Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Officially Ending the Semester


As what I had been doing all the semesters before this, I am going to end the semester (academic aspects) officially with the usual tradition. This semester, the deadlines and tests seemed to be lesser than semesters when I have language, this tells us something, no? But this semester, I am taking five modules with a UROPS project. Here, I would like to write down roughly about each module as a review and a record of the memory. Okay, let’s start here:

LSM3211 Fundamental Pharmacology

This module is truly the one that is testing my limit. Not that I’m really that bad at remembering things but my remembering system is not the same as others. I remember things that I prefer. And in this module, I am expected to remember everything. Well, this is FUNDAMENTAL pharmacology, but the nature, as I find out, was not the one that I expected. I understand the memorizing thing and I am actually excited in knowing all the drugs and their mechanism. I actually liked the part most when we started to learn the drugs according to diseases and disorders. However, the final exam did failed me as they were asking mostly things that you need to regurgitate out right from the notes not something you think. This very aspect, did disgust me as I really don’t like this kind of exam. I wish I can pass the module but I am sure I don’t like this type of knowledge-learning process and is regarded by me as a very low standard of learning (although I might say I am not good at this at all).

LSM3212  Human Physiology: Cardiopulmonary System

I find this module quite interesting with all the practical and applications. In between, I had been very careless over the quizzes. I do think the classes were interesting although they might look simple. Yes, I enjoy seeing all the things reassemble themselves into place, and that’s the wonder of human body! This module has actually reminded me how I was thinking how to robotize things when I was young. (alright, shall not deviate to much from the topic) Some of the lecturers are really good at inducing thinking inside me, I daresay, which is why I like the way I learn them. At least, when I am learning this module, I don’t feel like I’m not thinking. Rire 

LSM3232 Microbiology

Oh, this module is a result of my increasing interest in the micro-world, especially since Experimental Microbiology I took last year. The content is good and acceptable although they might seem to be repeating something but that’s because not everyone took experimental microbiology. Not that I am good or bad at it, but the knowledge I learned from it is really both cool and useful. However, this year, I was actually a bit disappointed when I was assigned to a bench with a TA not really expected. Compared to experimental microbiology, this year’s group is more dependant on TAs and everything. I still remember how the group got bombarded with ‘bombs’ when we started to ask some question that we should have find out ourselves in experimental microbiology’s first practical. After that very session, all of us will always come to practical session with a manual full with our own notes and extras. This is the very difference from this year’s. However, the practical are still acceptable as I understand the TA is actually struggling to learn as well, since she is from virology and might have forgotten a lot of things along the years. Overall, this module is quite okay.

EU1101E Making of Modern Europe

What should I say about this module? Hmm, this is truly a big step from my past – seriously. (I will leave that in another post, thanks) This module is very interesting – and when I say very interesting, the tone is VERY INTERESTING! I get to learn the European History from the old order till Cold War. Due to the very long-stretched period covered in one semester, the content is rather compact but if we were to look into detail, what we learned would have been a speck from a sea of mimosa! But since it is an exposure module, I think the module had been doing really well in exposing us to the world of European History. In fact, my interest towards European History did not diminish but augmented over the period of time. In this module, I get to join in groups to finish a task: a simulation for Congress of Vienna 1815. Some tutorial groups were doing Treaty of Versailles 1918. I had been hesitating which tutorial class to take as my initial interest on European History was actually more on Hitler and Nazism. But it seems that this decision exposed me to the opportunity to try something other than my own interest and I LIKE IT! We get to write a brief for the simulation in which the joy of working with a group is mingled with some difficulties. I was quite worried at first as I am, by nature, a person who preferred to be myself. When I enter a tutorial or class, I will choose the one at the corner, and I really don’t appreciate a full chatters of people. But this module somehow made me adapt to it, at least during this course. I enjoyed having the bunch of group mates and they had been great teachers to me, in terms of their spirit and will, truly! Besides, I have got two really dedicated lecturers cum tutor. Seriously, of all these years in NUS, they are one of the few that I met and is really a gift if compared to science faculty. What can I say? I think maybe Science teachers were showing their passion in other way. Hmph, yes, if the teacher who gave me a dream as a Scientist when I was 10 years old is a special person who gave me the key to become a Scientist; then, these two lecturers, can qualify as the key person who led me over a big stepping stone into the world of History. In another terms, it means, they have actually scored a certain level of importance in my lifetime, seriously…

