will kill one hostage every 10 minutes until our demands are met. Do not try to resist.” Don’t you just LOVE this city?

The Break That Isn’t

After a whole day of (trying) to study I’ve finally gotten really bored of it so perhaps now is a good time to re-cap over everything that’s happened since the beginning of this semester, or whenever I left off blogging; which was probably right after MYC, wait that’s the same thing huh?

 

Okay, since this semester started, things changed a bit. My timetable was fairly close to what it was last semester, same days and about the same hours, same amount of breaks. In total I had 19 contact hours, which up to week 7 is now reducible to 12 hours. Funny how I managed to find a way to skip 7 hours a week of lectures. A quick run down of my courses this semester and my thoughts about them, now that I’m halfway through this semester:

 

ACTL2003: My lone Actuarial course for this semester (Stochastic Processes for Actuarial Studies) hasn’t been as strenuous as previous Actuarial courses; I was really glad to achieve a final mark of 77 for my last Actuarial course, which means I did reasonably well for my final exam last semester; thank God for that! This course is perhaps the worst course so far to date in my major. It’s not especially hard, but it sucks in terms of the lecturer, who can’t speak English well, who can’t teach, and who doesn’t help us for exam preparations (he can’t even tell us which chapters of the textbook were going to be in the exams and all). Notable things about him include his “zero”s coming out as “jello” or “jerro” since Koreans (and Japs) don’t distinguish between “L” and “R” sounds; and how he’ll always say “Are you okay with dis one?” at the end of each slide when clearly nobody was since he didn’t teach it articulately enough. To top things off, he’s also my tutor, whereas everyone else gets someone decent who can teach and speak English properly. The only good thing so far from this course is that 100% I got for the mid-sem exam, though it was only worth 10% of our final marks…and also that the average for that test was like 90%+. Yeah, me getting 100% isn’t too hard to believe but it just wasn’t a major achievement this time since the test was really really easy. Stressed over nothing on the day I had the exam >.<”

 

MATH2601: Higher Linear Algebra proves to be perhaps the most interesting subject this semester. The lecturer is really good at keeping us focused (not kidding here). For a female mathematician, she was amazingly articulate when she taught and was even able to crack a few jokes here and there. The lectures are enjoyable because she would often drift away from course material and just start rambling about other funny things, like about the previous lecturer of the course, and about the recent election haha! My tutor for this course is amazingly smart too, though he did mark our test papers a bit harsh. I skip one lecture from this course a week, it’s the only class I have on Thursdays.

 

MATH2931: Higher Linear Models also had a good lecturer, though he teaches quite fast. The class is smaller so it was easier for us to ask questions and stuff. Doubling as our tutor, he was good at relating all the theory to practical stuff we were doing in other courses, so it was easy to pay attention. He has given us a lot of assignment work, long long assignments which aren’t too fun but at least I’m actually focused enough to learn something. The statistics course I did last semester was just way too boring and I was afraid things would be the same this semester, guess not. I skip the lecture on Monday morning because it’s just way too early (9am).

 

COMP1911: Computing 1A is the simplest computing course available and serves as my WAM booster for this semester. This course is so dead easy I haven’t been to a single lecture since the very first one. With 7 contact hours a week alone for this course, it’s asking for an unreasonable amount of time for something so easy. So I now skip all 4 for hours of the lectures. I attend my 1 hour tute and then try and skip out on the 2 hour lab that follows by doing the lab work before it’s due. I’m ashamed that I only got 8.5/10 for my first assignment. Luckily the second assignment (which I’ve already finished) has 2 extra marks that can be used to replace marks previously lost. Now I stand another chance to get back to 100% for this course haha!

 

Apart from uni work, this semester has been quite busy for me. Serving in CBS is beginning to take a fairly serious toll on my energy levels. Running through things I do at uni:

1) Lead Bible Study on Monday
2) Attend CBS talk
3) Attend Core Training Strand
4) Attend Core Theology
5) Meet-up with faculty MTS

That’s a total of 5 hours each week, out of my 6 hours of break a week (now effectively 9 due to skipping all those computing lectures haha). But it definitely is still a busy schedule because this is in conjunction with all my church commitments and with other friends. And then there’s my Saturday job on top of all of that, plus tutoring 2 students weekly. Add it all up and that’s one busy week.

