31 December 2012

nye '12

Delicious food and the company of family is a good way to end the year.
(sorry the crappy white balance)


30 December 2012

flashback 04

k this will be the last of them, onwards is new years resolution and 2013 :]

To correct a past statement, the biggest change of university is not sleep deprivation but living in dorms. And it is awesome (with juuuust a few drawbacks: loud neighbours, boring food, and no wifi in rooms T_T).

Before moving in, I wasn't too apprehensive about having to share almost everything with a roommate. This is mostly thanks to Shad and Lisa-Marie's awesomeness. While my new roommate and I didn't gossip late into the night too often (all thanks to problem sets), she is an absolute saint for putting up with me haha (hi Tania :D)

Luckily, Chestnut has several conveniences that softens the transition from home to dorm. Since the building is re-purposed from an old hotel, there's a bathroom in every room and weekly cleaning services. Without the two, dorm life would be rather miserable. Unluckily, my floor happens to be the 2 out of 26 floors that has single beds, the elevators are beyonddd sketch (this is the first thing I mention to anyone that comes over), and the food has gotten worse over the course of the semester.

Speaking of food, meal time is the absolute best. It's about the only time when everyone is together and not stressing out over work haha. There's always so much laughter, mainly cause our maturity levels has clearly not improved (or has even decreased) since high school and we tease (success of which varies greatly from person to person) each other about any and everything. It's rather unbelievable how close I feel to my new group of friends.

Sentiments aside, a few practical notes on dorm living:
  • I've accepted that hoodies and other lounge-wear as necessities.
  • It's actually quite easy to smuggle food out of the cafe.
  • You can never have too many storage bins, or cups/tumblers.  A basic set of utensils is useful as well.
  • It is imperative to stock up on snacks during the weekends back home.
  • The cloths I wear is a much much smaller subset of the cloths I brought. 
  • Cloths (and notes) will inevitably end up every where. I blame the second law of thermo.
  • Have fluffy bedding and you will be the envy of all. 
  • Also useful to have extra pillows/cushions to make sitting on the floor more comfortable. 
  • Bring lots of power outlets since plugs will vastly outnumber outlets. The outlets also seem to be intentionally placed is impossible to access places. 
  • Most importantly, learn to sleep with excess light and noise.

29 December 2012


  • found a Rome metro ticket in my coat pocket from Gritaly
  • chatted with Rui about our rosy tinted visions of the future, which gets closer and closer
  • went through old photos dating back to grade 8 (incidentally when this blog was started)

ahh so much nostalgia @_@

Semester 1 passed by in a flash,
Grade 12 went by really fast too,
The rest of high school just blurs together,
and rather complete memory juuuust stretches back to grade 8.

I've changed so much from back then haha. I clearly remember being told by a family friend that her first impression of me was when I came into the room, talked really loudly and walked just around everywhere. Also recall when I was really young, I ran around everywhere and complained that my parents can't keep up with my pace. So to defend my present day laziness, all my energy was spent back then.

So to conclude, here's a quotation that I came across long long ago:
The only permanent thing in the world is change.
(swear I've posted it before too).

28 December 2012

flashback 03

So here goes my attempt at summary my lessons learned as frosh the half an hour before I fall asleep.

