Mechanical pencils comment
23.7.17

I was refilling my mechanical pencil nib when my mind took me on a brief detour through one of my most profound childhood memories. Mechanical pencils, or better known as pensel tekan in the local slang, have had a special connection with me for a very long time. Ever since I was a young lass in elementary school, I had this special piece of stationery tagging along with me wherever I would go. It isn't the most special piece of belonging to me now that I'm in college, but back when I was in elementary, it was the most precious thing I would hold on to. I can still vividly remember the self-contained fad I had with mechanical pencils. It was an insatiable obsession. You can say I was a craycray kid back then and I wouldn't mind because I knew just how irrational I would get at some point.

Back in those days, mechanical pencils were like a measure of how rich you were in class. I am not sure though if this was just me, as I was admittedly one hell of a mechanical pencil freak. But I do recall a few classmates deliberately flaunting their new mechanical pencils every time they got a new, fancy one. I remember having a keen eye for the "rich" mechanical pencils. The ones with the Pilot Shaker always grabbed my attention. Especially the 0.7.

All hail the mighty Pilot the Shaker

I was not one of those rich kids though. So I would save up whatever balance money I have left from my daily RM2 pocket money and coupled with an ungodly act of flicking some of my mother's coin savings in her woven "piggy bank", I would buy a new pensel tekan almost every twice a month. I'm sorry mum if you're reading this πŸ˜…. Those 50-cent coins that often ran dry in stock was because of me.

I remember being the subject of envy among my sisters whenever they saw my growing pensel tekan collection. They would give me the suspicious look, but then I would come up with some "convincing" stories about how I had ikat perut and not eaten a few times just to save enough for mechanical pencil. They would leave me alone after a while. I guess they chose to give me the benefit of the doubt as they didn't want to get me all fierce and defensive, the typical kid that I was back thenπŸ˜‚.

So now with my collection of mechanical pencils growing with each new, better, fancier ones coming it at a fast rate, I didn't know where to store the older, less nice ones that didn't serve me any purpose anymore. You guessed it, I traded it. My sisters were obviously my first victims. I convinced them into trading their more cooler stuffs with my less-worthy mechanical pencils- which lasted only so long until it's fateful demise. They would come back trying to harass me into returning their goods but I would fight them off to their holes because "a deal is a deal", I would tell them.

I remember at age 10 when I was in Year 4, we were shifted to our neighbour secondary school due to overcrowding in our primary school. I would find mechanical pencils under the desks. I was that I-see-it-I-take-it kind of kid. "Finder's keepers", I thought. On top of this, I tried to convince myself that these older kids in secondary were "rich" enough to afford a new Pilot mechanical pencil when they could afford to own one in the first place. I went so berserk, obsessive and compulsive to the point of stealing two of my Moral class classmates' mechanical pencils. Needless to say, I was overcome by a lot of guilt in the aftermath. My uncle used to say, "once is a mistake, twice is still forgivable but thrice is a habit". I was sure to not make it to the third time.

my loyal Pilot 0.7

On a side note, I wish I could have convinced my younger self that I would one day be able to afford the 0.7 Pilot mechanical pencil of my dreams. I was pathetically desperate, in retrospect.




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Life in MMU at a glance comment
15.7.17

So it's been nearly 3 weeks now since I enrolled and started campus life in Multimedia University. I have observed a lot of difference in terms of the environment and people here as compared to my student life back in UNITEN. Yeah, I mean sure, it took me near three weeks to finally sit down and rant about my new chapter.


Just a bit of a back story..

 My dad and I were kinda lost on our way to MMU Cyberjaya from Rawang, where my dad had picked me up from home. All along I was apprehensive and excited at the same time. Woah great, a new chapter, a new beginning for me. Well, it was somewhat a new start, although I had already been pursuing my B.CS in UNITEN for about two weeks before I got a scholarship offer to study in MMU. I thought maybe, just maybe I could start over, be a more studious jane and what not; just about all the kind of aspiration one would have when going to a new place. I thought maybe this is my chance to ditch what ever old habits I had before, like hanging out till late night, socializing with the wrong kind of people, being unorganized and lazy, etc. So I found my mind pondering on all of these. The next three years of my life is going to be spent here. What comes after that depends on how well I live up to opportunities and how well I make use of the resources around me, and basically how well I manage my life during my undergrad.

