Exams. They are not a fun thing to lo0k forward to and I have one coming up next week for my Lifespan Development class. As I write this, my stomach is knotting up and I feel the extreme pre-test jitters I always do before every exam. However, as I sift through chapter after chapter, my confidence slowly builds up to the final moment when I have to sit through the drudgery of an exam.
A lot of people think that cram studying or better yet known as burning the midnight oil, is an effective method to doing well in an exam. In my humble opinion, I believe the opposite to be true and I have the scientific research to back that claim up. BUT…as always, feel free to disagree with me!
As a Psychology student, I know that cram studying is an ineffective way to prepare for a test because when students attempt to cram massive amounts of information at one go, they are likely to forget that information during the test itself.
Dr. Roberto Antonio Giaccone, a specialist in neurology, sums it up nicely, “Students might struggle with a test, even if they studied for hours, as they will have so much information stored they will have trouble recalling information properly.”
Instead, it is much better to space out your study sessions well in advance of the exam as doing so would mean using your long-term memory and thus, better recall of the information learned.
Here are some of the things I do before every exam:
- Get a good night of sleep. Do away with caffeine and other drugs, it’s useless if you ask me. Sure, you consume huge amounts of caffeine, you’re bound to get a buzz. But with every buzz comes a crash and a BIG one at that. Also, there is no point studying when you are tired because it would be like reading a book like a zombie and not absorbing precious material.
- Break it down. As I said earlier, it is much better to space out your study sessions as opposed to cramming in all that information at the last minute. When you are cramming lots of information, you are bound to lose concentration and there is no point reading just to read and not to absorb, especially with all that boring theoretical stuff. Give yourself at least a week in advance.
- Take Breaks. As I said earlier, it is very easy to lose concentration when faced with all that boring theoretical stuff and when you fall prey to losing your concentration, what’s the point of pressing on?
- Study smart, not hard. This is especially true when it comes to exams. You have to know what to anticipate and know how to strategize as exams are all about strategy and not how much you know. Be privy to your lecture notes, ask your lecturer what topics are coming out and note the sections that your professors are focusing on. If you can anticipate the questions coming out, you have no reason to fear it.
- Repeat. Go over your assignments, focusing on the questions and essays in the assignments. From my experience, it is very likely that these questions will be repeated in the exam. Going over your answers and focusing on the critiques by your professors will allow you to learn from your mistakes.
A good account of the pitfalls of cramming for an exam were illustrated by 23-year old civil engineering technology student Rhaendra Jadduroy, who said that he thought the method was not a safe one to use and I especially loved what he said at the end.
“[Cramming] may help you on a test, but it’s useless. If you’re going to pay for an education, you want to make it worth something,”
Well, that’s it Peacocks, wish me luck next week!
As December rolls around, I always find myself eagerly awaiting Christmas and one of the things I really enjoy doing is cooking and baking during the season. However, cooking is something I do every weekend for my boyfriend as he cannot go without my cooking as it is something he really, really looks forward to every week after a long week at work. I went on a cooking frenzy this weekend and I first made a French brioche, then a Russian Beef Stroganoff, and finally Malaysian Coconut Candy. I have two words to describe this candy, coconut and sugar, and when I say sugar, I mean lots of it! A caution, this is not for those who want to maintain their slim figures, as this is not a candy where you can take half-measures. This is a candy that demands full all-the-way measures for best results, so do not go halfway with this! I am a person who never does things halfway, and this candy is no different.
Before I get started, let me tell you that although there are only a few ingredients in this candy, it involves heavy work as you have to stand by the stove and stir and stir and stir. Because of the heavy work involved, look no further than the boyfriend to do the heavy work for you. Yes, ladies – when you want to slim down, give all your food to your boyfriend. When you want heavy work done, give the work to him too!
Malaysian Coconut Candy
- 4 cups freshly grated coconut
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 100 g butter
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tin evaporated milk
- Food coloring of choice
1. The first thing I always like to do is get every ingredient prepared and measured accurately, and that is exactly what I did. I took this recipe off the Internet and adapted it to my own tastes as coconut candy is usually extremely sweet as it is full of sugar. Hence I cut the sugar down and added more coconut.