 

Leading a Bible Study at uni has been the new thing for me this semester. It’s slightly daunting since it’s a first for me in a way, leading a Bible Study with uni people that I don’t know, rather than the high school guys I’ve been leading for more than a year and a half. It’s not too bad, I’ve gotten to know my group fairly well over the semester, especially from MYC, so the only hard thing for this is that it’s just another Bible Study that I have to prepare for in addition to the one for youth group on Sunday, twice the workload. But it’s been fun serving alongside Rachel; funny though because there’s little time for communication between me and her and yet when we lead we don’t trip over each other haha. Having a co-leader is also semi-new to me since I’ve been solo-ing for a long time now, even back in the days of Soul Purpose.

 

This is exactly the reason why I haven’t been able to blog as such since semester started. I think I might have started to work a bit harder considering my falling WAM from last semester. So far the marks are pretty good, sitting at 80%+ for two courses and a potential 100% for the other two courses. These currently say nothing about my final mark because the final exams are worth pretty much the entire course: 75% for Actuarial, 70% for Algebra and Linear Models, and 55% for computing. Ignoring the last one, that’s 215% of my 400% of final marks right there in the final exams, more than 2 courses worth of marks are obtained within the span of 6 hours; makes you wonder what all those hours of class time are actually for? Just those 6 hours of exams?

 

Things have been tiring I guess, and it’s made me just a little more lazy for everything that I do, especially with all my commitments. But that’s the natural thing that happens right? With a finite amount of time set out for a certain number of activities, if you add more activities to your list without increase the amount of time that you have, you have no choice but to distribute less time to each activity on average, every activity gets a smaller slice of the “time pie”.

 

What this busy routine has helped me with though is learning (through pressure) how to use my time more effectively. I consider this time I’ve used for blogging as effective since I wouldn’t be able to use it for study anyhow. So at the least, there are some good things coming out of this semester. I cannot wait for the holidays to kick in, so I can enjoy some freedom from a busy week and actually go out and enjoy life with the friends I haven’t seen much over the course of this semester, or this year for that matter.

 

Time may wait for no man but I will definitely wait for it haha!

Semester 1 Overview

At long last semester 1 is over. Even so, it’s taken a few days before I could actually settle down into the holidays. This has been my busiest semester at university to date; and to no surprise at all. This is second year after all, it’s expected that the work load and the effort needed should increase. But rather than prepare myself for it, I instead decided to explore my freedom of being in university; that is, picking up more things to do.

 

One of the obvious things that made this semester hard was paid work. Even though my Saturday job is only on that one day of the week, it somehow manages to completely pull apart my day. 8 hours of continuous work is somewhat quite tiring even though, I admit, I don’t actively work the full 8 hours. After work comes an hour of badminton; and at the end of all that, I’m just completely exhausted and can’t get any work done. So my entire Saturday becomes unproductive, except whatever uni work I manage to get done at work, which sometimes is a good enough compensation.

 

And as I had originally wanted, my Saturday job is not the only form of paid work that I have. Of course, I’m talking about tutoring. But within my harsh schedule each week, I wonder if it’s possible for me to go beyond teaching two year 11 students for a total of two and a half hours each week. And that comes with its own preparation time, which sadly I have not invested much on. But yeah, this was what I wanted, to tutor (and teach maths); and all in all I am getting what I need, aka money. Income has been very comfortable as a result of these two factors.

 

I would never have believed that this semester would see me utilising my free hours for something productive, but not study-wise. Of the five free hours I had during my week at university, one of them is devoted to high school friends while the other four have been put into helping out and participating in CBS activities. All of those hours have been productive in their respective ways and I’m happy for that. My only concern about those hours I spend for CBS is that it may require more effort in the future. Thinking short term, there would be a fair chance that my services will be needed for more CBS activities. It’s certainly not that I don’t want to serve God on my university campus; but when juxtaposed with all the other duties and commitments that I have, the toll begins to build up.

 

Youth group has been an ongoing thing since the start of last year and the effort for that slowly begins to pick up. Our church will constantly require more and more effort as it continues to grow; and being put as leaders in this position of service, we’re going to need to put more and more effort as the church grows, so that the church can be built up. Not such a scary thing, it’s something we all want of course. We know that it’s good. And yet again this adds to the toll of having so many things going on at once.

