Thursday, April 15, 2010

What can 6.8% do?

Today will be my last day in this semester of missing Hall Dinner due to late class (start to treasure hall food), the tutorial ends at 9 o’clock! As the time keeper, I nearly dozed off and forgot to time the presenter, but luckily my friend reminded me, haha! Anyway, now is the official start of Reading Week – a process to go towards Final Exam, YAY! So, before it started, I would like to announce something over here :)

I tracked back part of my sent mail to find some still-there mail. In total, I had sent 44 emails to asked for a UROPs project. Out of these, 2 asked for my CV, around 5 was out of office, 5 asked me to meet in office and said no, and several other that said no on emails or said their lab is full. I am quite relief the emails haven’t reach 100s or I will be totally hurt (:D). Anyway, Out of these emails, one met me and let me had a lab tour with some lab session chat and there were 2 which asked me to meet in office and actually gave me something to do! So, current data for a single data, for a very low CAP, your success rate in applying research opportunity is 6.8%, not bad huh? Maybe it will change once the data size is increased.

Story No. 1: An Associate Professor who chat with me in her office. The first of two professors who talked to me without an office table in between. She asked about my interest and why I wanted to apply for such opportunities. As usual, I said I had been interested in these things since first year – and I wanted to be a scientist since 10 years old (whoof – I din say the 10 yrs old thing, of coz). She asked about my result, I admit :) She asked why am I struggling in study. My reply is I had been too stubborn in taking things I like rather than things I can score better. I failed to follow the reality, see, as usual. Besides that, maybe I didn’t really suit in yet. Then she asked why I like to do research. I said, because I liked to do experiment in school and wished to bring that to another level. But I know research is not school experiment. Before I really go out to the world of research, I wish to learn more, to see how is it like to do research. In school, experiments are meant to be succeed, we have manuals, we have TAs, we have everything from head to tail, to ensure at least we go as close as the result desired. But in research, there are uncertainties, there is where the challenge and fun came by. You get to fail. I want to do an experiment that might fail, something that is not sure and no one knows the answer. (Sounds like reality? Yes, I think I am a grown up in this sense). She asked me what would I propose. So, I told her my plan. She commented me as optimist (have no idea is it good or bad) and asked me to wait for 2-3 weeks. I returned 2 weeks later, to find out her graduate student and her decided to accept me as a helper over the vacation. I will start from low ( a price to pay if you are not scoring well in terms of numbers in CAP). But imagine, I am doing part of her research. She say, whether i learn much will depend on how fast I learn and proceed. Guess, this is some sort of challenge, woohoo!

Story No. 2: An Assistant Professor. Asked me to talk to his lab fellow, a fresh phD whom is so young and small that I first thought her as a lab assistant (shame on me when she say I AM *someone you looking for*). She taught me about things they did in lab, what they do, why they do, and how they do. She provide any piece of info in very simple ways. She brought me around the lab to see the machines and explained their functions. She even offered me to visit TLL, but I got class – sad. Then after that I meet the Assistant Professor. Second of the two professors who talked to me without a table in between. A different chat. Something more of his opinion about research world and how life is (I listen). He has to say sorry because of NUS policy but would like to welcome me to email him again once my CAP achieve the magic number.

Story No. 3: A Professor. Emailed him and get a reply to meet him either few hours later or after May. Because of lunch and welfare pack, I took the ‘few hours later’ chance.  The first thing I asked in his lab is whether I need to handle snake. He said, no, mainly proteins and venoms, unless I want to follow them when they catch snake then i may follow. He said, no worries, the only snake in his office is this *pats a puppet snake on his desk*. Then I noticed there was this preserved python in a bottle behind him *hmph*. He asked my motivation and why I wanted to get a UROPs project. I answered my experiences and my interest in research. Then I said, but my result is very bad, many asked me to concentrate on study and do research after that. His reply will be a legend to me forever, “ That idea, is for students who are still 18/19 years old. You are already year 2, no time to wait, you wanna do research, now is the time. If you wanna wait to care your study, pull up CAP, then only you do research, by that time – you are already missing a lot. Now the real problem is – whether you are keen in doing this?!” I was nearly stunned. This is the first time I stoned after being asked an easy question. I mumbled YES. Then he say, then it will be a yes from me too. *can’t breath!* And he started to continue our discussion about what the project is and how the whole thing is conduct. And yeps, this is my first ever offer for a UROPS project!

Can’t say too much coz those are my personal experience, just a summary will do, haha!

Anyway, if I would like to say one similarity between these 3 person, it will be something very similar to me. THEY HAVE EXTREMELY MESSY TABLES AND ROOM. There were papers piling up, files here and there, notes and photos clipped randomly around. That’s the thing I found quite curiously coincident. I am trying to learn neat-ing my room – so, yes, will be a neater person soon :D


Chean said...

Congrats Mafer! Very happy for you! :D I admire your determination! :)

Mafer said...

Haha... Thanks!

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