Wednesday, July 26

Sem 1 Foundation @ Heriot-Watt University Malaysia

its been a really, really long time, I know.
actually, not really.
its been 3 months-ish.
but boy, it feels like its been an eternity.

I just ended my first semester as a foundation student in Heriot-Watt not too long ago after sitting for 3 final papers, where I was murdered by econs. If you ask me how I feel about completing sem 1, I can say I am completely numb to the fact that this semester has gone by so quickly - there were so many new experiences I managed to indulge myself in and I am so grateful for them all.

This time last year, I was so focused on the fact that I would be aiming for a spot in public education, seeing as everyone regards it as the elite path of the Malaysian society. Plus, I would be saving my parents a lot of financial burden, and I mean A LOT. In the beginning, right after I got my SPM results which, lets say, tore my heart open and left the biggest wound and emotional void within me, I was so worried and confused as to what I should do.

 If you have been following me for a while, you would know, as I repeatedly enjoy identifying, that I am a lover of art and music, words and poetry. However, my SPM results were like a smack in the face, taunting me - if I can't excel excellently in this secondary school assessment, what more make it big time as an author. I pondered and pondered, looked for advice - received such conflicting ones from friends and teachers. I never really considered my parents as advice because they have been telling me since day one that this is a. A decision of my own but they can help me along it and b. they don't mind whatever I take up as long as I am confident in what I am doing. So you see, even when I ask my mum or dad for help, they turn it back on me hence why I get the advice from other people.

I even opened up a forum on LowYat to receive some insight, albeit not the wisest choice to listen to random strangers over the internet but hey, it helped. Ok, I'm kind of straying off the whole experience as a foundation student thing right now but I just needed to semi-explain how and why I ended up studying Foundation in Business for Actuarial Science instead of doing Arts. Basically the logic as to how I ended up here is this - I can always hold on to my love for language and writing, but if I let go of my skills in Maths; down the drain it goes. Therefore, I thought to myself, "why not specialize in a technical field, with a subject I equally love as I do Lit and build on passion as a hobby or side job."

(((Also, I read a snarky comment that was like "Anyone can graduate with a degree in Literature" but hey ya while that may be true it seems pretty damn difficult to make yourself someone with a degree like that and those who can, are incredible.)))

So, ok thats how I ended up here. In a private university that costs SO MUCH I FEEL SO BAD FOR BURDENING MY PARENTS - sometimes I wonder if I should've just gone into local matriculation, which I got accepted to in ahem Kelantan of all places...

but then I look back at this past 3 months and the experiences I've gained here surpasses all money value and the friendships I'm establishing is worth way more than a rm150k mathematics degree.

so, foundation, sem 1, let me break it down for you into the top 10 things that happened (in no particular order)

1. Orientation

my first time viewing campus HAHA i'm already semi-sick of the gorgeous view. it's so annoyingly grand that it sucks when you don't have the time to soak it all in. this is the day before actual orientation, just came here to lepak with my family. 

first day of orientation! Lucky enough to be in the same group as ma bae (Siti) hehe. Deepti and I weren't in the same group throughout orientation but lmao we still kept in touch thankfully because dude the number of random ass phone numbers and names I have in my phone from people around campus after orientation is mindblowing. 

day 2!! hella fun. we had some sports activities and also a lil lake cruise across putrajaya lake. my group was pretty intense, I remember we won the treasure hunt thing but I was of no help whatsover considering my lack of fit abilities. in pic is Abby and Jun Min/Germaine. I was really close to Germaine throughout orientation Day 2 but since she is in FIS (Foundation in Science) and me FIB, we kinda grew apart :( there's still the occasional "hi" "bye" waves at the corridor, though.

day 3 was pretty much just us getting a briefing on the student ambassador programme which is a programme for all scholarship holders that mandate you volunteer 10 hours to help the uni in events like open day, education fairs and orientation. Kinda sucks because we have to do our 10 hours or our scholarship will be revoked while seniors get paid for their help. zzz planning to ask the Student Services about this unjust system soon.

2. Lots of eats with lots of different people at lots of different (mamaks) restaurants.

although I complain so much about the crappy food here, I eat way more than usual because eating together  is the best time to create bonds and build your relationships. I swear I put on about 15 kg because of this but worth it cause I managed to get a lot of friends along the way - whats a few pounds when you get new friends, am I right?



3. Clubs and volunteering programmes

I always wanted to give back to society, every time I have free time I look for voluntary programmes. I even applied to help out at some soup kitchens and old folk's homes during my SPM break but it was hard for me to go because I didn't have transport.

