Friday, 28 March 2014

Look at the world

Time and again, I love to keep this blog as positive as I can, by sharing little things that I have realise in my own life and how it may help others to reflect on their lives, making it better.

Life is not a bed of roses. Small little things that happened in the past few weeks made me realise more things about life. The OTHER side of life.

For a moment, take your time and think about your daily conversations with people. How have they been like? What topics do you talk about amongst friends? Colleagues? With your lecturers? I don't know about you, but from what I've learnt in the past 10+ years of my life. Among friends, we usually talk about happy things, more often than not, 'surface' things. Things that are known to all, academics, celebrities, video games, hobbies and what not.

Adversity is something that we all face as human being. But has these deeper topics ever come up in conversations? How often do you share your problems with a friend, hoping to find some support? I think most of us will only share our pain, difficulties whether in academic, work or relationship matters with a very close friend. Well, that's common sense isn't it? But today, I would like to convey to you not about who you should talk to about your difficulties, I want to ask you sincerely to "Look at the world". :)

Look at the world
When you are struggling within, just fearing of the unknown, what will happen next? or when will this pain end? When will my parents stop arguing? the list goes on and on, and is unique to each and everyone of us, Pause.
And try to see the world beyond yourself, beyond Malaysia, beyond Asia.... Simply look at the world, feel the world. You may not know it, but the very people beside you in class or in the car are very likely to face adversities as well.

When you look at it this way, you can be rest assured, you are not alone. There are people who are suffering, let's say from abuse or family violence, who are still fighting everyday with their own struggles. One day, maybe not today, not next month, not a year from now, these people, from different ethnic background, from various countries in the world, their wounds will heal, they can forgive those who have hurt them, be determined to begin with a positive change, a small step towards what they long for, what they always want to achieve.

One concept and idea that I realised and always believe is this: We all have our own journey of life, it's only once (putting afterlife and rebirth ideas aside). We are bound to face adversities along the way, but when you are stuck in a rut, know that you are not alone, hold on to hope, and slowly work towards what you want, your dreams, your aspirations, your goals, your hopes. Light will always be at the end of the tunnel if you don't give up and seek it.

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all. - Emily Dickinson

That's my view on it. What do you think? Let me know by dropping a comment below. :)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A whole new experience: Assignments in university

Assignments in university really shocked me these days...

Once, I had this assumption that students taking Communications (comm) have an easy time, and hence I underestimated the things they study.  Now that I am taking a sequence subject in Comm / Writing (Wrt), called 'Media Studies', I started to realise the Readings in the Unit Reader aren't easy to digest AT ALL!!

Having a hurdle requirement (ungraded assignment) to submit by this week, and another 3 by next week, I am really having a hard time, NO 1: To digest the amount of Theories and 'alien' Terms like 'Semiotics', 'Structuralism', 'Self', and loads of names in Media Studies assignment, which carries a weightage of 30 PERCENT! And NO 2: Trying my very best to do my very best for Analysis, Research as well as Comprehensiveness for my other 3 units, namely Psychology, Marketing and Journalism, just hoping I can get a good grade.

Being Perfectionistic I guess is not helping in my situation now. So much to read, think, analyse, research and write, but so little time.

I'd been 'fidgeting' with loads of anxiety for around 2 hours now. I just got to get started and get the ball rolling. If not, things are never gonna be done.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Losing MH370 crew and passengers

MH370. Malaysia - Beijing. Boeing 777-200. Malaysian Airlines (MAS) Flight.

All these keywords had captured the world's attention since 8 March 2014, when the plane supposedly heading to Beijing vanished within an hour after departing K.L.

As much as FBI, Malaysian Police, Air Force, aviation analysts, international experts and authorities putting all their efforts day and night in locating the plane, hoping that they may be able to give a definite answer to the fate of the plane as well as the people in it.

Just two days ago, I celebrated a friend's birthday at Sunway Pyramid, a local mall in Bandar Sunway. There, they had boards for customers and visitors to the mall to put up messages and wishes regarding the Flight MH370's disappearance.
I, too put up my wish for the plane to be located as soon as possible, so that the family members to those on board can at least have an answer, good or bad. 