***

  • Living cost
 After a series of monologs and hefty ponderings, I tapped back into reality as my dad stopped by at a grocery store for me to buy my necessities for the next whole month in a place where I am not even the slightest bit familiarized with yet. I stocked up a bit more than usual as I was not sure when I could do my next grocery and provision shopping. In retrospect, I think I have to take credit for myself for being a little wise back then. It's almost mid-July and my allowance is still not in. Not to mention the cost of living here is way too high. I'm not sure about other people but during my time back in UNITEN, I found myself being able to survive with at least 15-20 bucks per week on outside food. Whereas here in MMU, I can hardly go by three days with a meager 20 bucks. That and with the cost of forced printing of lecture notes. I say forced because well we are 1)compelled by lecturers to print notes. Most friends and fellow classmates I know of do prefer printing out lecture notes for reference. But as for me 2) I personally prefer referring to e-versions of these notes as 3) I hate doing the paperwork, filing and all that. Also, 4) I find it a lot easier carrying my notes as PDF's in my a more pocket-friendly phone.


  • Demographics
An interesting thing most prospective students like to know is the demographics of the small population belonging to an institution. I didn't really think it was a big deal until I started studies here. It's only been three weeks, and thus I am not sure if my reckoning is right but based on rough observation, I would say that the university has a predominant number of Chinese students. My two roommates are also Chinese and the thing about most Chinese students is, they're bloody hell hard-working although to a certain extent they do prove to be effortless- take for example the well-known stereotype that Chinese are good at math and their plain sharp-wit. I can sure as hell affirm that, from what I see in my own roommates daily. Stereotypes don't exist for nothing. Needless to say, I am to a great extent influenced by these smarty-pants in my dorm. Apart from that, there's also a sizeable community of foreign students over here at MMU. The Malay students' population come in at a figure roughly about the size as in UNITEN. Not many Indian students have been spotted around.


  • Study environment
 The environment here is pretty decent and nice, although the size of the campus is a lot smaller compared to UNITEN's. I mean a smaller campus does not imply that it's any less nice or lacking in facilities compared to a bigger one although I have yet to check out the available facilities around MMU. In fact, convenience is of the essence. Unlike my time back in UNITEN where I would have to wake up early to get the bus on time to class at another end and not to mention how much I would have to consider to get back to the hostel in between during long break periods, classes are conveniently of a walking distance from my hostel dorm here at MMU. During break time, I can walk back to hostel to quickly catch a power nap or take a refreshing shower before the next class. There's also a digital library, the Siti Hasmah Digital Library. Registered students and staffs are able to access FYP's, digital databases, thesis and much more including viewing status of borrowed books/ book loans in the library's digital repository and convenient online system. Heck, us freshies were even required to attend a briefing session with the library and we were assessed at the end of it. There's also a 24-hour study/collaborating area making for just the right study ambiance for night owls and all-nighters. 

***

Thoughts...

I don't think I have fully explored all there is to MMU Cyberjaya yet to come to a conclusion about the university. But from experience, I can say that I was in for a very quick and serious jumpstart into my lecture lessons, not the usual thing I was accustomed to back in UNITEN. I was pretty laid back prior, to say the least. Judging from how life started rolling in with momentum from the very first week of my tender dwelling here, I don't think I can be that happy-go-lucky kind of lass that I was before, I doubt.πŸ™‡πŸ˜‚


Occasionally I do reminisce about all the memories I garnered from my time in UNITEN. All those late night talks, juicy secrets and crazy stuffs with my best buddy, Darshiniy. And well there's just so much more that I could go about but time be merciful to me. So much happened in just a year. I don't think I can ever forget UNITEN. And my friends. And my lecturers. And the infamous UNITEN lake where I was most often spotted at πŸ˜‚.

My official MMU mugshot



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YTM Talent-A scholarship selection programme comment
9.6.17

I actually attended the selection programme last Wednesday but here I am writing my experience after a week later πŸ‘€


I was surprised to get an SMS and an email notification from YTM as I was not expecting to hear from YTM after the application closed some two months back. I didn't think I would pass the application stage as I had not had much luck with YTM application the year before and almost any scholarship applications for that matter πŸ˜‚ . Four days before the selection programme was held, I received a notification stating that I had been shortlisted for the YTM Talent-A scholarship selection programme. The programme was held at TM convention center @ Pantai Bharu.

Unlike the scholarship experiences that I have read up online which stated that there was first an online IQ test conducted followed by an EQ camp for shortlisted candidates, this year's program tentative was a little different - all stages was wrapped up into a single day; stage 1 was an IQ test followed by stage 2 in which further shortlisted candidates are to sit for a digital assesment, then came stage 3 which had the remaining candidates grouped into smaller groups and given a case study to discuss. The last stage was probably the most long-awaited albeit dreaded stage- a one-to-one interview with a panel of two.