Heriot-Watt has given me many opportunities through various clubs and organisations where I can help out and make a small difference. I signed up for a tutoring programme under Ariston, a non-profit organisation that aims to help kids through education. We attend weekly tutor sessions with indigenous kids ranging from ages 5-12 years old at a small Orang Asli Kampung in Dengkil. It's such a great experience but its pretty hard to keep at it when I'm so busy at school. I managed to attend 6 sessions, 12 hours of voluntary service and I'm kinda proud of myself for that :D

these are two of my tutees, Faizal (12) and Dania (5), they were great and I enjoyed myself so much!! though I'm still contemplating if I should continue next sem because it does take up my entire friday...,,,, and semester 2 counts more towards our grade.

Other than that, the Ariston club also organised a small workshop for refugee kids in Myanmar at the YTL Learning Space which is a small area for young refugee kids waiting for a transfer of citizenship or building a new life in Malaysia.

There were around 10 foundation kids, ie. us HAHA, who conducted and held and workshop and I must say, I am super proud to be a part of this.

also, the kids call us "teacher" WHICH IS SO ADORABLE I CANNTEWOIHOWEHEWO

sadly, we aren't allowed to exchange any personal contacts or take any pictures of/with the kids for confidential reasons.

the YTL Learning Space is in Bukit Bintang and although we had finals of Monday, we still went around exploring hehehe.

among other clubs I've joined which are not so community-service based is the Ambient-Print Board (APB) which I can safely say is among my top clubs because the seniors are so friendly and although I have only attended one meeting, I can comfortably say I feel part of the APB family because they are just that welcoming. APB is a club for aspiring/enthusiasts of videography, photograph and writing. all 3 which I must say I am very much keen in. The club is rather small but I genuinely believe it has so much potential to grow. plus, did I mention the videographers get paid a certain percentage for their work - hella cool. I used to slave back in school for 0 cents and 10% recognition.

helped out in the latest student recruitment drive for July 2017 intake! ^^

other clubs I recently joined just before break is Dodgeball (to get my fat ass to be fit) and Astronomy which seems like a promising club - they plan to have star gazing events and get permission to access the roof for some night time watching. if you know me, space is my bitch.

4. (ASS)ignments

you would think assignments wouldn't be a pain the ass but dear me, they're annoying as hell. Although they help contribute to a big percentage of our grade, assignments are so irritating because they require so much of your time, energy, effort and SO MUCH  O R G A N I Z A T I O N. Across this semester, I've seen so many relationships fall crash and die becuase of group assignments but I'm grateful all my groups were pleasant and co-operative.

few pics I managed to salvage from my old phone. also ya, long story short; phone fell in toilet. died. got new one at cheaper price through trade in. 

ok back on track, this is from our accounting assignment!! we had to interview a businessman and get his legitimate accounts. guess whose group got highest marks? hehe - all thanks to our great leader!! (Clarissa u amazin)

other than this was the econs assignment which was the hardest one of all. previously, the economics assignment was reserved for 3rd sem foundation students but starting in 2017 (of course, as per lab rats) our first sem counts to our final grade so they brought it forward making our lives difficult. and guess which genius was the team leader of her group? yours truly. I was legitimately freaking out because econs is so amazing yet so tough I cannoahdiowk but in the end it all worked out great and I must say our marks aren't too bad either.

there were no assignments for maths but our lecturer said there will be one in sem 2, kinda excited to see what its about but kinda nervous at the same time.

ENGLISH THOUGH. Ironic as to how I originally wanted to do an English degree but I'm fairing the worst at English is school HAHA. Academic skills is100% assignment based but geez, its the hardest to score. My A lies on the mini video we had to film (it took 14 weeks m8) and edit but I'm praying we get some results because we worked pretty damn hard on it.

5. mid-terms and finals

exams, exams, exams,

need i say more? as usual, they were stressful. but actually, this stress isn't caused by the lack of time to finish all the material because in uni they're way more rational with the amount of information a student could and should retain per semester.

the stress is caused by the difficulty to focus your attention because your friends are always there and its so easy to go off track and talk about nonsense and go out for food and snacks and entertainment and boy, it was tough to say no to fun. but eventually we all adapted and got our senses right, I hope. LOL.

also we stayed over at the 365 room during finals week it was amazing HAHA

late night instagram lives after having mcd hehe - halo from the double chins. 


6. Random roof-top shenanigans

so, HWU has a grass rooftop. which is always off-access for students because they want to mantain it and I guess prevent the suicides. ok sorry sucky thing to say but I genuinely think that may be legit-ly why.

hence, when they open it up for random short periods of time during orientation or open day, seize the opportunity is what I do.