EU3212 Europe of Dictators

This module came to me not as easy as anybody else, I must admit. First of all, I was not even allowed to take this module! I have to make appeals, send emails and I think things started to show some miracle when I entered my first lecture for EU1101E. I was actually still not taken into this class when the school starts and just before the lecturer turned off his computer, his ivle showed EU3212 listed under his course list! Something clicked and all I can do is to run down to ask this lecturer whom I have no idea who he is! But I am very sure I wanted to take this module at that time that I sort of think if I missed this chance to ask, the office might have forgotten about my appeal and I will have to linger to some other course that I have no interest in! In fact, taking a level 3000 European Studies module was not my initial plan as this what the students called ‘suicide’. I like the course as I read the description but it was always at my back up list until I realized that French for Academic Purposes (a module which is an exclusion for French 4) is not counted as a requirement for an EU minor when FAP is actually teaching more than French 4, crazy, ain’t it?! And I need a level 3000 to fulfil my minor which turned the arrow back as I SU-ed my French 3. Putting interest with getting a minor is always not my primary choice, but seeing that I have done half of the requirement, I think this is the time when you say fate calls upon. I reckon this is the best reason, or rather – an excuse, to take this module. At least, I have an excuse when people were calling me crazy (not that I care since I was labelled like that since young). But yes, as I say earlier, I am somehow interested in this part of the history. You can say I’m evil – but I AM EVIL! Okay, back to the topic, the module is very very VERY interesting and it’s what I wanted to learn! So, passion towards the subject is a definite in this class. Though, it was not easy to cope in a class with a majority of History and Political Sciences Majors… It is not only a psychological threat but also a reality. Given my standard of knowledge (only one chapter of European History in SPM which I managed to scrap only a C5) and poor English standard, I am very clear where I am standing in the class. First of all, I was quite miserable at first with all that are taught in class. I have to thank all the readings and textbooks that cleared most of the doubts and also truly – Wikipedia, which served as most of my background reading due to my meagre knowledge on European History. Along the course, things started to get better as I slowly catch up the pace. Other than that, I am very lucky to have Jan inside the class. Being an ex-hallmate, I would say we were not really close buddies (this comes to me that I don’t really have close buddies) but when I found a familiar face among those 48 students, it’s no doubt a surprise! And I guess that’s why I did not sit at a corner in class. She helped me a lot and I am really touched by that (Oh God, what happened to me? I am supposed to be cold-blooded and the evil Dark Lord!). Anyway, yes, the course talked about main dictatorships in Europe in the early 20th century. And throughout the course, we were to submit two document analysis which we will need to choose out of five each time on some scanned pages. I tried my best on it and learned a lot of things from that. I feel honoured to be given such a chance, really! Another thing will be the teacher. Yes, the teacher is actually that teacher which I mentioned where I rushed down a LT just to ask if I can enter this class. No doubt, he’s a good teacher and had been really a big help throughout the course. This teacher actually made me wondered why is there such a big difference between Arts and Science teachers. But no offence, he’s a good teacher and I salute for any teacher just like him.

Alright, I have been talking too much eh? And I haven’t actually ended! Why? Because when all the other modules ended with final exam papers, there is still one which will be on-going until I complete it with a presentation and a long report next semester, that’s my LSM3288 Advance UROPS Project. Looking at myself, a Life Sciences Student who is concentrating in Biomedical Science, not really doing well and is struggling for a better result while there is a complete NO to continue into the honours years unless miracles happen. And when this is me and I still wish to do something I like, UROPS seems to be one of the choice when it resembles Honours year project in some way. The ultimate reason will be: it’s a research!

LSM3288 Advanced UROPS

Not completed yet. What do I think? Personally, I think there are places and really big space where I can still improve! In truth, I was also not allowed to take this module (wow, I have not been following the natural way huh?). Yes, I got this project by sending over 40+ emails to different professors and several emails to the office for appeals. And I am really lucky to meet this professor who is willing to give me a chance. To think it as a whole, I still have a long way to go. The first month of two, while coping with other courses, I had been really miserable in terms of adjusting my experiment schedule to fit into my academic timetable – and that includes time for my own study. Besides, I have to learn a lot of things in a different manner. Instead, I would rather say I was quite confused when I was treated like a graduate or phD student in terms of co-ordinating my project. My professor must have been so busy that he put a mentor for me. And that mentor was actually so busy that teaching me seemed to be a tedious job for him! Hence I ended up hanging there halfway. How did I get through? Independence. I recollected all the negative feelings and appreciated them to be trusting an undergraduate like me. In turn to continue with these obstacles, I have to start learning things all by myself. Journals, books, the Internet, they became my good friends. And that’s only the theoretical part! In practical, I am subjected to trial-and-error. I have to try times and times and times to figure out where did the mistake came and how to improve it. I have to figure out myself where is the chemical inside the lab while considering if it is viable for the result. When I found some substance is not working normally, I have to risk the label of ‘wasting resources’ by testing each and every of them to find out the key factor and launch a complaint by explaining how did I determine something’s wrong. And without a proper guide, I would say, I learned a lot of things in painful and long way. I truly felt how it feels when everything was so difficultly done and sometimes, one little thing will just blow everything away, within a millisecond. If I were to blame these on someone, there will be millions to be blamed. But, I preferred to put it as a task to be learned. However, this is one of the rare case when I failed so many times, yet I still LIKE them!!! Wait, I didn’t fail, I just found many ways of it not working, haha! Yes, I appreciate the chance I had for this module Sourire.

Okay, I think I have roughly reviewed all the things I had learned this semester. Yes, I will just end it here then. See ya!


Xin Ni Kong said...

Hi senior, thank you for your valuable reviews, truly helped me in my decision making for modules this sem! May I get a copy of your microbiology(LSM3232) lab reports anytime when you're free? my email is Thanks so much!

swityee said...

HI~ may I ask a copy of your LSM3232 report for references? Thank you very much!


Mafer said...

Hi, it has been quite a few years back and I'm afraid I've removed my copy of report. I do think they did change the syllabus too.

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