The programme was due to start at 7.30 am. Yes, 7.30 am. I figured I would hop in a uber at 6.00 am to the nearest KTM and get down at KL Sentral and then board an LRT to Kerinchi and walk up to the building. But a very, very, very good unimate of mine suggested otherwise; He would drive me all the way to the venue. How thoughtful of him. I was spared the concern of reaching the place on time.

I arrived at TM convention center an hour early. I waited at the lounge with another candidate who had arrived earlier. Not long after that, candidates arrived one after another, filling up the lounge area. At sharp 8.00 am the programme commenced with registration. We were divided into two big groups. Soon after the registration, us, candidates from group 1 were asked to proceed to level 3 to sit for an IQ test. The very first stage happened to be our biggest fear. Pass this stage and you get to proceed to the next stage, don't pass this stage and you have to pack your bags back. The IQ test comprised of three assessments, namely verbal, arithmetic and abstract reasoning. I would rate the test somewhere along the range of intermediate. I did think I performed a little poorly at the arithmetic part. So many questions to be completed within a short period of time! For that reason, I warranted myself to think I would never pass the test. I was plagued with the burden of anxiety and uncertainty.

Fast forward after some briefing and touring around the TM building, the results for the IQ test was announced. Not the test marks itself but the name of the candidates whose test scores were above average. One after another got up to their names being called and proceeded to the escalator. I waited anxiously for my name to be called. I will never forget that wait to be one of the most agonizing wait I've ever had πŸ˜‚. After what seemed like an eternity, my name was called. I too joined the rest outside and followed the facilitator to level 3 once again to sit for yet another assessment - the Digital Assessment. Relief seemed to have filled the whole atmosphere. Yes, good that I have passed the IQ test, now what's a digital assessment all about? Everyone seemed to be clueless about what the test was about. I tried googling to know what a digital assessment is while I had some free time to spare but to no avail. I decided I would try my chances with the test.

Well the test turned out to be a series of multiple choice questions, about 24 in all. The questions at a glance seemed to be about current innovations and development of technology in the IT world. I thought I had quite an advantage there as I had a background of pre-u studies in computer science. I was wrong. The questions were hard, to say the least. It centered around outrages questions like "Which hybrid car was the first in the world to be mass-produced for commercial purposes?"and "What is LTE?", among few others. I don't know for sure if this stage was actually a screening stage as I think every candidate who pulled through the IQ test was automatically enlisted to undergo all the subsequent stages.

Next came the long-awaited lunch break. The Muslims proceeded to the surau to perform their zohor prayers. A facilitator had come up to each one of us non-Muslims to ask for our choice of meal in menu - a Secret Recipe menu πŸ’•. I had picked Fish and Chips.We then followed the same faci to the Secret Recipe restaurant at a TM building right across the one we were previously in. The whole time I was just marveling at the niceness of the Malay-majority staffs who had sponsored us non-Muslims some really good food. One of the faci who was there to chaperone us even joined us at our table while we were eating. She was a Muslim who was fasting that day for the month of Ramadan.

After lunch and prayers, we were once again gathered at the lounge. After everyone was gathered, we were called individually and placed in smaller groups. Each group was then assisted by a designated faci to their respective rooms where we discussed a case study based on a topic given. My group was given the case "Sharing is Caring?" along with a paragraph about contemporary controversies under the name of "sharing". We were given 10 minutes to jot down our points and another 30 minutes to discuss. I initiated the discussion and I was shaky a little at first as I had inadvertently called for attention out of a sudden πŸ˜‚. I thought to myself that I was going to talk as much as I can during the discussion but at the same time respect the other members' opinions and give room for everyone else to talk too. The discussion went well, apart from a few diversions in between, we got back to the root of the topic with a wrap that I made just in time before time was up. The panel then instructed us to wait outside.

