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    Saturday, April 17, 2010
    What have I learnt in this semester..

    What is this semester about? About CS3216? Not really. I think it's more about life. And I think I had a wonderful semester to conclude my years of studying life.

    What have I learnt? I actually dislike this kind of topic because I can't seem to be able to pen down what exactly I have learnt because a lot of stuff are intangibles I dunno how to explain them in words. I guess there's still a lot for me to improve.

    So looking back at my past 30 blog entries (ya 30.. I didn't realise I wrote so much), I realised that I wasn't really just learning what was actually presented during the lecture. My thinking seemed to have changed, and I'm getting more and more used to writing.

    I admit that I used to care a lot about my CAP. But I think I'm not grade-centered. Instead, I'm more result oriented. Who cares about how much effort you put in? In the end only the result matters. I'm also very focused on what I think I should do in order to achieve good results. I prefer things to be well organised so that I can slowly work towards my goal. There is no such thing as instant success, if you want to be successful, you need to work towards your goal.

    I thought CS3216 would be the same, the module is divided into different portions with % allocated for each component, you just have to grab as much % as possible in each component, and you will be on track to get an A, but I was wrong. CS3216 is not about teaching you stuff, it's a module for you to learn independently and for you to get a chance to execute something you want. I think CS3216 is sort of like a motivational + entrepreneurship course, although I don't really know if I'm right because I've neither attended a motivational nor an entrepreneurship course before. It's also a jungle survival course, as we are thrown somewhere in the middle of the jungle, and we must learn and adapt in order to survive in this harsh environment. (Actually this mimics life.)

    That is why I was very unreceptive of Prof's words that school is unimportant and grades doesn't matter when I first entered this course. Prof mentioned about people who dropped out of school and became successful. That is why grades are unimportant. I didn't really understand why it is so that time. It's totally opposite of my beliefs. My beliefs that grades are important started when I tried to apply for internship back then. I remembered that I was chosen for many of the interviews that I've applied and out of 5, 4 replied me and 2 accepted me. My friends' internship journey weren't that smooth, although they all still secured an internship in the end. That was when I realise that our grades are important, as it helps you get a chance to be interviewed and get recruited. I want to secure more of these chances, that is why I focus so much on my grades from then on. Actually now that I'm graduating, I realised that grades are pretty important to help you get interview chances too.

    Then about half a semester later, Prof suddenly had an impromptu session which talked about grades, scholarships and meritocracy, and that's when I realise that his definition of not important is different from my definition of not important. I agreed with him and understand a lot more things. From then on, I think I really 开窍 a lot. Without grades, there are still a lot of different ways to get employed, just that I chose the route that most people choose without questioning why.

    Another thing I've learnt is about making choices, and this relates to streaming in the educational system. Prof mentioned that if your child is given a chance to go into 2 different streams, make sure you choose the lower one. It's a lot better to be at the top of the lower stream than to be the worst at the higher stream. Actually I was one of the victims of streaming too. I was in EM1 when I was in primary school and special stream in secondary school. It wasn't that bad in primary school because I wasn't really the worst but in secondary school, I was the rock bottom student in the entire school. My level of confidence really took a great dip. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't improve, so I might as well stay at the bottom. I believe that I'm lousy, and I shouldn't have continued studying since my brain can only accept that much information. In secondary 4, just before the 'O' level examinations, the principal asked us if we want to get retained so that we can study for 1 more year. At that level of standard, we DEFINITELY WOULD NOT BE ABLE to pass my 'O' levels.

    I didn't heed that advice in the end and continued with 'O's, and luckily I scraped through. I entered PJC which was a new school then. At that place, at first I was still quite demoralised and unmotivated, until my first common test when I did quite well as compared to the others. FYI, I just managed to pass while most of my friends failed. Thus, it gave me a great boost in my confidence and in my 2nd common test, I did quite well for most of my subjects, except Physics. However, due to my over-confidence and complacency, I didn't do well for my 'A' levels.

    So what prof actually say makes sense, to be the top of the lower level is better than the bottom of the top level. However, maybe it isn't that true in the lowest levels because the nurture factor may cause the students to be demoralised too. "Teachers really don't care about lousy students, and despise them too" That's what I heard from my friend in normal tech in my secondary school.

    So after saying so much above, what I've actually learnt is to analyse things better from various perspective so that I could make better sense out of things.

    I also learnt that life is about choices, so think it through before making decisions, but do not regret after making it but look forward and make the best out of your choice.

    Next, I understand that we all can do a lot of things if we dare to try. In the past, I would have jumped into programming straight away as that's my forte and I know I can do well in it. However, I realised that the programming guys here are actually elites and they can do a lot much things in a faster time. So during MisMatch, I took a step back to try and do something that I'm not familiar with, design. Actually the initial designer was Li Yen, but she has and she wants to do the actionscript herself too. Thinking that she has too much work in her hands, I took over the design part partially because my brother is a designer.

    The first time I open illustrator was when I felt very lost. I don't understand what each tool does because I've totally not touch it before. I keep bugging my brother until he got frustrated with me and don't want to care about me. So I've no choice but to learn everything online and it was a slow and torturing process. But the results I got was quite satisfactory, at least imo.

    In Google Wave project, we wanted to start developing the gadget on flex and I started to read up on them. However, Mr Continent, Angad, hopes that he can solo it himself so I end up creating pictures, writing reports, and developing small functionalities like Wave Embed which Mr Continent do not wish to care about.

