One of the best weekends of 2017

Friday afternoon: my office and little mini Zhang intruders! Bribed them with weather originals sweets and the small one didn’t know that he couldn’t bite it- but still bit it anyway.

Friday evening: Coldplay’s concert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Verdict: Amazing. Need I say more?

Teared up when oldies like the scientist, fix you, yellow and paradise came on. Though we only managed to get the cheapest seats ($78+4 Booking fee) it was well worth the view. Leon brought Binoculars so we could see Chris Martin up close. The whole concert was like a dream. After the concert, we ended up at brotzeit with beer and wedges- the perfect post concert combination ever.

Saturday morning/afternoon- slept, slept and slept

Woke up in the evening for a massage session with Auntie Helena and Leon, who then brought us out for dinner at Uncle Leong’s @ Punggol for crab bee hoon. BEST BEE HOON EVER. Made a joke of Leon @ Leongs. It’s been a long standing joke at work from my colleagues that Leon is the owner at Leongs because of the similarity of his name. Lol lame, I know. But still made him pose behind the signboard anyway.

Sunday morning: Day didn’t start out as planned. Leon got a ticket parking. We drove to balestier only to realize we forgot our bibs- and ended up driving back to the east to get them. Arrived at the starting point >35 minutes into the race but long story cut short- we did it!!!!!!!!

Yay to 10K at #2xucompressionrun2017 *pops confetti*

This was by far the best week of 2017.

I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed with the care, concern and love from the people around me. This was a reminder for me to be grateful in times of doubt and adversity, and also to always, always- choose happiness.

 

 

Year 2

Slightly more than a year ago,  I consistently questioned myself. Was this where I should be? A degree? A full time job? It all seemed so difficult, so exhausting and confusing. While all my peers were eligible and enrolling themselves into local university, leaving the country out chasing their degree dreams-breaking through networking and banking industries onto other high powered office jobs, I wondered why I had no inkling in me to chase that dream too. I struggled with my choices and uncertainty.

And then I met this amazing bunch of people. With the same dream, the same goal and the same desire to empower others. With them, everything felt like second nature. And suddenly, weirdly, it didn’t feel as scary anymore to stand apart from the unconventional route anymore. 

Year 2 will be amazing ☺☺☺

My UNISIM/SUSS Experience 2

Hola everyone! The frequency of my posts have been wavering due to being away from work for a good two weeks to study for my final exam papers and I’m so glad to say that my first year of University has been completed! yay!

Pictures of the last few weeks and months of working full time and studying part time, exhaustion and shameless selfies overload! IMG_20150523_064840[1]The last two weeks have been pretty stressful. I don’t know if you ever notice it, it’s really the kind of feeling you get when you have so many topics to study, so many exam papers to revise, that you kind of go into a full procrastination mode until you finally end that final paper. I couldn’t believe it, honestly.

As you know, I wrote a post on my own UNISIM experience a few months back (you can find it here) and it has seemingly reached a little further than expected, thank you all for the emails and messages of friends who have considered studying here.  After my year ended, and going through two whole semesters of UNISIM, I thought I’d share a post on some of the questions you might have had! Remember, this is based on my own personal experience and opinions!

How to apply?

There are two intakes a year. One in January and one in July. You can follow the steps to apply by reading more about them here.

Why did you choose Social Work in UNISIM? 

To practice Social Work in Singapore, you need a degree from a recognized institution from Singapore’s Association of Social Workers (SASW). To date locally, only National University of Singapore (NUS) offers it full time, and UNISIM offers it part time. These two institutes fall under SASW’s approval.  NUS was too difficult to get into after polytechnic despite my interest in Social Work, so I went to do my degree at UNISIM while working full time, which was a better choice for me financially at that point of time.

I did two essays and a skype interview with the University of Sussex which had the strongest social work program in UK back in 2014 and was accepted. But after considering the cost (which totalled up to be about sgd $220k for 3 years BA Hons, lodging and food), the idea of being indebted to my mother (not that she asked) made me feel uncomfortable because it was too big an amount. So, I opted for UNISIM. Also, though SASW approved of Sussex’s Degree to practice social work, to convert it back on the field when the time was ready could be pretty difficult to handle, considering the vastly different demographics of people in Singapore than the UK.

What is the cost of your degree?

On average, UNISIM goes by costing of the modules you choose. On average, should you not fail anything, a degree will cost between sgd $15,000 to $20,000. This is because the government gives a grant of 55% to Singaporeans and PR’s who hold a full time job in the sector and are interested to study part time. If not, a degree will cost between $30,000-$40,000. For more ideas on the fees, you can check out UNISIM’s website here.

Why Social Work? Is it easy to pass?

I heard a friend say Counselling was much easier…. though I’m not too sure.You have to have a passion for social work, my opinion is: don’t choose it if you don’t feel for others more vehemently for the unjust and disadvantaged then not.

It is NOT easy to pass. Please do not assume that a part time degree will be any easier than a full time degree. Wrong-o! It’s easy to get a D i guess (marks below 40) if you study last minute. But…….. very tough work. And I’m sure getting a degree at a decent grade is everyone’s goal.  Or at least a decent C pass.