 

And finally can I now talk about university work. The work load had indeed picked up. This will definitely be my worst semester, mark-wise. There is a chance I’ll actually fail some of my courses, which is a very disturbing thought considering where I’ve come from, a place where 100% is a mark that is far from impossible to achieve, and failure is not an option. I can at least prepare myself for next semester, since all of these things that have happened this semester only began this semester. Hopefully six months is enough time to break into my new routine.

 

But at the everything, I would say this has been a very busy semester; very productive and challenging at the same time. It certainly does foreshadow what may be coming up next semester. Having been through everything now, I hopefully will be more prepared next semester.

Time Out

Finally, the mid-sem break has come and I finally feel a bit more relaxed from the never-ending wave of math homework and youth group activities. Let’s take a trip back to some of the things that’s just passed and are about to come.

 

Camera

Well it took a long time but I finally got my camera fixed. I’ll rant a bit about this because there were a few things that I was not satisfied with. First off it took them a whole month or more to fix my camera. Are you serious? Slow much? I went in like on the Thursday just before uni started, so like the end of February. They told me that they would call me back the next Monday, ie March 1st. I thought that my camera would be ready by then, which would be amazing. But even if not surely by then they would tell me to wait another week or so? There was no word from them for a couple of weeks and I was starting to get annoyed. Initially I just thought that I needed to get my camera back before April, when church camp is; and suddenly halfway through March made me feel a bit anxious about getting it back.

 

So I called them; that is, I “tried” to call them. Nobody answered the phone, which was ridiculous. When I finally got through I asked them, and then they put me on hold for more than 10 minutes just to track down my camera, and ask them how long it would take to fix it; obviously they hadn’t even started by then. I called on a Wednesday, 17th March. They finally said it would take 3-4 days and that they’ll call me back once it was done. Furthermore, it would cost $86 on top of the $55 consultation fee. I already prepared myself to stomach the cost, seeing as I was stupid enough to break my camera in the first place. The fee was a bit ridiculous though if you think about it, but far better than buying a new camera.

 

I called them back next Tuesday. Same deal, had trouble getting through to them on the phone, had to wait 5 minutes for them to find my camera and tell me it was fixed. I told them to freaking call me didn’t I? Geez, absolutely pathetic. So I popped down to Granville on the Thursday, so last Thursday. And had to stand in line for 15 minutes to get my camera; there was ONE person in front of me. I’m starting to see just how pathetic some customer service people are. And funnily enough the man on duty was the same one I had tried to call on 3 occasions, who had put me on hold for a total of 15 minutes, and was about to waste a grand total of 30 minutes of my life. There is no need to second-guess the ethnicity of this man; make a few logical links and you’ll see how this reflects on my article about discrimination.

 

Anyway there was ONE man in front of me who’s SIM card was stuffed up and the man (slowly) helped him to see what the problem was. Phone calls came in over the next 15 minutes, he didn’t answer them; which explains what happened to my calls. Both of them didn’t know what to do. And at the end of 15 minutes they reached the conclusion that there was NOTHING wrong with the phone, but with the SIM card *palm face*. Finally picked up my camera and left, grumbling but accepting that it’s probably better if “these” people were left with the low demand jobs, put the inefficient people in the dead end jobs and keep the prime of the flock in the important roles, aka the “Low-Hanging Fruit Principle”.

 

The train ride back was scary because it was about the end of school time, and the kids that come from the west are…scary. It was an exact re-creation of the typical “hood” in America, where the black kids wander the streets with a giant stereo system pumping music; only this was on a FailRail train. Those kids ran back and forth inside the carriage, yelling, screaming, pumping R&B, acting exactly like their American hooligan counterparts. It was a scary train ride that’s all I can say.

 

 

RICE ‘10

It’s back on again this year, as if it would ever disappear. My only comment at this time about RICE is that I’m completely thumbs up at the new leaders’ meeting HQ for the first three prime meetings: Burwood Presbyterian. Yes it’s a bit far from home still, and yes it’s after a long day at uni once again but this year there shouldn’t be much fear of being killed on the streets of Redfern at 10:30 at night. Those three meetings were scary, having to walk all the way back from Moore College to Redfern station. I never came across anybody which was okay, but then again things might’ve turned out heaps differently. Burwood Presbyterian is heaps close to the station, which will definitely make getting home all that much easier!

 

I’m excited about this year’s RICE because I’ve gotten to know the other leaders there and because I’ve done the leading thing once already from last year.

