Uni semester 2 starts!… but it’s NOT what we imagined it to be.

Hey guys, semester two of university (October trimester) has begun! It is Saturday today, the weekend of week 3 of my second semester. We are welcoming week 4 in. Based on our course plan arranged by our lecturers, the pace will really pick up only by week 4.

So for now there is not much coursework related things to tell you yet, because believe it or not, coursework and assignments are to me what make the semester super interesting. But here’s a breakdown of the 4 courses I am taking this semester.

The courses are arranged in ascending order of my interest, which means the last course is my favourite and the absolute most interesting.

Math:

The topics are very statistical, very dry. Fortunately, we had some basics in these topics such as probability during our high school years (SPM & form 4 / form 5), but it is still supremely dry and most of us dislike this course. However, we are all still in our foundation year and cannot choose courses as we like yet. These are compulsory courses to get into the science degree of our choice (I am from the science stream). It’s full of numbers, and the questions are an entire paragraph of word-dance.

English (Communication Skills):

This course is not so much English as a class on basic communication. It teaches basic public speaking skills, how to overcome apprehension of speaking in front of a large crowd, how to organize the content of your speech, etc.

Much like the English course I took in my first semester, I always find English fun because of the ample research opportunities. My teammates and I researched and presented on the topic of Medical Errors for my first semester, and I learnt so much about the topic I could almost recite an array of medical mishaps to you off the top of my head, and the stories behind each error made, and the impacts those errors had on patients, their immediate relatives, and the medical community. We also greatly improved on our software skills, such as converting files from word or html to pdf, vice versa.

It is one of the most enriching courses I have ever taken. For this semester (2nd sem), our first assignment is an individual presentation unlike the first semester. I have chosen the topic “Covid-19: How has the pandemic benefited us?” to touch on a positive outlook on the advantages reaped from this global crisis. A topic like that I think is interesting, since it provokes thought with its unconventional point of view. I will be presenting on the topic in about two weeks time.

Chemistry (Inorganic Chem):

Inorganic Chemistry’s first chapter – the basics – was slightly difficult to wrap my head around at first. The other chapters follow a very specific pattern: for this whole semester, we are basically learning the Periodic table, its elements, and the properties of those elements. In fact, the chapters are literally named:

  • Group 1 metals.
  • s-block elements.
  • Aluminium.
  • Oxygen, Sulphur and Their Compounds.

“Don’t stress yourself for this semester, ” said my lecturer. “It’s a stress-free topic for Inorganic Chemistry this sem.”

Indeed, but that’s because she’s (probably) comparing it to Organic Chemistry, which we must take in Semester 3, which is way more difficult, will long compound names to memorize.

So, with such a typical pattern to follow, the topics for inorganic chem are not too difficult. This is all except for the first chapter, which was the basics of electronic configurations, and the various components of electron orbitals, which I had some difficulty distinguishing between at first.

But I managed to understand it in the end. So I hope the rest of Inorg Chem will be smooth sailing.

Biology (Modern Biology):

And finally – MODERN BIOLOGY! My absolute favourite! It’s a stark difference compared to the Biology course we took in first semester, which was about Cell Biology. We had had a lot of basics in Cell Biology already since high school. Modern Biology takes DNA, a genetic molecule we only touched upon lightly in high school, and expanding it into a SIX topic long conversation. Mod Bio is basically about Biotechnology and Genetics, the absolute basics in a contemporary topic very closely related to the Covid-19 virus. Knowing that DNA codes for all life on the planet, my interest in this topic is elevated by tenfold. Biology inevitably involves a ton of memorization, though, and sometimes I procrastinate the time away just thinking of the effort required to make my flashcards (I use an online flashcard app to study Biology, but that also means I would need to set aside time to make the cards).

I keep trying to remind myself not to waste all the time away, though. More time would mean I could browse the Internet, checking out even more interesting information on the topic and expanding my knowledge beyond my lecture syllabus. I’ve been watching NASA’s Youtube live streaming of the latest update on a sea altimeter monitoring satellite – Sentinel 6, that would be able to view internal waves and measure them by the centimeter, and plot a World map of the entire ocean that covers our planet. It’s launch is due on But I’m always rather lazy, when I see the pile of work to get done. I always try to remind myself of just what more I can do if I were just to focus and get work out of the way.

But I also don’t want to see studies as a chore to get rid of so that I can do other things. My goal is to make studies a fun thing too, and it’s important, because my studies will be what my career would partly be about. For now, I’m still struggling with that a bit, since my love for certain courses doesn’t quite seem to top my occasional laziness to carry out long-haul efforts.

The next few weeks are going to get busy already, with mini exams, my presentation, lab reports (there’s one due in 3 days time!), and other coursework. That’s all for now! I’ll definitely fill you in with updates halfway through the semester perhaps, to give you a quick glimpse in the midst of the fun chaos of learning, because you blink an eye and I’m gone again until the end of the semester. 😉

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