2. Get a wok-like pot out and dry roast the grated coconut until most of the moisture evaporates.
3. Now add in the sugar and the evaporated milk and make sure you stir continuously as sugar and coconut easily burns. As I’ve said before, if you can’t do the heavy work, give it to your boyfriend to do. This will take about 20 minutes on medium heat.
4. When the mixture is thick, add in the butter and continue to stir. Do this until it becomes very thick.
5. Now add in the vanilla essence and the food coloring and stir until it thickens further and looks like a lump.
6. When the mixture is lump-like, turn off the stove and pour the mixture in a ten inch long, six inch wide tray and flatten it with a spatula or your hands.
7. Allow it to cool down for about 10 to 20 minutes before cutting the candy into squares.
8. Leave it to cool down and harden in the tray before putting it in an airtight jar. In my case, it took a full day before it hardened completely.
When its all nice and done, feed it to your family and friends…and don’t forget your boyfriend too! The scent of coconut candy, rich with the aroma of roasting coconut and butter is a delight to the senses.
I fed it to my furkids and my boyfriend, and I know they’re all going to get diabetes at an early age!
As is said in Bahasa Malaysia, selamat menjamu selera, or bon appetit!
It’s been so long since I last posted, and I am sooooooooo immensely sorry for that. The truth is that I’ve been so consumed in my health matters that I seem to neglect everything else, especially blogging – with the notable exception being my studies (try as I might, I just cannot neglect my studies, don’t ask me why!). Can someone please tell me how does one strike a balance between one’s academics and other pursuits in life? Let me tell you, managing your health is a job in itself! I seriously need to hone my time management skills…At the end of a tiring day, I just want to curl up in my bed and watch all the American TV series I love back-to-back (I’m a Criminal Minds buff.)!
Instead of babbling on and on about my laxity in blogging and other pursuits, I ought to get to the point of this entry or risk you falling asleep…Just the other day, I was contemplating about what it’s like being Deaf, and more importantly, what it’s like being Deaf amongst your hearing peers in college. It was not easy, let me tell you. I became Deaf in 2009, but the year started out with me being hard-of-hearing (in case anybody is wondering, I have a genetic condition which causes tumors to grow in my nervous system, most commonly on the auditory nerves). You know what, it is actually harder being hard-of-hearing than fully Deaf in a hearing world. Take it from someone who’s gone through this: I think the hardest thing about it is that people think you can hear them, and asking them to repeat themselves over and over again irritates you and the person whom you’re talking to. 2009 is also the year when I first enrolled in college, specifically with UIU through its Malaysian partner, SEGi Subang Jaya.
As I’ve come to learn, Malaysia in general is not well-equipped to deal with the disabled community, much less provide services such as Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) to Deaf students in college. Unlike Malaysia, American colleges are required by virtue of the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide such services as CART to those who need it. CART is a system where a trained transcriber uses a stenography machine and a laptop to transcribe aural conversations into written text in real time. That’s right folks; this technology allows a Deaf individual to follow a conversation as if he or she was hearing it, further allowing that individual to participate in the conversation in real-time.
Returning to the point of my post, if I have to sum it up in one sentence, I would say that I was pretty much isolated at my college campus. It was almost futile for me to go to class as I would sit there and wait for the class to finish, and wait to take down the lecturer’s PowerPoint notes which I already had prior to the start of the term as the lecturers were kind enough to accommodate my Deafness, and they did what they could to help me out. I wouldn’t generally blame the apathy of people in wanting to talk to me, because I understand it is frustrating to talk with someone who can’t hear them. I would also imagine that they do not come across Deaf people often enough and as such, hearing people are without the skills necessary to communicate with those who are deaf. Additionally, I lacked the knowledge and skills at the time to compensate for my inability to hear. I also think that I was ashamed to some extent that I could not hear and as a result, feeling ashamed caused low self-esteem which in turn caused me to withdraw from college life.