 

 

Church Camp

We’re having church camp at the end of this mid-sem break, which coincides with the first week of holidays for the high schoolers. I’m somewhat ashamed that each our camp falls so short of other camps such as next gen or MYC, primarily because those camps are 5 days, or 4.5 to be exact, compared to our camp of 3 days, or to be precise, 1.75 days. How is a 3 day camp that short? Simple. Start on a Friday night, end at Sunday lunch.

 

I’m not so enthusiastic about our church camp anymore, a short camp is never fun. And you end up missing camp, not because of the tighter friendships you built up there, but because the camp is so short that it’s over before it even started. Of course long story short there are reasons why our camp can’t run for longer, such as lack of public holidays and that adults have to work. But if we take the “me” out of camp then the focus of camp now is the youth whom we are serving. Even if this camp will be dodge for me, I still have next gen, MYC and NTE coming up to re-kindle my flame. But as for the youth, this camp is relatively important for them.

 

It seems I’ll have to redouble my efforts for this camp to make it as enjoyable as possible for the youth; being a youth leader is hard work, especially when it requires picking up the slack from other people. But we all know I was never the fan of picking up slack back in the days of Soul Purpose; didn’t change the fact that I had to do it. However, in saying so about how difficult a task seems to be, I really would need the encouragement to continue serving faithfully and whole-heartedly.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I think I’ll leave it here for now. Heaps of work to do over this mid-sem break, that is, catching up with all the work I’ve slacked off from. A lot of *face palm*ing to do in regards to a few upcoming things and then there’s some Starcraft II to be had. Last night I watched Police Story again, such an epic movie; honestly beats all of Jackie Chan’s Western movies.

 

Before I go, I think I’ll leave my song for the moment. This is from a guy group called “BEAST”, from whom I’ll have to download more of their stuff. This is track 4 from their new mini album “Shock of the New Era”, called “Take Care of my Girlfriend (Say No)”. It sounds half like Jason Derulo’s Watcha Say, and something else. Help me figure out what that something else is 😛

 

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.

 

FINS1613

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.

 

MATH2111

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.

 

Tuesday

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.

 

ACTL2001

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.

 

MATH2901

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!

MYC Day One – Monday

Hey guys, relatively tired at the moment but because I was smart (or foolish) enough to bring my laptop to camp; who knows I think it might come in handy. Anyway there is no Internet at Merroo so I’ll type it up and then I’ll post it when I come back; still I’d have a pretty big job blogging all this up if I start when I get back so I’ll opt to type everything up now, but then also forego my sleep; oh well.

  Continue reading

Semester 1 Final Exams (Part III)

And six days after the previous exam, I come face to face with the last one for this semester. And just like in the HSC it happened to be the hardest exam, the “legendary” Actuarial Mathematics exam. It reminds me of the 4U maths course last year, it was a fairly rushed course and was exceptionally hard; well the HSC exam was anyway.

 

I would never have figured that it was be extremely hard studying for this exam. Actually I don’t really know what was wrong with me; I found that I couldn’t do even half of last year’s paper, this was right after the Microeconomics exam, when I had do no proper revision yet; and somehow as the days progressed, I seemed to be making little improvement. I turn to a new past paper and there was another quarter of the paper where i didn’t know how to solve the problems. I think that these last six days have been my most stressful ever; I lacked a lot of confidence since my estimated performance was reflected in how much I could do of the past papers and so I was extremely worried.

 

It was only recently that I discovered that other people were having just as much trouble and that eased my mind a bit; I had hoped there would be major scaling from the raw mark of the exam, just as they had done in the HSC. Hopefully this is still the case here.

 

Exam 4: MATH1151

Course: Mathematics for Actuarial Studies and Finance

 

This is the big one, the past papers were so hard I thought that I should just concede with doing about three-quarters of the paper and just hopefully scaling would produce and exceptionally high mark for me still. This is supposedly my best subject and if I were not to get a really high mark, it would cut down on my self-esteem.

 

Lots of people were worrying prior to the exam as well; I could hear them. And for once I was actually cramming hard right before an exam, something I normally would never do; I was actually quite into it, only affording to look at my watch every few minutes to see how close the exam was. When at last the exam was finally to start, knowing that everyone had the same thoughts as I did made me feel a little bit better. I know that’s wrong but in terms of relativity it’s a fair thought to have.