    For the final project, design sort of became the biggest scope of what I'm doing, although I did more marketing than design imo. I've a lot of marketing ideas in my mind and I listed all of them out for discussion and see which are more feasible than the others. Luckily my team are cooperative people and everybody is encouraged to do things that we think might succeed. Execution was carried out pretty well initally, until we realised that Wai Hong is unable to contribute much because of his very heavy workload. Thus, we improvise and I'm happy that we did quite well, at least for now.

    So what have I learnt here, is that we can do a lot of things if we dare to try. But the first step is to step out of your comfort zone and try something different. You will be surprised at your potential, and even if you don't succeed, at least you tried. Of course I learnt design and put my marketing skills to use too haha.

    The next one I've learnt is that words seems harsher than they are when it's not said but written out. Actually if you map the face and the comments together, you will realise that it isn't such a big deal, but when you remove the face, it does seems harsh, for you will interpret it in your own tone. That is why sometimes staring incidents evolved into fights. And I will try to avoid that next time.

    And well, through these very different project scopes I've done, I've learnt more about team management too. I understand that things should be said out instead of keeping them in our hearts because if you don't say, they won't know. So try and communicate and iron out problems before anything happens. I also learnt more technical skills too. But I guess all these are trivial. The things that are important in CS3216 are the things you can't really learn own your own or you don't seem to be able to grasp it. (to Prof they are common sense, but for us it doesn't seem as common to us, until we actually think it through)

    There are definitely more things that I've learnt in this short semester but I guess I shall end it here because it's getting a bit long (and my train of thought broke when my mum ask me to send my grandma back home). I guess this is going to be my last entry here and well, blogging will not end because I've another blog and I would be continuing my blogging over there. Well, I just like to retain memories, that is why The Mood Diary came about? Looking back at the past 10+ blog posts, don't you think that they are memories worth keeping?

    Thank you everyone, for making this module possible and the experience would never be the same if it weren't the same guys in this class. Stay happy and stay hungry (for knowledge). :)

    Labels:


    Mr. WiRuS CraCk HeaD DoiNG ProGRaMMiNG @ 1:04 AM

    7 Comments:

    Blogger Shannon said...

    Yup, the great thing about you is that you will do stuff outside of your specialization voluntarily (: It really helps in a team. Though try not to get over-distracted by other stuff that may not be your strength imho unless there's no choice. Though ofc you can work to improve them (:

    April 17, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
    Blogger Ben Leong said...

    I think CS3216 is sort of like a motivational + entrepreneurship course

    You are actually quite right. Some of the stuff I've been doing are quite heavily influenced by the Anthony Robbins school of thought. Like I said before, I'm trying to fix mindsets.

    And you were scolded earlier in the semester because I was of the view that you had a mindset problem.

    开窍 is the absolutely the right word for what I'm trying to achieve. Can you try to explain this more for your non-Chinese-speaking friends?

    so what prof actually say makes sense, to be the top of the lower level is better than the bottom of the top level. However, maybe it isn't that true in the lowest levels because the nurture factor may cause the students to be demoralised too. "Teachers really don't care about lousy students, and despise them too" That's what I heard from my friend in normal tech in my secondary school.

    This does not contradict what I say. Obviously, what I said has the assumption of ceteris paribus or "for all things being equal". If you send crap teachers to the good students, they also jialat. Also, remember Yanjie's example of Northlight School?

    April 17, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
    Blogger Dienasty said...

    I loved this blog post. I'm not sure why, but I tend to enjoy reading opinions, and it's really quite cool when you took us through your experience of the module, all the way from Facebook to Wave to FP.

    Great job, Hong Jun. Good luck for your future job interviews. =)

    April 17, 2010 at 1:00 PM  
    Blogger WiRuS said...

    @Shannon: yup.. that sounds true too. We still do our best in our core competency I guess.

    @Prof: Yup I agree. However, this world is never equal nor fair. Thus we have to exercise judgment when making decisions.

    @Cedric: :) Thanks. I love your blog posts too..

    @All: 开窍 is actually enlightenment, I think that's the best word to describe it. If you all have other explanations, feel free to add on.

    April 17, 2010 at 9:19 PM  
    Blogger Li Yen said...

    And I think I had a wonderful semester to conclude my years of studying life.
    I rather I am year 1 now. Missed out a lot of fun :(

    I have learnt because a lot of stuff are intangibles I dunno how to explain them in words
    Agreed. Learnt doesn't means u hv understood. When Only when u understood, u can apply it. N only when u can apply what u understood u hv enlighted. After being enlighted, u may hv forgot u have actually learnt it.

    I realised that grades are pretty important to help you get interview chances too.
    One more thing grades are important for... to get a higher starting salary!

    Prof mentioned that if your child is given a chance to go into 2 different streams, make sure you choose the lower one. It's a lot better to be at the top of the lower stream than to be the worst at the higher stream.

    I don't really agree to this. It really depends. Sometimes the child's potential has not fully emitted. And putting him into the lower stream restrict his chances of being expose to greater opportunites. N this go against what Prof Ben always says "What don't kill you makes you stronger". U sure he said that?

    April 19, 2010 at 2:40 AM  
    Blogger Ben Leong said...

    @Li Yen,

    I don't really agree to this. It really depends.

    You definitely don't have to agree with me. When you have your own kids, you can decide on what to do. Do take what I say as a data point for consideration. :-)

    April 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM  
    Blogger Li Yen said...

    @Prof:

    How about the choice btn poly and ITE? No parents would want their child to go ITE right? Don't want him to mix with bad companies also (the percentage there seems higher)...

    Btw, i rather my child gets to make his own choice then i decide for him. I would guide him by providing him the pros and cons of either choice. Don't want him to do sth he don't like or blame me for making the wrong choice in the future.

    April 19, 2010 at 12:36 PM  

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