After that, we waited at a common area in the same floor. I was really tired at this point. It was 3.30 pm and I was feeling like a zombie already. Cliched but you get the point. I was half asleep when my name was called after waiting for about an hour. I was hoping so earnestly that I will not mess up the last stage. I tried hard to resist succumbing to sleepiness and tiredness. I faked a confident stride and entered the interview room and greeted the same panel who had assessed my group earlier. The panel first introduced themselves. That's when I realized that they were holding some really high pose in TM. The male interviewer (I've forgotten the panel's names) was a manager or so at Menara KL and the female interviewer was head of the IT department in TM. Then came my turn to introduce myself. They told me to tell them about myself and my past achievements, personal achievements and just about anything that I'm proud of. I panicked. They wanted me to keep talking and they'll just listen. gulp. "My name is Evangelista...you can call me Grace...studied...". I went about my achievements, which were admittedly no where near great. It was just some mediocre-level achievements back in school and in uni. Tons of err and umss in between. I was trying too hardπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. The interviewers were mostly deadpan and didn't say much. They asked me then where do I see myself in 5 years to which I replied something along the lines of becoming an established programmer. Unrealistic but okay, best shot I could give at that timeπŸ˜‚. They then threw me a last question which was the only question I felt proud about my answer. The question was "How would you like to contribute to society with the course that you're pursuing?". Hard question. Had I not prepared and rehearsed my response with this kind of question earlier, I don't think I would have been able to maintain a straight face. The panel seemed pleased with my response(after being deadpan for so long they finally displayed some facial expression, smh).

"That's all from us, you have anything to ask us?"

whaaattt?? that's all? I gave them a baffled look.

The interview only lasted for a brief 20 minutes. 

I asked them a few questions about the scholarship before exchanging pleasantries once again and wishing each other well. I took an LRT and then a train back to UNITEN. I reached back at hostel by dusk.


  • Thoughts 

The selection programme went by well. This was my first time attending a full scholarship selection programme (previously only interviews and/or IQ tests) and successfully making it to the final stage. I was not particularly satisfied about how I presented myself during the interview. I could have said this..could have said that instead..So many thoughts raced across my mind whilst commuting back to hostel. I doubted that I would ever get the scholarship. "It's probably gonna end up like the rest", I thought. This was my umpteenth time applying for a scholarship and probably the 7th time attending a scholarship interview, if my count is right. I convinced myself then that even if it does end up like the rest, I am sure as hell had some improvements and some lessons and experience to take back for next time.

A few days passed by and I opened my email only to receive an unforeseen joy. I have been chosen to be awarded the scholarship!

 
I shrieked in joy. It was too much happiness to contain. I jumped around like crazy and hugged my roomie, Dashy. All this at 1 in the morning πŸ˜‚.

Sorry that this post ended up being too long. But thanks for reading this far :)

I'll rant more about the scholarship on an upcoming post - YTM Scholarship award.

Until then, bye for now and be sure to check back soon ;)



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Post-foundation and Degree commencement comment
25.5.17

It's been nearly a week since the commencement of a new semester and hence, my bachelor's degree programme. Two weeks prior I had completed my foundation studies in Computer Science. Then came the long awaited sem break right after finals. I don't remember having accomplished much during the break apart from diving into the basics of JavaScript - the long-delayed language which I had enlisted as an agenda to tick off alongside learning the front-end CSS and HTML some few years back. Oh and not to mention, back to back episodes of the all new season of Shingeki No Kyojin ✌


*picture intentionally blurred
[left]Foundation ID, [right]Degree ID
Not much difference, aye?

 I had made up my mind a long time ago about taking Software Engineering simply because of the enthralling prospects that hopefully lie ahead, specifically developing apps and building websites. I am aware that while my course aims to prepare graduates for just that, much of what is in the course outline surely is going to involve a lot of things that I have never heard of and probably a considerable number of subjects and topics that I would not like learningπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Either way, like it or not, I think what every college student should know by now is that their college major plays a main role in determining their career later on down the road. And that every one of them should do themselves a favor by investing some time to carefully pick out a course to study and then get mentally prepared to undergo it within a considerable span of time.

 Viewing degree life from a rather 'pseudo' big picture seems pretty exciting and challenging to say the least. From what I have attended so far that were only introductory classes for my sem 1 subjects, I can already tell, and well perhaps anyone can tell that it's not going to be as easy as foundation. Speaking of foundation, my whole one year of foundation studies in retrospect was pleasant albeit challenging on a mediocre level. I had garnered a lot along the way, course lessons and life lessons alike. College life is very happening and hardly a day goes by where I can just laze off the day hibernating in a slumber in the comfort of my bed. That said, there was however plenty of time for rest provided I have kept in par with lessons and prep myself with early and necessary preparations and not cram on the eleventh hour instead πŸ˜‚. Been there, done that.
le official foundation transcript

Well I guess that's a wrap for now. Until next time, cheers to a prosperous degree life to all freshmen out there!

Thanks for your time and have a nice weekend ahead.



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