 

The paper was two hours long and this time I was careful not to underestimate it like for Discrete Mathematics. Given only four questions the paper doesn’t seem entire hard. Most of the past papers had a different course layout so their final exam back then was three hours; shame I never actually timed myself for any of them so I couldn’t really estimate how long it would take me to finish today’s paper.

 

The funny thing was that I found today’s paper rather easy, compared to previous years, as did many of my friends. This was a bit of a relief for me; and judging on my performance for this exam, I might not even need and scaling; that would be nice. Of course there were a few questions I couldn’t do; I gave it a shot and conceded after a while in favour of moving forward in the paper so I know I’ve lost marks here and there, but at least it won’t be as serious as missing half the paper.

 

I finished exactly when time was up and I was really glad I had a shot at every question and that I had just enough time to do as much as I could; I managed to do the last question and that constitutes doing the whole paper, even though any extra time I had could’ve been utilised for those questions that I didn’t manage to completely finish. Hopefully I’ll still get a relatively high mark. I didn’t count how many questions I didn’t properly finish but things should be alright I hope.

 

And that’s it, I had finally finished the first semester of university. Gonna work out ways of making the next one easier to study for.

Semester 1 Final Exams (Part II)

With less than one day’s rest on Tuesday, my third exam came very promptly on Wednesday, again in the morning; and again at that ridiculously early time of 8:45am. Wednesday proved to be a fairly gloomy day, as opposed to all the sun since last week; it threatened to rain since the morning, and that just simply lowers my mood for the day.

 

I wondered if there was going to be another cram session on the train like on Monday. I was trying to get Sarah to cram with us; but she didn’t get my message in time and caught an earlier train; I saw that train enter Penno station and leave it. I was too lazy to rush and catch it because it wasn’t really the one I was aiming to get on anyway. I met Isabella instead; and during our conversation when she realized that she forgot her ruler; she phoned up Jess (who still hadn’t left her house (!!) ) and managed to scab a ruler off her.

 

Nat got on at Beecroft, Jess got on at Cheltenham and Charmaine got on at Epping; by that time we had accidentally ran out of seats for her. We were trying to secure those 5-seat sections on the top level; but we were a tad slow and some Asian guy playing his DS was already there; we took it anyway, but we couldn’t make enough room so Charmaine sat by herself at the other end of the car.

 

Anyway we crammed just as much as Monday; got a lot done; were the loudest on the train as usual. And as usual we got to the racecourse slightly early albeit the rain which made traffic a bit slower; and walking to the venue a bit more annoying. Lucky I brought an umbrella today because it was pouring like later on. I had a bit of trouble finding my examination room; especially when I’m really blind and cannot read the signs. Still my picture memory helped a bit and I soon made it to my Yum-Cha-restaurant-like exam room on time.

 

 

Exam 3: ECON1101

Course: Microeconomics 1

 

This was a 2-hour exam, featuring 20 multiple choice questions and two 20-mark response questions which we had to pick out of four choices. I already had a fear from the multiple-choice questions in the mid-semester exam, because I got 6 of 20 wrong and that really does cut down on marks. So I was particularly scared for today’s exam, also because I procrastinated a lot on Tuesday, which I tried to leave as my final tuning-up day for this exam. Guess it didn’t work out too well huh?

 

I know I’ve got one or two wrong in it, I guess that can’t be helped. And the worst thing about that is that each multiple-choice question was worth 1.25 marks; that is annoying. The exam was worth 65% of our final mark; and if you count it up now, the paper was out of 65 marks; a bit slack to make multiple-choice questions worth a bit more than they stereotypically are worth.

 

The extended response sections weren’t as bad as I expected although if I count up the marks I’ve lost, then it really does make my performance look really bad. The questions weren’t too hard in this section, but it is questionable what the marking criteria is for these questions, how much to write for 4 marks, etc. But of course diagrams are part of the answer so surely my pictures will help make up for the seeming “lack” of writing I gave as answers.

 

The fourth option question was split into three smaller questions; worth 8, 8 and 4 marks respectively. Now that is scary, having an 8-mark question, for which I only wrote like one page T.T” Hopefully I’ll lose at most one mark for each question, hopefully no more than that. But the option questions I picked were the ones I felt I could do best; so with that rigged mark allocation in the last one, I didn’t really have much of a choice.

