by Trina Chua,
Honours Class, 2009/10
“When I think of Year 1, I think of stress, stress and more stress. It has not changed much over the past three years but one thing has definitely changed – how I handle the stress.
Unlike many of my university peers, I did not take the conventional route of going to Junior College after my O Levels and then continuing to university. Instead I graduated from polytechnic and optimistically started the first day of school in NUS in August 2006. Optimism slowly faded away during the first lecture! The words in the lecture notes looked like Arabic to me and everything just seemed so new although the lecturer re-iterated during class that ‘all of you should already know this since you’ve studied it in JC’.
I started to panic. Not a day passed without me worrying about the various modules. The only thing that made me feel just slightly better was the fact that I was not alone. My friends in NUS and other universities were as stressed about school work as I was and in one extreme case, a friend quit university! Similar thoughts crept into my mind but I told myself to go on…you’ll get used to it!
My parents started to worry about me when they saw me taking one too many snoozes on the study table and looking weary too often. Basically, I was not prepared for such a stressful education in university.
But before I knew it, there I was, enjoying my Honours year, and grateful for not giving up in the first year. Honestly, it becomes wayyyyyyyy better after you pass the first year mark as you’ll get used to it! First year is the time when you adjust to the new environment and find out which is the best way for you to excel in your studies! Get yourself involved in extra-curricular activities to give yourself a break from work or you will just burn out.
Most importantly, although grades are very important, enjoy your university life!”
Trina Chua rescuing horseshoe crabs @ Mandai Besar mudflat, 07 Sep 2010
Trina did research work with mudskippers in her 3rd year, spiders in her honours year, played squash for NUS and after participating in several mangrove cleanups, became a Site Captain with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore this year.