Thankfully, all was not lost as I managed to do pretty well academically despite being Deaf. This is because independent study was fostered at an early age, with more focus in my high school days with Alpha Omega Academy. As a teenager, I liked to learn things on my own and practice an autodidactic life. This was in part influenced by my Granddaddy Petrus, who was for the most part, a self-taught man and as such, he taught me some invaluable skills of learning (for example, he’d pick up a number of things from the Reader’s Digest, Times Magazine and National Geographic every month.). In many instances, the transition between high school and college is a difficult one as students find themselves forced to learn things on their own for the first time. They often find that in college they have to take the initiative to keep up with their classes and professors. There is no one to discipline you or force you to keep up. As such, even though I was unable to hear the lecturers or participate in class, the prepared notes on PowerPoint were sufficient for me to not just get by, but make the Dean’s List in 2009. To be honest, I am proud of my achievements despite all the barriers I faced in college that year.
My health has not been consistent since 2009, forcing me to take a sabbatical from SEGi. However, I have not been resting idly as I have enrolled with UIU Online until I am ready to go back to SEGi. The transition was both easy and challenging at the same time. It was easy as I am already familiar with an American-style education, and it was challenging due to the heavy workload. Take it from someone who knows; distance learning classes are a lot tougher than traditional ones, and I think they intentionally make them that way. It is definitely not a walk in the park so don’t get your hopes up thinking it’s an easy road to your degree! For one thing, student participation is mandatory and it is part of your grade, and participation is not giving germane responses to the academic questions you get week in and week out. You have to give responses that are backed with much research and much aforethought. There are also a lot more essays that are due in these courses. Suffice to say though; being Deaf in an online world isn’t such a bad thing as everything, including all communication, occurs in written text. I even acted as the team leader for several group projects; a rather daunting and near impossible feat for a Deaf student studying in a Malaysian college.
At this point in time, I have been able to maintain my desired GPA, and although I did not have the appropriate accommodations in the past, I managed to work it out and do without them. By the way, I forgot to mention that I was somehow able to top my Psychology class at SEGi despite being Deaf in a hearing world, indeed power to the Deafie!
Until next time, the end for now!
One word. HARD!
For so many, many reasons too! Where do I start?
Well, I’ll start with the Professor because without his dedication, we students of this gory subject would not have made it passed the finish line! Dr. Stephan, I for one would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the time and effort you have put in for this course. Throughout my time spent with SEGi and UIU Online, I NEVER met a professor more commited to the success of his students than Dr. Stephan. I was determined to work harder in the face of challenge because of his work ethic. Having said that, it would not be a surprise that his workload sent my stress levels through the roof! Weekly discussions, participation in those discussions, individual homework, group work (did I mention weekly?) and last but not least, two exams.
Upper Iowa University Online operates on 8-week terms, totalling 6 terms and 3 semesters in one academic year. Hence, taking one subject is like taking two subjects in a normal, 16-week semester. This is also why students are advised to take 2-3 subjects per term, so not to overburden oneself with academic pursuits.
However, I felt that taking the subject of Statistics was like taking 4 subjects in one and then some! Being the control freak that I am and having a constant need to do exceptionally well in my subjects, you can imagine how many hours I spent slogging through one assignment after another. The group assignments were by far the most difficult aspect of this whole course. As you may know, getting the mathematics done is but one hurdle to overcome. Organization, time management, managing internal conflicts and being in constant communication (whether it’s by Blackberry or through the group thread) proved to be massive barriers to overcome. Sometimes it felt utterly impossible. Thankfully though, my group was awesome and I think we set the example for all the other groups to follow this semester!
