Late night study at Wolfson Library 2am

7 day work week, 9am to 2am, no work or health benefits πŸ˜›

Haha, that very much describes my employment benefits on my current occupation. Life as a student do have their ups and downs and I bet no one can deny that exam time is one of the main nightmares one can face. Where it’s not the long late nights studying, surviving only on coffee or energy drinks.

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The picture on the left is my college library at 2am today, something I myself will see more often in the coming days. There are usually many sides to this at this time of the year, most will start studying, some will just laugh at it in their face only for reality to set in later, some just don’t study at all. Ironically, for most overseas students including Singaporeans, it’s the “mugging season” (a term strangely only synonymous among Singaporeans).

Everyone here all have an ‘A’ level background and most Singaporean students here are either scholars and/or top students from their Junior colleges. With it comes their own set of expectations and habits which in my observation can be quite hard to break! Not to mention the perception of relativity as well. For instance saying “fail” does not physically mean failing, it means that they did not get their string of “As” which they are so accustomed to getting, go figure!

I still have lots to learn about them, just like an anthropologist curiously discovering a new sapient species- somehow what I’ve discovered so far are that they are able to withstand spending all their time studying locked up in their room without any social interaction & they most often do it in secrecy. It really interesting for a Polytechnic kid like me to see how they “tick”, considering I am the only of my kind here!

Loaded revision study table

For my effective study methods, I tend to prefer group studies, as it allows interaction and able to “know and learn what you don’t know” but it seems that the culture here (or maybe in my immediate group of Singaporeans) things are rather different, everyone here is like all out for themselves. I did manage to form a study group with some locals and Malaysians but strangely it seems that most Singaporeans here prefer to study alone, well until I drag them out of their closets! Blunder!

Time ticks towards the exams I never thought would come so soon, time is as precious as something money can’t buy even there are opportunity costs for typing this blog post now even at 4am after my night revisions and lacking sleep the next day- a viscous cycle. I never saw myself studying so hard before, I have 4 papers to take in a little more than a week’s time and I am no where close to even finishing revision let be having enough time to do past year papers. Then there will always come the time where you just keep asking yourself why are you doing this to yourself, or how the heck did you get yourself into this shit, is really studying so hard all that matters? In the end, does it even matter?

All my seniors seeing our state will simply smile and shrug us off, telling us to relax, it’s only our first year! But mind you I am not looking for a reason to be complacent and the thought of the workload being harder next year is simply not reassuring as well.

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It’s a fact that given more than enough time, anyone can get good grades in an exam. It’s the ability to do well with a given set of restrictions, in this case a breakneck lecture pace and lack of time which sets students apart, irregardless of their intelligence or abilities. Somehow it seems not about being the brightest of the lot but the most exam smart (which makes you wonder whether is it against exam objectives) and one of the reasons why I personally prefer coursework and projects (Seconded by my director of studies too). We do get projects on the third year, but there are still exams! After all, the exams here as exclaimed by lecturers are “designed to tax even the most capable students”. Bummer!

Anyway, the grades for the first and second years here in Cambridge don’t count to the final grade. πŸ˜› So somehow the thought of just being able to get on the second year is a simple objective for many here, including my of the local British kids here (who are still partying and playing this time of the year). Few medics I know in other colleges are still playing computer games with exams just next week.

I hate studying!

“I tried so hard and got so far. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter” – Linkin Park

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