Finally, today there was a definite answer as to what happened to the plane, it was assumed to have  crashed with no survivors. After reading news shared on Facebook from media such as The Malaysian Insider, I felt deeply saddened by the news. 

What will the families feel? How would they cope for weeks, months and perhaps years down the road of life, missing the ones they hold dear in their hearts? Grief, it was a feeling that I myself had experienced before as well. It hurts, so much pain within that sometimes you feel like you can't tell another soul. 

For me, I hope that much support (financial, counselling) provided by Malaysian Government as well as other countries' governments will suffice in helping the families, relatives and friends cope with their tragic loss.  Just having the thought that 239 people perished in this incident is just too depressing. It stirs up much grief in all in the world. I am glad that there is an answer to all of these around 2 weeks after the disappearance of MH370, unlike the disappearance of Air France, AF447 which took 2-3 years to find. 

Here are some of the reports (including video) regarding MH370 updates


Saturday, 22 March 2014

How to turn Wireless Switch on? (For Vaio)

Recently, I had this problem whereby my laptop (Vaio - Intel Core i5) is unable to connect to my home Wi-Fi. The weirdest thing is that I am able to access the Internet at home using my iPad as well as my smartphone.

For a day I was unable to use the Internet to get my assignments going. It kept showing "No available network connections" and also "Please turn on the Wireless Switch" in the Vaio Smart Network box. It was frustrating.

Well, after Googling for a bit, I found out what's wrong.

Somehow, I accidentally off the switch situated near the mouse pad, the place where there're yellow lights -- the Power light as well as the Wireless light. What you got to do is to move the switch from OFF to ON. 

That's it. Simple right?

Hope this helps.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Juggling an Undergraduate Degree Workload and a Part-time Job

3 weeks ago, I embarked on a journey into university, embracing the new beginning.

As I have been teaching music (piano and music theory) to children and young adults on weekends since last year, I continued the PT job this year as well.  Out of the blue, at the beginning of this year, I wanted to take on another teaching role at a music centre near my house, mainly to have an opportunity to teach group classes (not offered at my current academy), and partly to earn more.

Due to my interest in Psychology and to some degree our development as human beings, I was glad and indeed thank God when I received 2 new students who are slightly more active than their peers.  I love to challenge myself in ways where I can help those in need, in whatever way I can. Teaching gives me satisfaction in its unimaginable ways. It makes me feel useful to be able to impart knowledge to my fellow children.

Perhaps I did not realize the amount of effort and initiative we as Undergrad students need to put in for each subject that we have in the semester, I joined many clubs such as Yoga, Toastmasters, CF, Psychology network and Radio Monash.  I thought it wasn't a lot, until my acquaintance told me she is only going to join 1 club.

Just yesterday, I got a call from my new music school that I intend to work in, saying that there are available group classes ready for me to take over. I panicked as I did not know whether to say 'yes' or 'no'. Hence I told the admin I am going to call him back.


I prayed during CF, hoping God will answer my prayer and put an answer to my heart and guide me on how to respond. I also decided to really sit down and write down the current workload I have for assignments, lectures and tutorials, the extra-curricular activities, my Teaching hours and finally the free time I have in my hands. I assume I have 14 active hours per day, from 9am - 11pm.

Recalling how I did last year in college while juggling with my teaching on weekends, I notice I wasn't able to fully have some time to rest, do the things I like and so on. My time management side for study and doing assignments was also not effective. Though I manage to submit all my assignments on time, it was always rushing and burning the midnight oil. I also got more stressed with the work because my whole Sunday every week is set aside for teaching.

I was surprised I even pull through the whole year doing a PT job. I got an average ATAR, closing most prestigious universities' doors overseas, but opened doors for Monash University in Malaysia, my home country.

What now?

Now, as I am in a dilemma as to whether or not to take up the group classes, I am torn between my interest to teach Group classes (especially) rather than individual classes, and my degree, my academics. 