Doing this course via the internet and on the computer is not a walk in the park either! When I took College Algebra last year through the Online platform, I found myself spending more time doing math than I usually do because I had this idea that numbers and equations should be dealt with by pencil and paper first, before being transferred to MS Word. I also had trouble figuring out how to insert the appropriate mathematical symbols on MS Word. Add to that, I did not know how to use Excel to plot xy graphs and solve equations. By the time I entered the world of Statistics, I was able to work out equations directly on MS Word without needing a pencil and paper and I had rudimentary skills in the operation of Excel. But alas, my newly honed skills were not up to par with Statistics! I needed to plot a myriad of graphs using Excel and I had to figure out how to draw normal quantile plots on Word because Excel does not have that capability. Thank goodness Dr. Stephan was amenable to me using my Texas Instrument calculator for other purposes such as finding the corresponding z-scores for the given areas, as opposed to relying on table charts!
Then we have Statistics itself. In the fall of 2006, I signed up for Advance Placement Statistics in high school. I thought if I could do the AP Exam in May 2007, I could boost my chances in getting a scholarship at college and perhaps obtain exemption of this subject when I enter college. At the close of the first semester, I obtained a B in AP Statistics and I felt somewhat confident for the upcoming second semester and the AP Exam. However, my health took a turn for the worse and in a matter of three months, I found myself strapped down on a hospital bed with a traction device drilled into my skull, awaiting a much needed spinal reconstructive surgery. That’s another story for another time perhaps. I did not manage to sit for the AP Exams that year but I did have a pool of unused knowledge in Statistics. When I signed up for this particular course, I found a lot of the material familiar but I also encountered a string of new concepts, hence, I spent a lot of time learning this dreadful subject! I feel sorry for the students who have not encountered Statistics before this class. It is indeed a mighty challenge!
What do I have to say about the discussions and participation? Well, unlike the traditional classroom where you would find yourself ducking your head in the lecture hall during the ongoing discussions (or in my case, reading a book to pass time), participation in the online environment is a requirement and the cumulative points that you get each week contribute to a large part of your final grade. Discussions in this class centered around how Statistics is used (and abused) in the real world.
It is also noteworthy to mention that in general for online classes, if you fall behind for even one week, you are screwed because the workload consists of one assignment after another coming at you in every week!
Finally, we have the midterm and final exams which are worth a ton of points for the final grade. Keeping in mind that UIU Online utilizes open-book examinations, you’d automatically think this course is a piece of cake right?
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! YOU COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!
For one thing, in my experience, open-book exams are intentionally made harder than closed-book ones. While I breezed through most of my closed-book exams at SEGi, I found myself spending boatloads of time trying to figure out the answers to the open-book ones online. If I got a question wrong, a big chunk of points is automatically deducted and if I get multiple questions wrong, that would mean easily losing a few letter grades. After all that work, HMPH!
So in effect, unless you got plenty of guts to face challenge head on, don’t attempt this course!
*Some students in my class did not manage to complete this Statistics course, just shows you isn’t it? It’s like a battlefield, the online world, especially taking up Statistics. I commend all students who have survived thus far, we survived… we pushed, we pleaded and we prospered!
We arose winners in this new age of learning!
Congratulations to Dr. Stephan’s Statistics class for Spring 2011!
As you might remember from my introductory post, cooking is one of my hobbies and I daresay I am pretty good at it judging by the size of my better half’s belly, ha ha! I write this post to put up what I feel is a nice break from the classroom. I was sifting through a magazine last week, and I found this recipe in it. I changed it up and altered some of the ingredients to suit my tastes. I just love Thai food and I like how it incorporates a lot of coconut milk in its dishes, especially in its curries. I am an avid fan of that and to be honest, I do get irritated with the fact that many of the curries served in my house are tomato-based. I enjoy the rich creamy taste of coconut milk very much and its smooth and subtle texture. Its rich smell is a joy to the senses. I know that it is very fattening, by the way and this is why I only make Thai food on occasion. This was made to celebrate the end of my statistics course, and believe me, after all the hours of slogging through numbers and equations, it is absolute freedom that I feel within me!
However, I cannot shake the fact that courses are still upon me as Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications is starting next week and I am still doing my Conflict Resolution module. Thankfully, I can take my time with it and not be burdened by deadlines as it is under the Independent Study program.