They recommend the Max Credit Units per semester to be a max load of 20CU. is 20 CU too much or too little?

20CU is manageable, considerably that it is about 4 different core subjects of 5 CU.  If you feel it is too little, you can apply to add more. Check with your course manager. If you want to speed it up, they will offer a max of 30 CU. Don’t overkill and don’t under kill. If you under-kill, you will take a longer time to finish your degree. On average, a basic degree is 3 years. A BA with Hons is 4 years.

I chose 20 CU but now I think I want to take only 15 CU. How do I go about changing it?
Email Admissions. I remember paying a admin fee of $60 sgd or so because I had already submitted my choices.

What UCores do you recommend?

I took academic writing (Compulsory), Law, Managing your personal finances and finally, appreciating literature. If you’re the reading sort and love analyzing texts, lit is the way to go: full coursework 100%. Law is easy IF you are the kind that can do tests, there are 3 tests, 1 after every lecture. Managing your personal finances is not too bad if you enjoy debating on current financial issues like the euro debt crisis and the CPF system. I loved academic writing the best! It was only 2 essays worth 50% of the grade. Easiest grade to upkeep and score!

Also, the picture of Dorian Grey was the book I read for appreciating literature, and I loved it!

How many classes do you have a week? How do you cope?

I took 25 CU last semester of my core, and had on average classes 2 times a week. I chose which to go for, I usually gave a lesson a first chance. If I felt that I didn’t gain anything from it, I studied at home. Mostly, the reasoning behind it was that the travelling time from school to my home (east) was way too long at 10pm, and with work the next day. Secondly, I missed classes a lot in sem 1.2 because I worked early on some Saturday mornings, so Friday night classes was a no-no. But honestly, I studied hard when the peak periods came, more often then when I skipped classes. Wrong move. Don’t do that.

I’m going to try to study consistently next semester though! And attend more classes I hope…..

How do you study for examinations?

last minute…………. and regretted it dearly for the last two runs of examinations. DO NOT STUDY LAST MINUTE. more nonsense comes out from it if you study last minute like me.

Read your study guide. Highlight the main points. Close the study guide, paraphrase what you have highlighted. Open the study guide and mark accordingly.  Repeat two to three times until you’ve got the gist.

Do your readings. Summarize at the end of the study by the main point/main finding.

Print the last 3 years x2 semesters=6 papers. Take a pencil, do all the qns without referring. Open the text and mark accordingly in red, add on in red.

Practice with your friends through verbal testing. Works wonders for me and my friends.

Hope all this helps! And to all those who are planning on joining UNISIM, Welcome to a world of torture and pain!!! (haha I’m kidding, but welcome to a world of less sleep and more stress, and in 3 years, a degree!)

Cheers!

My UNISIM Experience

School’s starting in barely a week…. not again! There goes all the motions of late night classes….. sleeping with a warped schedule……. and the never ending stress that comes with each assignment due-one after another- while juggling your work, family and social life.

So.. I shall attempt to give some advice to my fellow UNISIM students working full time and studying part time like me, who struggled academically most of the time, zoned out in class and fell sick pretty often. This post is also dedicated to my two friends, Miss Pan Jiayi and Nat *waves proudly*, welcome to the UNISIM family, you’re going to love what you’re studying, but hate the way lessons are going to be, because it’s going to be so darn tiring.

This list will be based on my own experiences in UNISIM for the past semester, so please don’t come looking for me if things turn out differently for you.

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  • Always get enough sleep whereby possible

On the train, on the bus. You don’t necessarily have to fall in a deep sleep but even closing your eyes to relax on the way back will make a world of a difference. I try to get 8 hours of sleep a day (goodbye social life) but when classes end at 10pm and work starts at 8 the next morning and you live on the other side of Singapore, be prepared to cry. Or!

  • Find friends who live around you to share a Cab back

Time is of the essence. Money is time. If you value your sleep as much as I did, you would take a cab back. On average, I spend about $25 on a cab back home. When 3 others share, that’s an average of about $6 per person. Time saved : At least 45 minutes.

If you think a cab isn’t the economical way for you, you can always look for the Indian uncle. I’m not being racist, that’s what we actually call him. He stands by the bus stop holding a sign saying – ‘YISHUN, $4’ and is usually spotted at 10pm every weekday. There will be 2 huge excursion buses waiting at the front of the school’s bus stop. They set off around 10.15pm. I’m not quite sure if touting is legal in Singapore though.

  • Be mentally prepared that if you take a bus back, you won’t have a seat

When class ends at 10pm, almost all the UNISIM kids will be released. Including sometimes CCA’s from SIM and SIM Global. The bus stop is usually packed to the brim. I never get a seat if I take the bus home, especially since I have to change buses. The first bus lets me stand for at least 20 minutes. The next stop after campus is Ngee Ann polytechnic so that means……. the kids from NP Squeeze in after their whole day of tiring tertiary education too.