I decided to think about my priorities. What is important to me? Does not taking up the group classes make your life miserable? Is it worth my time and effort to travel to and fro for just my interest in trying out to teach group music class? Would I benefit better if I spend more time socializing with batch mates, study, join clubs and societies? Why the rush to earn money when you don't actually
need them to further your study? FAMA (father, mother) scholarship provides them all! I do not need to worry at all.

Taking up the Job - Pros and Cons

1) Satisfy my dream / desire to teach children in groups
2) Increase self worth, self esteem, self value
3) Earn more money
4) Being able to watch students grow

1) Transport, fuel, time
2) Parking 
3) Risk the possibilities of unable to complete assignments / always doing it last minute
4) Lose direction or focus along the months / years (Is my main aim to study and graduate with a degree or teaching kids which is an unnecessary thing?) 

Time waits for no man (including women). Is the additional PT job really needed now when you will have 30-40 years ahead down the working life? Why not enjoy uni life?

Will post here when I finally made a decision. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Too perfectionistic, too careless, too late

Today is the deadline for PSY1011's Quiz 1 on Personality 1 on Moodle. I thought the deadline was 17th March 2014, Monday at 4pm. So, I thought I might study thoroughly before I attempt the test.

Well, because of me being too 'kiasu' and perfectionistic, i decided to study the Textbook during lunch so that I can do well in it.

I studied till 2pm and thought i might attempt the test. Out of astonishment, a friend told me it's closed as 4pm is not Malaysian time, it is Australian time!!

I was like WTF!! (Pardon my language)

I was devastated as i know i would have done well if I attempt the test now.

Luckily, there is a total of 10 quizzes of 3% value each that we need to attempt this semester.

Still, i am really angry with myself and disappointed on myself..

Got to do well in all other tests then..

It's too perfectionistic and too careless of me to overlook the 1pm thing.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

O week Part 4: Transition to University & Assertive Skills workshop (3rd day)

Read the previous part of O week: Part 3 here.

Here is the final part of my university orientation week, O-week. 

It was a 2 hours workshop from 2pm-4pm at Rooms 6203 and 6203 located in Building 6, Level 3.

I went with an expectation of a well-presented workshop by a speaker that guides us through the differences or changes that we may find in University from our previous colleges or secondary schools and maybe, added with some tips on how to adjust to university life, as the item was named in the O-week schedule as "Adjustment to Campus Life Workshop"

Wouldn't it be natural for you to think like I did?

Never did it cross my mind that the workshop was presented by the University's counsellors, Ms Soon Saw Imm and Ms Na Mui Gee.  I was greeted with a whole bunch of "introductory to counselling services" slides, playing over and over as if like a broken CD player. 

That made me wonder if I was in the right workshop, the right room?? Did I accidentally stumbled into a wrong room? 

For a second, I glanced over the crowd neatly seated across the two rooms... Eh, they "LOOK" like FRESHIEEs, just like me.  Somehow, I have my way of detecting New and Old faces.. lol

Then it turned out again, not to my assumption of it being a counselling services introductory session.  Ms Soon (I believed) was just playing it for whatever reason it may be.


The workshop session started with a topic of Time Management (TM).

This issue of time management is one of the problems that I faced in SAM last year while I was struggling and constantly putting off assignments to the very last minute. 

Ms Na started first with the TM talk.  We were asked "Why do you procrastinate?" Many gave very standard answers, such as distractions, assignment is difficult, things like that. 

Then we were asked to think of some ideas to better manage our time. 

Answers like: Reward myself with something if I finish the work, listening to music while doing work and I myself contributed this: Breaking the BIG assignment into SMALL and Manageable parts so that the task is easier to complete. 

After that, Ms Na continued the session with her slide presentation. One of the key points in the presentation was Stephen R. Covey's Time Management Matrix.

Time Management Matrix with 4 Quadrants from Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

I think many of us have seen such a table / matrix. It's often used in time management workshops teaching people how to effectively manage and maximise their time. 