Bear with me here, I eyeballed most of the ingredients and changed it up quite a bit. But the end result is absolutely scrumptious!
I know my photography skills need some work, perhaps I should sign up for a photography class at UIU’s campus in SEGi? Hehehe…bear with me, a picture is worth a thousand words and YL would agree the word here is GOOD.
The recipe serves two or three people, but in YL’s case it barely serves two!
. 300 grams of whole crabs
. 30 to 40 grams of lemongrass, roughly chopped
. 30 grams of galangal (a spice similar to ginger), sliced roughly
. 10-15 grams of lemon leaves, or kaffir lime leaves
. About 30 grams of chopped coriander
. 1 carrot, chopped finely.
. 1 red onion, chopped finely.
. 1 celery stick, chopped finely.
. About 30 ml of tomato puree
. 30 grams of unrefined, uncooked rice
. 150 ml of coconut milk
. Fish sauce
1. Put the crab, galangal, lemon leaves and coriander in sufficient water to make a stock. Simmer it long enough. I boiled it for 30 to 45 minutes, but the longer you boil the more flavor you get. When you’re done, strain the stock and put it aside.
2. In the same pot which is now empty, heat some oil and saute the vegetables until light brown. Put the onion first, then the carrot and celery.
3. Then add the tomato puree and cook for approximately ten minutes.
4. Add the stock and wait for it to boil.
5. Add the raw rice and cook it until it is done. Add the fish sauce and add how much you like!
6. Pour the soup into a food processor or blender, and add the coconut milk. Blend, and strain it again if you desire a smooth soup. I did not strain it a second time.
7. Serve garnished with coriander leaves and whatever you wish to serve it with. I made a side of garlic bread as my grandmother had baked a loaf ideal for garlic bread.
Until next time, Kx
I wanted to actually write something on Saturday last week in honor of Black History month but I fell short of doing so because it was the same day results for the AE Scholarships were released. I admit I had eager anticipation for accessing MyUIU platform. To my dismay, I did not win the scholarship. Some people said I had the edge to win: a flawless GPA, recommendation letters from my UIU professors, a well-written essay expressing my hopes and dreams. My confidence was shattered when I saw that my name was not amongst the winners. Alas, it was not to be.
If you come to know me pretty well, you will realize that I am a steadfast gemini. I shout, I ramble and I vent it out, sometimes having little concern for the thoughts that I blurt out. However, there is a part of me that goes into an avoidant state and I act like nothing is wrong, and I let my feelings stew until I am about ready to explode - in anger, in frustration, in hurt.
This situation was no exception. I went about my day as usual, I performed every task robotically and I did not feel like helping my team mates out in their respective questions for Statistics. I was busy throwing myself a pity party, I pride myself on being able to give back my knowledge. Dr. Stephan once referred to me as a great asset because I seem to understand math concepts and apply them easily. Hence, my classmates were learning from my work ethic. It’s the one thing that I can control in spite of everything I have and still am going through because of NF 2. I felt bludgeoned and giving back that day was not to be.
When I returned home shortly after my physical therapy session, I broke down and wailed to my boyfriend, TYL. “What did I do wrong?” “Why can’t anything go my way?” “Why does everything in my life so difficult?”
After feeling sorry for myself and wiping my tears away, I was gently reminded about an article I read in TheSun newspaper. YL’s good friend and colleague, Natalie, wrote about a disabled scientist Mathavan, who acquired a prestigious scholarship from a high caliber University after many attempts to win a scholarship to further his studies to obtain his Ph. D. in biomedical sciences.
Many universities turned down his bid for a scholarship, sometimes because of his particular disability, which impairs his speech and makes him slur his words. A dean once said to him during the interview process, “You can’t even speak to us, how are you going to teach people?”
