the academic bit

Almost 3 weeks in the States. Not that I don’t have internet connection but I have been rather lazy to blog. Haha…there are just too many things to do. Daytime, aunty wants to take me around to schools and stuff. So most of the time I’m left with night time. Of which, I’m trying to divide my time to use the net and work on my cross stitch. I haven’t even begun reading the book I brought along!!!

Alrighty, so I completed last last week following Man Ling around to her classes. There’s this course that she takes – Introduction to Computer Systems which is pretty much Computing Mathematics which I took in year 1 of Poly. Binary numbers and stuff. The way it’s taught is so different. Gawd, I don’t remember it being so hard to digest! Was sitting in the lecture feeling all lost even though I’ve learnt those stuff before. Oh another thing, I sort of forget stuff quite easily so I can’t quite recall all the formulas and all. It all looks familiar and that’s it. Anyway, Man Ling was having difficulty with that subject and I wished I was back home so I could lend her my poly notes. Would make life so much easier for her. Darn.

Next week was spent moving around looking at other schools. Let’s have a breakdown of what I think of the schools I’ve visited so far…

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Public university. Freakin’ huge school. Good points: Lots of company around. Fellow Singaporeans and people very much like me around. So many student organisations that I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding one I like. Even though I haven’t seen the whole list of organisations, I’m sure there’s a Japanese cultural group of some sort around. The university closest to my relatives. Bad points: Lectures are a rather huge group so there’s not much of a one-to-one communication with your professor. Got to be super independant to survive.

2. DePaul University
A Catholic university located in Chicago. Yea…the city. Private university. Good points: For 12 years of my school life (kindergarten-secondary) I’ve been in Catholic schools. I pretty much like the order they have. People seem to be much kinder as well coz there is a focus on sharing with one another. People are more forgiving. Well, that could be my perception… The university has nice halls which resemble the inside of a church. Uncle Weng thinks this school is cosy. Hehe…Mum is going to love this university once she hears it’s a Catholic school. Bad points: Since it’s a private university, tuition is going to be more expensive.

3. Loyola University Chicago
Another private university. Jesuit Catholic school. I don’t really get that cosy feeling from this school. Maybe coz we went there on Labor Day weekend and students weren’t around. Good points: It’s next to Michigan Lake which looks like an ocean. Haha. Bad points: No cosy feeling?

4. Millikin University
Private university again. Located in Decatur. Aunty told me Sis loved this school the last time she visited. Got to talk to a Computer Science professor, very funny guy. Could see that he really loved what he was doing. Gave me a good overview of Computer Science. I sort of knew what Computer Science was – more on the programming part which I sort of hate. So I’m not too keen on Computer Science but well, I’ll keep my options open for now. Good points: Has that one-to-one communication with your professor. I guess that’s some kind of motivation for students who need a little push to move along. Bad points: Smaller school = less students of my kind? Less or no other Singaporeans around.

5. Indiana State University
Located in Terra-Haute. The student who gave us a tour of the school gave a nice overview of the school. Good points: Buildings are all connected to one another which means you won’t have to go out in the cold in winter. Smaller university so has more of a one-to-one communication with professors. That’s something like Millikin. Bad points: Away from relatives?

6. Parkland College
A 2-year community college. Something like our JC? That’s what the States is so good. People are given chances. So if you don’t quite make the grade for the university of your choice, you can always go to a community college and then transfer to the university. Credits are also transferred so you don’t have to worry about 6 years of education. I was really lucky to have met the International Academic Advisor, Erin. She really inspired me. And since she was around my age, it was easier to relate to her. Now I sort of understand what Dad has been saying all along. Go out and experience things, never know when you’ll love something or not. Good points: Transition to the university of your choice is slightly easier. You’re given a chance even though you don’t quite make the grade. Bad points: Didn’t really like the environment. If I’m not careful, I might end up with the wrong company and not take things seriously.

Collected a number of brochures and even application forms. Will need to really look through everything and decide when I get back home. Right now am more favourable of UIUC, DePaul and Millikin. Also will be resitting for SAT to get a better score. Although my current score is ok to apply for schools but I think I want to get a better score so to have higher chance of getting accepted to those schools I apply to.

I like the flexibility here. Back home, it’s like do or die. You’re “forced” to choose something and either you stick to it or drop out. Here, I can enter university as a freshman with an undeclared major if I haven’t really made up my mind on what to major in. I take some general subjects in the first year and by Junior year, I should decide on my major. Even if I declare my major as a freshman, I can also switch majors if I sort of decide on something else. They say that most freshmen switch majors at least 3-4 times. Not that I really want to do that but it’s not something unheard of.

People are given chances if they really want to learn. Like I talked about community colleges earlier. Back home, it’s either you make the grade or not. And it’s not about which college or university you’ve been. As the academic advisor in Millikin said, when employers look at your resume, they are not going to bother about which education path you chose but what you learnt and what you can offer the company. Hopefully that’s the same with companies in Singapore.

Next entry will talk about non-academic stuff…see you!

One thought on “the academic bit

  1. hey dear c you on Sat for lunch k? ahhh..190 hmk 2 just killed us like everyone..hehe..2 exams next wk! de-stress me when you c me..=p miss having u arnd!

    elisia says: Yay! Must not forget to take photos with you this time round. 190 is the CS subject right? Ermz…kinda felt bad that I could not answer the questions you and Wei Hong asked simply coz I kinda forgot most of it. That is the bad part about me, cannot really retain stuff I learn unless I read up then it will all come back to me. Maybe when I get home, I will dig out my poly notes and scan them in for you. I swear it is much easier to understand than how it is being lectured right now. Good luck for your exams and don’t stress yourself too much. I’m sure you can do it!

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