Putting that aside, the highlight of the TM workshop was that the speakers asked us to get involved in Group Activity / Discussions which I think has helped us mingle a little with people we have yet to know. 

Well, something great was that I got to meet a guy from Sri Lanka and a few other people whom their names I have so accidentally forgotten, my bad! Sumimasen ne. 

..moving on..


The 3 forms of Communication

This part is taken over by Ms Soon. She gracefully took over the stage and started her opening about Assertive Skills.  She (the way she spoke) was memorable to me as I vividly remembered she had an funny "Chinese" accent on the word "assertive".

She introduced the 3 ways / styles people communicate.  They are "Aggressive", "Assertive" and "Passive" communications.  I vaguely recalled this from SAM Year 12 Psychology class. 

The sole highlight of this part was the role playing of people taking roles on these 3 ways of communications by acting it out verbally at the front of the room.

That's about the 2 hour workshop session held on 27 Feb 2014.  I have to say, it was pretty long and I am surprise I didn't fall asleep. 

The Take Home Message of the Day

Well, although the workshop wasn't as I expected it to be, but there are some take home messages that I believe I learned and received.

1) We all only have 24 hours. As we are already in university, everything is up to you and you can decide on your own. Our own initiative is vital for our success in our degree education. Remember to Seize time. 
Carpe Diem

2) In my own opinion, it's getting a little difficult in getting new friends in university compared to college life. Communication skill is important and I believed even more strongly after the workshop that friendship is intentionally hanging out and spending time together. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

O week Part 3: Course Advice session (3rd day)

This part is of absolute importance as Course Advice Session is very vital to your university subjects planning so that you can graduate at the time you were estimated to graduate!

I won't babble on this insignificant stuff and will just outline how MY course is structured.

Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) under the faculty / school of Arts and Social Sciences, coded as 3920, requires you to have 144 points (all three years of study) to graduate.

As 1 unit (a.k.a. subject) equates to 6 points.   If you do the math, it would be 144 / 6 = 24 units

So, 24 subjects in 3 years, 1 year = 8 subjects (that's the standard)

From the School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS), there are 5 majors and 2 minors to choose from.

1) Communication
2) International Studies
3) Journalism
4) Writing
5) Psychology

1) Gender studies
2) Film and Screen Studies

One major will require you to take up 8 subjects from the same discipline. For me, it is Psychology. But it is a Special case here because for the Psychology major to be recognised and accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), I must take 10 subjects.

Well, one can do a Single major from the Arts faculty or a Double major to complete the undergraduate degree. And the Second major can be from the Arts or from another faculty, eg: Business and Economics, Science.  However that would be subjected to that faculty's approval.

There are the annoying but not complicated requirements that you need to fulfill while structuring your degree.

For the B. Arts (Social Sciences),
1) A major (normally 8 subjects)
2) An Arts minor (4 subjects, but for Writing minor, you'd need 5 subjects)
3) A First-year sequence subject
4) Another 12 points of Arts subjects (2 subjects)
5) Not more than 60 points (10 subjects) to be done in the first year
6) Have at least 36 points in Year 3

Tadaa!! I have spent 2-3 days giving careful thoughts to my course map / course schedule to be able to memorise all these requirements.. and present to you in an organised way.

The course advice session really gives an eye-opening experience to what university study is like.

The immediate feeling I got from this session was that we (university students) really have to be independent and only WE alone are responsible to ensure that our course subjects enrollment adhere to the requirements needed by your specific Faculty in order to be awarded a degree.

Well, just a wrap up,

I have done my course map for the 3 years.
I will be taking 10 Psychology CORE units,
5 Writing units constructing a minor
2 Journalism units as 1st year sequence
Academic Literacies as Arts units (together with one writing unit included in the minor)
3 Marketing electives and 3 Management electives.

So, 10 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 3 = 24 units = 144 points

I hope you all especially soon-to-be undergraduate students can understand what I just presented here. Any questions about how Australian degree works or comments, drop me a message below!

Catch O week: Part 4 here