7.  birthday parties

celebrated a fair few birthdays in uni, arissa's birthday, sadly, we didn't manage to do anything since it was right after midterms and during break. planned to get her a calligraphy pen for her 17th but forgot cause after reading week it was hell with assignment due dates :-(

8. 41 kilometer travels to see bff zone assholes in Sunway & Taylors (& Nottingham)

to see Leeya, I stuffed myself in the most awkward Uber ride to ever exist because I barely knew the guys we were with apart from my roommate. we had the longest and most tiring walk across sunway canopy from pyramid (with the aim to see Leeya's accommodation in SMR) only having us get kicked out by the guard leading Leeya to go complain to management and doiewhxsak it was a long ass story. and I didn't even manage to see Leeya's room... sighz. it was still a great day though, loved the tour of Sunway campus and HOLY SUNWAY'S LIBRARY HAS MY HEART.

to see Looi, I stuffed myself in a non-airconditioned Uber with 4 people (+ Mathusha) whom I barely knew also. Ok to clarify why I do this is to lower the Uber fare because it costs about rm36-rm60 to and fro from Putrajaya to Sunway. my sacrifices i swear to god. I'm happy I made the sacrifice though because the long talk in Kyochon was so worth it and I'm glad to be there to help out a friend going through a rough patch. although I had to die 1.5 hours with no air condition in the kl jam.

9. bad decisions, good memories

went to a house party and played beer pong. it was hella memorable, and hella fun. 10/10 would do it again just maybe, no more drinking after this lmao.

also went out to have good food at ioi city mall just 1 week before exams. bad decision, incredible memories. we had the best mango bingsu and tapau-ed good sushi for dinner. noms~

staying true to the list of "bad decisions, good memories", we decided to keep a pet cat. Our senior brought her home randomly about a month ago and we have all bonded ever since. freaking devillish cutie pie I swear. 

side note: pets aren't allowed in accommodation lol

10. solo (and not so solo) travels

if you plant to further your education elsewhere, get ready to face the (at first patronizing but not-so-after) feels of solo travelling. It's a great experience travelling alone but once you make good friends, try to travel in a group, its way safer. the first time i commuted solo I was approached by a random old lady claiming to have lost her ticket back to Sungai Petani. She seemed like a well-educated, english spoken lady so I gave her all the benefit of the doubt. Then she started asking me for bloody 50 bucks. um, no. I said I couldn't help her out but I could lend her my phone if she wanted to call someone. She gave me a number, acted all innocent and refused to even touch my phone. her over-the-top innocence was so fishy and to top it all off, the number she gave me was fake.

later on, as we just stood there in silence - the silence hinting to her that I am not budging from my spot nor am I going to help her out, she then voiced out her many sighs saying how no one wants to help a poor old woman, although I constantly kept pointing to many guards. in the end, she tried her luck again, claiming she had relatives in negeri sembilan, asking for rm10 to get her there. um lady, sorry. I'm no fool. after that, she stormed off and I lingered around. 15 mins later, I saw her approach another young girl, greeting her with the same words and sad expression, "Hello leng lui...sorry to disturb you ah..." So sad, these con artists.

well train journeys are pretty uneventful, other than that random encounter with a con-artist. I usually just sit and watch nature, read books or do some accounting. idk but the only work i can do on the train is accounting. no idea why.

flying solo is another matter. so much more work and stress but very interesting experience all together.

you get such a lovely sense of accomplishment after you manage to get yourself to board the plane safely. but, to all stewards and stewardesses out there, if you see a tiny, short ass girl working her ass off trying to get her luggage up onto the cabin compartment, please help her out WOULD YOU? SO MANY KIND PASSENGERS CAN DO IT BUT ITS REALLY EMBARRASSING OK THANKS. 

this break I came back with a couple of my friends, cool experience but doesn't make travelling any different cause I just watch movies and read books and ignore them lmao. The good thing is I can get my taller, stronger friends to help out with my heavy ass bag LOL. 

so that pretty much sums up my first semester at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia. Pretty great, I would have to say.

here are some honourable mentions that weren't in my top 10 list;

i. loosing my phone in the toilet and having a stay over at Sas's house where she took me around KL.

ii. doing my own laundry HAHA DONT LAUGH PLS

iii. bombarding the school's first ever graduation ceremony when we have finals the next day

iv. missing the bus countless number of times

v. gorgeous city views

growing up on an island half my life, I was always one of those people who dreamt of owning a glass view condo to view the manhattan city life. eh, the arc isn't that bad and putrajaya doesn't have the worst scenery. 


vi. great tutorial mates!!

conjured up incredible memories with treasured friendships at this uni and its only been 3 months, can't wait to see what the future holds for me when September comes and Sem 2 is on its way. I plan to vlog Sem 2, hope it works out. till then, have a great break guys!!! :D thanks for being a huge part in the remainder of my youth.