 

I finished the exam with a few minutes to spare, willing to go through my answers slowly, and seeing if I had made any mistakes; I honestly don’t know what I’ve done wrong still so it’s all a compete guess for me. I might  not get distinction for this course, which does leave a hole in my desires to do well in every subject. But then again, I didn’t pick Microeconomics so doing bad in it is alright. Somehow I feel they’re going to mark our papers just like in Chemistry, with dodgy marking criteria where they ;look for specific keywords and that’s it; I hate that system so much.

 

 

Aftermath

Well after the exam we all proceeded to go home or chill out with each other. But first we had to catch a bus back to Central, which proved to be the biggest pain ever, and the rain making things worse. In fact the rain made everything completely horrible, because few people brought umbrellas so we all had to share. And then the buses were coming so slowly that we were all crowded in the same area; and it was cold, and eventually we made it to the head of the bus stop where we were forced to stand really close to the curb, and the rain made huge puddles build up close to the curb; and then trucks would come along in the lane closest to use, and the tires would whoosh in those huge puddles of water and…

 

Yeah; that’s how bad it was; I got soaked pretty thoroughly; had to shove my iPod and mobile back into my bad for fear of short-circuiting from the rain. Still we did have a bit of fun using umbrellas as shields to block off the “waves” released by passing trucks; it didn’t help much but we all had good laughs watching each other (or me) get soaked. I was really glad when the bus finally came; after 45 minutes oh my gosh! I was freezing cold by then since water had seeped through my clothing and the wind chilled my body completely; might’ve caught a cold who knows?

 

We went to Charlie’s house in the afternoon to play poker; that was nice. Oh and before we went to Parra Westfield for lunch; saw a few year 12s from our school, because we saw their jerseys, which had “B.H.H.S” writing in large white letters like at the bottom front part of the jersey. They look so ugly this year; they were a darker colour, just like James Ruse; man if it wasn’t for our school’s insignia or the huge initials, you might’ve thought that they were from James Ruse. Well I give a sigh at how pathetic the jerseys are this year; I feel mightily sorry for the grade below us, who had to pay good money for something that seemed to be designed by some of our noob English staff (they actually approved the design as well?!)

 

Well that’s my Wednesday; six more days till my last exam, and it’s the hardest one as well; all in good timing, leaving the best till last. Time to super cram now!

Semester 1 Final Exams (Part I)

Well here we are, at the end of our first semester of university and sadly they are going to come with a whopping huge test every single time; we’ll learn to get used to such a fast-paced course. I think I’ve studied moderately well for each of my four subjects, considering how much interest I have in each of them. I still keep wondering what mark I should be aiming for, whether I should try for 100% like I normally do; or just be content with an average mark like a majority of people. I still feel like “nerding” up and it does make it hard to talk to people who have the whole “Oh my gosh I am literally going to fail!” thing to say. I can’t say I’m even close to failing, and I can’t say I’m close enough for a 95%+ mark, but there is so much room in between.

 

Nevertheless a mark is a mark, and it’s what you feel about it yourself that matters. My first day of exams was Monday; and as a worst case scenario, I had two exams; morning and afternoon. Think back to the HSC and you’ll see just how stressful it was to have two exams on the same day, because in truth that’s a total of 5 examination hours for the day; and that takes heaps of energy right?

 

Anyway, on Monday I set my alarm to 6am, the earliest I’ve had to wake in a week; and my body was certainly not ready to take on such punishment so soon. I rushed to make breakfast and pack everything; all without my mum’s help (because she’s still in Hong Kong) and I was nearly late for my train. My first issue was not knowing how to get to my examination venue, Randwick Racecourse. I know it’s next to our uni but then you can’t really just walk through uni to get there, there had to be a special bus; luckily I managed to find out in time haha.

 

Bad omen for the morning was that I forgot where my second was; and only later realizing it was back at uni, forgot that I needed to find a way back from the racecourse to uni. Some good luck that came was meeting up with Jess, Nat, Isabella and Charmaine on the train and having a half-intense cram session; we were by far the loudest in our car, but it was certainly justified. We sort of got a lot of stuff learned; poor Nat just moped the entire way with her pessimistic “I’m so screwed” attitude.

 

Our exam was to start at 8:45am, that is so early and we also had to make sure we got there on time; that meant catching an earlier train and getting on the bus as soon as we could. The bus that we wanted to get to the racecourse was really packed; we had to stand around for a while before we could actually get a bus, which sucked a bit.

 

We managed to get to the racecourse moderately early but we still had a good 10+ minutes to find our friends and have a last minute encouragement.

