Going there feeds an appetite, but what you do with it is up to you.
– Sharon Chan, Deputy Director of NUS Overseas Colleges
Week 7 had proven to be a very trying week for me. With 3 mid-terms and 2 submissions, I was a little stressed out, to say the least. Not to mention I was still going to work, albeit leaving slightly earlier on Thursday to squeeze in more study time. “Isn’t it mid-terms week?”, a colleague of mine asked. I nodded back while rushing out a design, and she couldn’t conceal her dismay, or maybe it was a worry. Should I be spending more time to study? More time would have been good, but going MIA from work just to study, didn’t sit comfortably with me, especially when this period is crunch time for the office too. Nonetheless, part of me felt guilty, while the other tried to be reassuring. That’s why you started revision early. You got this. With my hectic schedule this semester, time management has played a big role in keeping me sane. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. We only have 24 hours in a day, and what we do with it is up to us. I’d be lying if I said I never thought about spending more time on studies, or how I’m spending less time than my peers but I feel like this is really how I wish to spend my time. So far, I have enjoyed my internship and I’m learning new things each day.
Which brings me to my next point: my current thoughts on NOC. Last Saturday was NOC connection– a gathering of the NOC alumni, out-going and prospective students. The day left me and my fellow NCSG 25 batchmates excited and anxious for what was to come. Crazy work hours, intense workload, and oh yes, you need to manage your academics too. I can’t even begin to fathom how it will be next semester, but I’m eager for it to come. I guess that might be part of the reason why I chose to step up as the batch representative. I really want to make the most of my experience, and that includes my batchmates and their experiences too. We’re going to be in the same boat for 6 months, hopefully, we can help each other swim to shore even if we hit rocky waters. In the weeks to come, I hope to share more about the placement process and hopefully some good news of my own placement too!
This week we heard each other’s presentations for the various CRISPR applications and I was most interested in the one presented by Sophia, whereby the paper investigated the use of hairpin secondary structures to improve accuracy. I feel like there would be a lot of potential if they are able to show more accurate evidence of its effectiveness because forming the hairpin structure itself appears quite simple and straightforward. However, being based on mathematical modelling, I had a tinge of doubt towards the accuracy of the results, more so when there were no previous studies or reasons sited for choosing their modelling software used. From this it made me question how easy it is for us to take for granted certain methodology, especially when it is either well-established or commonly used.
Personally, I thought it would be easier to analyse a short paper, but I was proven wrong. My own paper was theoretical in nature so, in terms of methodology and materials, I really struggled to find points to critique. But at the same time, the short article made me appreciate every line that was written, after having combed through each line over and over again. While critiquing the paper, I kept wondering, “Why didn’t they include this (or that)?”, and that is when I realised how important it is to accurately communicate information in a succinct manner. There are certain things that seem important but may not be relevant to the current proposition. The author has to re-evaluate the direction and focus of the paper and ascertain if the content is in line with the message to be conveyed.
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work. – Hebrews 6:10
After a whirlwind of a weekend, I finally decided to check my email. It’s strange because I usually check it every day. The one time I don’t, I actually get an important email– my NOC application results!
Well, here it is:
NUS OVERSEAS COLLEGES, JANUARY 2020 INTAKE
Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have been offered a place in the NOC Singapore intake.
In a matter of two lines, I got the results. It took a while for me to process the words, the feelings. To be frank, I had only ever considered my first two options (Israel and Munich) until recently when more and more reasons started to arise for me to want to stay in Singapore. I have been pretty blessed to have everything come full circle in this way. Drawing near to this date, I think there has always been a small nudging in my heart, “Maybe I wouldn’t mind staying in Singapore.” but I always thought that would be because I get rejected from the NOC programme entirely.
In a nutshell, for anyone who is reading this that may have a genuine interest in NOC programme, the curriculum for the overseas programmes and SG are practically the same. They both focus on teaching you the works of being an entrepreneurship, the only major difference seems to be that the SG programme carries slightly more modules (28 MCs vs the 20MCs for other 6-month programmes). From Figure 1 you can see that the main difference is in the last two modules, the start-up case study and the seminars. Notably, all the modules for NOC SG are credit-bearing, so if the ante isn’t already up for you, here it is.
Independent and communal living seems to be a big part of the NOC experience so similar to the other programmes where you would be finding an apartment/flat with your programme-mates, for NOC SG you’ll be living on campus with the rest of the NOC SG programme attendees and alumni. The accommodation this time is in N-House, located at Sheares Hall, likely because it is near BIZ and NUS Enterprise making travelling for seminars and workshops a breeze. I’m looking forward to staying back on campus, even though it has only been one semester of being home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents but I definitely embraced the independence of campus life.
So at the end of the day, my thoughts are this: I’ve been given all that I wanted and maybe even more by accepting this opportunity, I’d be a fool not to accept it. When life gives you lemons, squeeze the hell out of it or make do, no? I’m happy to say that I have accepted the offer and we are already having our first briefing this coming Friday. Exciting times ahead, so for you dear reader, if you are considering your choices now, please consider what you want out of the NOC programme. Is it just to travel overseas? I’m telling you now that, I can already feel the pressure of what’s to come, but I tend to thrive off difficult situations. Your perseverance and personal motivations will bring you where you need to be. Don’t worry child, you’ve already got it all.
I hope that by now you would have learnt how easy it is to get yourself hurt. Today has been a little bit harder, but nothing I won’t get through right? We both know that it gets better. I trust that you would have found a solution to this dilemma by now. If you haven’t, that’s okay. Take your time, some decisions aren’t meant to be rushed even though you think you need to make a timely decision. Breathe, detach, and think objectively. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. I don’t think there is a perfect solution, so right now we’ll have to give and take.
In the meantime, I hope that everything else is progressing well. Have you been industrious and loving today? Don’t forget that.
The past is rooting for you.
She walks into a convenience store and sees a familiar face. With that wickedly charming smile, he holds up a strange device— like a child with a new toy. “What the heck is that supposed to be?”, her pain temporarily soothed by his jester. “Isn’t it cool? I needed a new shaver,” he laughs. In spite of the laughter, she fights a wave of tears. It lasts a microsecond but his earnest concern sees through her veneer as if asking her, “You okay?”, with his intense brown eyes. No words are needed. She can’t help but give him a tight squeeze and bury her face in his chest. He squeezes back and pulls away. “Why you so sad all the time?” In a sheepish voice she whispers, “Is it that obvious?” “I just know. Now cheer up sunshine,” as he gently runs his fingers through her hair, “that look doesn’t suit you.” “But if you need more time,…I’ll let you shave my hair off and we can watch it grow back.” Finally, laughter bursts through the crystals of tears that had formed around her eyes, erasing any trace if being there. He smiles and pats her head, “Let’s go home.”
Hope you have enjoyed reading. Thank you for indulging my fictional writing. It’s been a while.
Featured photo by Daniel Tseng on Unsplash