It absolutely amazes me how insensitive and deragatory people can be, even deans can be so uneducated! Have they not heard of modern-day technology, like text-to-speech? Malaysians are truly missing out on a Malaysian version of Stephen Hawkings. Anyway, Mathavan did not give up. After being shortlisted and turned down during the interview process repeatedly, a silver lining appeared in his resolute chase for his dream. Mathavan landed a scholarship with a prestigious university and is working in a protein laboratory in Oxford.
When asked what did he say in his application, he quoted Thomas A. Edison who once said “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
I am a quote junkie, ask YL, he will tell you I remember inspirational quotes verbatim. Beautiful phrases are permanently etched in my memory and this is no different. I use them to help me survive, to help me push forward. My lifetime hero is not here to tell me to get up and fight back, and that anything is within my grasp if I choose to step forward.
Truly, Mathavan has shown me that in his perseverance.
I wish to extend my congratulations to all winners of the AE Scholarship.
As for me, this is just the beginning of winning a scholarship. And I helped my team mates complete their required questions today and fingers crossed Dr. Stephan grades our assignment with a well-earned 100%.
Modified* I woke up today to discover the phrase “excellent work” and “100%” on our group project. Dr. Stephan played a very big part today in putting a smile back on my face. For that, I am determined to work harder.
My apologies for not posting last week. I was and still am quite ill from an infection. That and all the work that I have piled on me this week
Dreaming of the beach…Happy Valentines!
Hello from Malaysia! Happy Chinese New Year to all celebrating Peacocks!
I must admit that I find myself rather excited to blog here. This entry is going to be about a poem I read in my Conflict Resolution textbook. The poem is entitled “Fire and Ice”, and it is written by Robert Frost. I absolutely love this poem as it can be interpreted in so many ways despite being written very simply. Don’t you just love the beauty of poetry?
Fire and Ice - Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
In relation to what I’ve been learning in Conflict Resolution, the poem essentially says that fire represents passion, love and desire while ice on the other hand represents the coldness and stiffness emerging out of hate. While fire and ice are natural opposites, the fire of love can quickly change into the ice of hate if you choose to engage in destructive rather than constructive conflicts. If you do choose the route of hate, the loss of that emotional bond can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences a person can go through, wouldn’t you agree? The poem goes on to say that you can choose how you live and end your life. Do you live and end it in love, or in hate?
Isn’t it amazing what poetry can teach you in a subject as complex as Conflict Resolution?
Apa khabar? This is how we say “what’s up?” in Malaysia, dear readers. My name is Keisha Petrus and I am a 21-year-old student studying Psychology in Malaysia. My situation is unique in that I study online and go to UIU’s campus with their Malaysian partner, SEGi at their Subang Jaya campus here. I do this as I am a sufferer of a life-long genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 which causes slow-growing tumors to grow within my nervous system. The hallmark of this condition is acoustic neuromas, or tumors that form on the hearing nerve. Due to the fact that I have had to undergo treatment for such tumors on both my hearing nerves, I am late-deafened. However, despite my losses I have resolved to strive on as I believe the greater the effort, the greater the reward.
Having experienced both the traditional classroom, and now the online classroom of UIU Online, I will be writing about my academic experiences, which are intensely challenging at present. I use the term “challenging” as I do feel that the academic experience in the online classroom is far more intensive, rigorous and time-sensitive than one found in a traditional classroom.
Aside from classes, my life revolves around my hobbies, which include reading, writing both prose and poetry, playing and collecting the latest releases of The Sims, baking and patronizing all kinds of restaurants here in Malaysia (I am not one of those stuck-up foodies, I just love food, I’m one of those people who live to eat!). Besides this, I am also an avid lover of dogs, and I have two dogs, a 2 year old Cocker Spaniel named Noah and a 1 year old Golden Retriever named Isabelle. Check the picture out below:
I also have to deal with the antics of my partner of five years, Yi Liang, who when not annoying me works as a journalist with a major Malaysian newspaper. I have a brother studying accounting in Australia and a mother who is a single parent working very hard to put her kids through school (Thank You Mommy!).
Well, I guess that’s it for now. As we say in Malaysia, “jumpa lagi”, a traditional Malaysian goodbye and see you again!