 

 

Exam 1: ACCT1501

Course: Accounting & Financial Management 1A

 

Randwick Racecourse was a fairly large venue, but luckily all the exams were held roughly in the same vicinity, just buildings, like the “Tea House” which was easily marked by the toilets on the side haha! We were in the pavilion, it was a fairly huge room; not bad for an exam to be held.

 

The exam was three hours in length, I wasn’t sure if we needed that much time, but if we did, I knew I had to take it slow. Main reason was that I had to play conservatively so that I would still have enough mental energy for my second exam today; I learned from my mistake during the trials, when I fully died for Chemistry in the afternoon and got 67% for it. So here it was smart to sacrifice a few marks if they were just too hard to achieve.

 

The exam consisted of 5 questions on five different topics, all divided into small sections, and then 30 multiple choice questions. Having said that, I had a look at the past papers from several years back and they looked really scary; so scary I felt like I would’ve failed if our final exam this year was just like it. Luckily it was not, the exam was moderately easy compared to what I expected and so I went through it. I messed up one question because I obviously didn’t know it; a lot of people did, it was on like the last thing we learned so fair enough; also fair that they would’ve asked a question on it.

 

Basically we had to give our answers mostly through calculations or just writing journal entries, there were 3 short response questions for one chunk of he exam but other than that everything else was short answer or calculations. The multiple-choice questions were about the same as the mid-session ones, same old tricks; same pathetic “non of the above” answers. I really despise those options because they are meant to be obviously wrong. And yet we realised that three of our answers was exactly “none of the above”, who would’ve thought that they were serious about putting that option in?

 

I walked out of the exam a 2 hours in, didn’t really check over my answers too in-depth;  wanted to conserve energy so I just closed my mind and walked out of the exam room; that gave me one-hour to chill, with nobody, although some other people were also waiting outside; finishing their exams early. I studied for my second exam for a while until I got tired. I think I did well for accounting; I can estimate how many marks I’ll lose; hopefully I’ll still be in the High Distinction range; and don’t say it’s a high ambition, I just know that I can achieve it, and that’s why I try to.

 

 

Exam 2: MATH1081

Course: Discrete Mathematics

 

After the exam I found Yitian and a few other people who were doing Discrete Maths and we walked back to uni; luckily I asked Victor and Ben, otherwise…well…nevermind; nothing ultra-bad could’ve happened right? We had lunch and after revising a bit, our 1 hour 45 minute break passed by in a flash.

 

We were privileged to have our Discrete Maths exam in the beautiful Scientia building; the bad thing was that the chairs and tables were dodgy so that balances everything out. Oh and I forgot; about calculators, we needed to have them approved by the university first; just asking some people to slap on a simple sticker that said: “UNSW Approved”. What purpose does that serve? Couldn’t we just slap that sticker onto another calculator for “cheating”? If that even is possible? Also we were fairly confident that we weren’t allowed calculators in this exam, the website said so and yet when we asked the guys guarding the entrance they said okay.

 

The Discrete Maths paper is two hours long, consisting of four huge questions split into a few smaller ones. I have to admit I got stumped by a few questions and after discussing with people afterwards, I realised that I made a lot of stupid mistakes, as expected. This will hurt my final mark a bit; I’ll be lucky to still be in the 90%+ range; hopefully I will be. I guess I under-estimated how hard the paper would be; after all, this course is so much easier than Actuarial Maths; and I’ve been so overly confident that I’ve skipped a fair number of lectures; guess I was wrong huh?

 

But even so, I sort of realise now that Mathematics is a fairly large subject, and it can be divided into various “concentrations” such as Algebra and Calculus. But Discrete Maths is like the study of random maths things which you can’t really apply for anything else. Like you learn simple Algebra in year 7 and you use those concepts up to year 12, like that. With Discrete Maths, I’m not sure you can take the concepts we learned and apply them elsewhere. We learned stuff like “Counting – Permutations/Combinations” again and then we played with weird things like “Graphs” which are a bunch of lines and dots; quite a strange course really.

 

But all in all I think I was fairly alert for this exam, trying to conserve energy since accounting, maybe my performance was still hindered by my fatigue from earlier today; but oh well; what’s done is done and I felt like I did the exam all right.

 

It is still kind of annoying to have two exams on our first exam day for university; never would’ve expected such pressure to come so soon. But now that’s half my exams done, that’s something to be proud about.