  • On skipping lectures: while it's true that some lectures are terribly boring and scheduled at hours that really should be left for sleeping, skipping is generally not a great idea. Example: first question of the chem final was apparently an example done in class. Had I been awake, or in class at the very least, I probably would not have wasted 10 minutes staring at the question.
    In the other scenario where video or powerpoint of the lecture is posted, I still don't think it's worth skipping. For one you are likely going to procrastinate catching up on videos and cause yourself some amount of confusion at subsequent lectures (if you decide to show up to those). Secondly it's also excruciating painful having to watch lecture videos/ppts. Overall it's really not worth it @_@" Unless it's first period after cramming for ESP, then by all means sleep in. 
  • On problem sets: do them, especially if they're for marks. It's also perhaps the only regularly scheduled work you'll do (practice problems, pfft what are those).
  • On studying for exams: group studying is rather effective for 2 main reasons. One is having someone to clarify any last minute misunderstandings (or teach it to you for the first time), and the other is to keep you sane. Honestly I would not be able to study all my waking hours (minus some time for eating and sgs) without friends.
    Some other useful things to have is music (to concentrate), chocolate (to keep you happy), mints (to stay awake), and coffee (also to stay awake). Oh and for most courses, even if you know nothing at all, almost guaranteed a pass if you do enough past finals. In other words, 不用搞懂,搞定就够了。
  • On actually writing the exams: my new strategy is to quickly do all of the questions in one go, and then going back and carefully checking my arithmetic. At least for semester 1, all of the exams were difficult in the sense that you don't have enough time. None of the questions (with the exception of a part b on linalg, and some chem ones that I just don't get wth it was asking) were actually conceptually difficult. It's more of a "oh for this type of question you use these formulas in this sequence", which you will know how from problem sets/previous finals. I rather have marks taken off for missing negative signs than for running out of time and leaving a straightforward question blank.
  • On waking up for 9am lectures: mornings are a miserable time & not much can be done about it. Some strategies that worked are
    • Packing bag & picking outfit the night before. The less you have to think/remember in the morning, the better.
    • Be able to wake/get up at the first ring of the alarm...or have a roommate that can. Snooze is for noobs :]
    • Open curtains and absorb the sunlight, natural lighting helps with waking up?
    • Reeeeally minty toothpaste & cold water to wash face.
    • Espresso. Already growing immune to its effects fml. 
  • On eating "healthy": good luck on that. Res food really doesn't help in this aspect. In fact cereal, bananas and smoothies are quite adequate meal replacements.  
  • On standards of doing well: a common thing I've heard about uni prior to entering is that your marks will drop around 20% from highschool. It's not quite true... it's more accurate to say that the range of your marks will increase. My marks range for major items go from 55-100, whereas in hs I try to keep it in 90-100 (with some inevitable 80s). In addition, striving for perfection becomes really not worth it. Good enough is certainly good enough. The time you save can be much better spent socializing or sleeping. 
  • On extracurriculars: quite true that there's only going to be time for 1 or 2. And it still holds that they're not really worth it unless you're on the executive team. Meetings will be scheduled either really early or late, both of which is rather inconvenient. But of course the benefits are great experience and good opportunity to meet people whom you would otherwise not interact with. 
  • On profs/TAs/office hours: funny fact, none of my profs sem 1 have been research profs, so can't comment on the stereotype. Otherwise, I feel that getting to know your TA is much more beneficial (and less awkward) than your prof. At least remember their email so any last minute questions right before the assignment due date/test can be answered.
    My opinion on office hours are quite biased since I've only ever been to my calc ones (which were seminars). They were held twice a week to review important concepts (eg. trig or integration techniques), though I went for lin alg help xD It was effective though, having the prof/TA explain 1 on 1 is far more efficient than consulting the textbook, especially for theory based questions. At the very least it shows their efforts to be available to the students.

So this ended up taking a lot longer than half an hour, and I feel like I've been stating the obvious.

25 December 2012


Merry Christmas!
Though the only festive things I've done this year is spend a long time wrapping presents and watching Miracle on 34th Street.

Been having more of a boxing day spirit, spent quite the majority of my free time these two days online window shopping. The result is a list of where my money will be leaving me for:
Implementation timeline will go as follows:
  • Crossbody: if I complete first year with a decent gpa, or somehow get a scholarship for second year. 
  • Satchel: when I get a placement for PEY.
  • Tote: when I graduate and get an actual job. This one is freakin expensive (and totally justified cause it looks amazing)
  • Wallet: whenever my froggy one breaks.

24 December 2012


Much thanks to Jeff for introducing me to My Aunt Mary, the entire Circle album are the perfect chilling-at-home songs.

23 December 2012

flashback 02

Stuck between finals and moving out is 2 precious days of spending every possible moment with friends before we all depart for back home.

First is time spent with highschool friends.
Ryan, Austin, Alex and David came for a quick visit consisting of ramen and pool. Nothing (except hotpot) beats a nice big bowl of steaming soup noodles in the winter, especially after waiting for half an hour outside the shop in the cold. I'm shocked at how Sansotei is *still* full every lunch and dinner time. Pool was so jokes, we're simultaneously really good and bad at it lol. David missed the first break completely, but able to get a lot of balls in by luck when he just hits really hard.

The evening, night, and next morning was spent playing countless rounds of sgs. It's pretty much the default activity for the chestnut friends. Not studying? sgs! Finished dinner? sgs! It's 4am? Let's play a few more rounds. We've managed to teach a friend who spoke not a single word of Chinese (now he can say 杀 quite well) to be rather good at this game . In fact I think he's won more rounds than any one of us.

On Saturday, the ones that are still remaining in Toronto came over for some karaoke and hotpot. Trekked (or rather subwayed since they got a daypass :D) up to Finch for good ol' $5 happy hour karaoke (aka the cheapest karaoke Dave's ever sung). Took a while to remember how to work the remote since I've actually never gone without a Korean speaking friend (Helen or Grace). Their selection of Chinese songs were quite limited but they had Oasis so it was all good. Hotpot was great, what more can I ask for other than good food and good company? Gonna miss having meals with chestnut people, it's always filled with laughs no matter how badly the day went.

