May 20, 2012

Life so far

has been pretty full of work and meeting friends when I have the time. My days have been really packed, and it's been tiring but amazing. My legs need a rebirth. Working as a waitress has killed them. I'm such a whiny pig.

I've also made up my mind to be a part of Yale-NUS College. Was a little unsure initially, but the Experience Yale-NUS weekend was amazing. Met a bunch of great people and made awesome friends. At midnight our Taboo game turned into a get-to-know-you-a-little-better session, so the group of about ten or more of us shared about the reasons our parents gave us our names (my parents named me after Karen Carpenter, the one who sang 'Top of the World' and...died of anorexia), the stupidest things we've ever done, etc.

Then suddenly at about two in the morning things started to get more serious.We talked about things like how the reason CIP doesn't work like it should is that we help with the mindset of a giver, someone who's superior in a sense, and it's so essential to treat those we're giving assistance to like an equal, nothing more than a genuine friend. And how alcohol being allowed on campus at Yale but not in NUS reflects how the Western mindset involves giving one the responsibility to make his own choices and learn from his own mistakes, whereas here, we're more likely to step in and protect those whom we feel will make the mistakes, because the risks are too large; they can't afford to make those mistakes now.

How the education system and the mindsets of parents here have caused most of our students to be uninspired, unmotivated to delve deeper into knowledge. Here, we don't inspire curiosity. My friends say I'm lucky not to have taken Chemistry or Biology in junior college because it would have killed my interest in it. I've heard of too many people who've had their passions killed. Music and art students vowing not to pursue a career in those areas. Chemistry students simply hating the subject after two years of madness.

How there are people with valuable work attributes that can't be recognised on paper because of the way our system is structured, and therefore don't catch the eye of potential employers. How our workforce - or student body - or society has become largely uninspired, dispassionate. Dylan was talking about how there hasn't been a real breakthrough in physics for too long, and we realised it was also probably because in the past, you could make a thousand failures before finding success. Now, there's no time for failures, not enough time and money to waste on something that might not turn out right. Stick to the safe route; don't allow too much space for trial and error.

At one point Dylan was quite disturbed by how everyone seemed so passionate and informed about history and politics, and he was just...a scientist who really just wanted to do science. Would he be able to find anyone who shared his interest in Physics? Would he simply be surrounded by people who didn't share his interests, would he be alone?

It was then that we all became really excited about the liberal arts programme. We have a bunch of students, each with different academic interests and abilities, each possibly unable to understand another's field of interest. Like, I love literature and linguistics, and I never understood physics or politics, although I'd love to. Here at Yale-NUS, being made to take classes outside my little area of interest will open me up to so many different things,and I'll also have the friends who have these various interests. Besides taking different modules, we should also teach our friends. Let them into our own world; introduce them to our areas of interest. Unlike online resources which are usually really opaque and don't start from the fundamentals, we'll be able to bring things down to a level that's understandable for our schoolmates, and slowly bring them deeper into the subject. As we teach our friends about our own areas of interests and learn about other subjects from them in return, we'll all grow in our understanding of the world, and with greater enlightenment also comes greater curiosity.


The Facebook group has been so alive and amazing too, and getting to know everyone there has been so much fun. I just can't wait for things to start. Yale-NUS is only opening in 2013 so I'll be taking a gap year; I really hope to go overseas with a pal or two, take up driving and maybe resume my piano lessons, hopefully pick up the guitar...and go to bible school! Can't wait.

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