  • Ask your Colleagues/friends who have studied in UNISIM before how it was like

I was very unprepared for the syllabus as well as the method of night classes and self revision. Sure polytechnic didn’t feed me all the information, but UNISIM adopts a very individualistic approach. No one (I repeat, no one!) will chase you if you miss a deadline. It is entirely on your own accord.

Luckily, I was prepared in the sense that each time I was confused about a certain subject or the way UNISIM handled the blackboard, I was taught and advised by my colleagues who had since then graduated from the course. They even (without me asking) gave me their old materials for me to revise whereby necessary.

  • Invest in a tablet, and download the mobile app!

It’s not compulsory but it makes your life a lot better, especially during exam break. UNISIM’s campus has free wifi all over campus, and having a tablet helps you to access the internet and the materials whenever a teacher uses the blackboard to refer to notes. I didn’t want to waste my paper to print the ones that i needed so I’ll use my tab to access them and write the focus points during the tutorial lesson.

For those asking, I use a xiao mi Mi Pad.

I also downloaded and paid for UNISIM’s app, blackboard learn. This app allows me to access the blackboard on my tablet and my smartphone on the go. I can also watch the replays of classroom recordings on my tablet with that app.

  • Course Structure On a general Basis

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Classes

The meet up sessions with classes are usually ones that require you to listen to a 3 hour pre-recording of the module. When you go to class, you are EXPECTED to know what is already happening and to do the tutorial activity prepared by the teacher. There may be recapping, but really light recapping. Hence, to absorb the best of your time, listen to the 3 hour pre-recording! Don’t be like me and procrastinate/think you can do it. I struggled towards the end because I never listened to one pre-recording!

On the first lesson of almost every module, the lecturers looooooove self introductions. I’m not kidding. So if you’re socially awkward like me, take deep breaths. It goes like this usually: Name, organization, job title, and why did you choose your field of study.

Tutor marked assignments (TMA) 

Tutor marked assignments (TMA), though I write decently, I can never ever do exceptionally well for TMA’s, and my average lies between a high 50 to mid 60’s. I have never hit a 70 for a Core TMA. How depressing. All I can say is, cite your essay properly. Re-read your essay. And listen to what your tutor is looking for because every tutor wants something different! Weirdly.

Discussion board (DB)

Discussion board (DB), people always assume it’s just a ‘sharing’ of feelings. Wrong. Wrong again. All DB statements should most likely come with a cite. Which means, lots of readings (again! Holler!). Also, because there is always a pre-DB for mods like Introduction to Psych 1 and 2, remember to do it before the DB closes. For me, I set alarms on my phone. Helps a ton.

Finals 

The cherry on top, finals. Finals are the scariest things alive. Watch the revision lecture. wait scratch that. ALWAYS, attend the revision lecture. Unless by some fine and extremely good reason why you can’t make it, you better be there if you want to pass your finals because at least 50% of the paper comes from that final revision lecture. Bring a jacket, don’t study an hour before your paper or you’d forget everything and draw many mind maps without looking at the text. Helped tons for me.

UCORES

Ucores are very much like CDSes (if you were from Temasek Polytechnic, you’d know that that meant a cross disciplinary subject!), which basically means modules that are compulsory that are out of your core module list. Take me for an example, I’m doing a degree in Social Work. So for my UCORE’s, I was given Academic writing (2.5CU) which is a complusory Ucore. I was allowed to choose the leftover 7.5CU to do what I want. I chose 3X 2.5CUS, being Literature, managing your personal finances, and lastly, Law!

I heard from my colleagues that it was easier to clear as many as possible within the first year. So I was a little too overboard and took all 10CU worth in my semester 1.1 and cleared it! To be honest, it was pretty dreadful because there was a lot on my plate but I have to say it’s not impossible. Now I can focus on my other modules and not stress out with having UCORES in the way.

But like I said, it’s entirely up to you!

  • Manage your time effectively!

I don’t know how important it is to stress this, but get a planner and write. So many deadlines will fall before you and with your work, you tend to get confused easily and lose track of time. You may miss your deadlines. Sure, getting your degree is important but so is your job. If your job load is too much, talk to your supervisors. Thankfully, my supervisor is a GEM and she has been very understanding in the beginning of my studies and has supported me through. So communication with your colleagues and head is very important.

  • Try not to be late for class

Some teachers are ok with it, but some get really mad and blacklist you. No joke. I wouldn’t risk it if i were you.

  • Summing my UNISIM Experience up

UNISIM is an adult’s university. You need to be prepared mentally that not only are the classes late at night, the work they give you is up to standard of a university’s level. I had always assumed in my thick skull that a part-time degree would be easier on the brain. Guess again. It is tough beyond belief. There will be times when you are so tired you want to quit. Don’t give up!

Make friends and make the best out of your university experience! What’s even greater is making friends who are actually in the same industry that you’re working in already, so there are lots of common topics and sharing that can interest and inspire you all the same!

with that, I shall end this post with wishing everyone the best in their UNISIM experience! Much love, xx