Coming home has always been a mix of feelings. On one hand I miss my mom, comforts of home (aka wifi eveyrwhere, and good food) and old friends; but on the other I also miss my hanging out with new friends. It's actually kind of crazy how close I feel to them after just a semester, though to be fair I'm with them almost literally 24/7. Guess that's how Shad worked too (can't wait to see you guys on the 30th :D)

I should really just sit here and appreciate how awesome all my friends are. Love you guys soooo soooooo soooooooooo much.

and thank you guys for the belated birthday gift T_T It's amazing!

I correctly guessed about 90% of who drew/wrote what :D

22 December 2012

flashback 01

I know I repeatedly complain about how little sleep I get, but honestly that's most drastic change from highschool to university.

Let's see...
  • gr 11 and below: before 12.
  • gr 12: 12-1, but never for work.
  • September: 12-1 still, problem sets still take ~1hr to do.
  • October: woah before 1, that's early! civ problem sets are taking to take a while.
  • November: 1-2, manageable with espresso in the morning and gave up on getting all of chem problem sets correct.
  • December: oh hey it's 2 maybe I should sleep.
  • Finals week: at least 6 hours before whatever time the exam is.
  • Right now: my head really hurts but why not stay up and type this post. 
Finals weeks was at the same time better and worse than I imagined. Group study worked, at least for me, quite well. There's an obvious tradeoff between productivity and fun, but least I was not miserable after an entire day of studying. Plus explaining concepts to others is a good check to see if you really understand the concepts yourself. Downside is that almost everything else got pushed to the absolute bottom of the priority list: sleeping pattern (well that disappeared a while ago), healthy meals (cereal is a completely adequate dinner item), etc. Was convenient though that almost everything negative could have been blamed on exam stress. Got sick again D: really hope this doesn't become a pattern.

Marks aren't even out until after the holidays, not sure if I'm happy or unhappy about that. Overall they weren't terrible (minus chem, wtf) and that calculus solution has been posted already. Prediction time!
  • ESP: honestly no clue, the m/c was a lot easier than previous years (content, instead of reading comprehension, is actually being tested) but the written portion is a lot of bs. 
  • Civ: Should be fine? Got the I for the last question wrong though.
  • Chem: I don't even...
  • Calc: compared what I remember of my answers to the solution, should also be alright.
  • Lin Alg: again easier than previous years, but might have had some calculation errors. We'll see

Here's to 2 weeks of chill before next semester starts!

21 December 2012


Done exams
Done semester

Finally back home, and so much events to post about. So here's a promise to myself that I will eventually, in the next week hopefully, post them up.

Priority at the moment is to catch up on sleep.

16 December 2012

something you can't replace

Coldplay's songs are already amazing, but this a capella version is even better:

15 December 2012


The past week has consisted of 3.5 activities:
iIf not studying, then eating; if not eating, then playing 三国杀 (sgs); and finally, if not any of the 3, then minimal amount of sleep is acquired.

For example, right before the civ final:

Subsequent exams also induced similar scenes. It's quite a pain trying to find an open table up on the 27th in the evening e_e"

And much less depressing collage of the various food consumed while eating out in December:

Going clockwise from top left: bibimbap from Hana Korea, japchae from Kimchi House, shio ramen from Kenzo, snow crab with grilled shrimp (so good!) from Red Lobster, brunch from Cora's, and mushroom risotto from EatFresh.

Finally back at home and relaxing before getting slaughtered by linalg, THE END IS IN SIGHT!

14 December 2012


This is what will help me pass calc:

Here's to hoping that I won't make silly algebra mistakes.

13 December 2012

loaded dice

Because watching videos about Inception was much more important than cramming for Chem (and teasing friends is much more important than doing more past calc finals):

Non, je ne regrette pas (hopefully my French is still somewhat coherent, the first half was just copy&pasted though XD)

10 December 2012

activity constant

Time is spent on cramming thermodynamics and equilibrium instead of blogging, so here's a image that's quoted for truth from Doghouse Diaries:

07 December 2012


The number of hours of sleep one gets is inversely proportional to the number of times one has said "I will go to sleep early tonight" that day.

So far this hypothesis has held true, it might just become a theory by the end of first year.


In other news, esp final in less than 8 hours. whoo!

04 December 2012

more tea

Presenting the intimidating stack of papers that I need to get through in preparation for finals & the lovely mug of tea that will aid me in this task.

Gonna be a fun 3 weeks.

01 December 2012


Something I made days ago while procrastinating. Found the quotation in this TEDtalk about sustainable cities (via ESP seminar).

image used is via Flickr