02 January 2019
Finally, a long awaited update!
Sika Deer in Nara, Japan. Shot on a Fujifilm X-E1 56mm f/1.2. (24/12/2018)
So much has happened since the last update, the bulk of it being the intense struggle through the first semester of my second year in NUS and a well deserved two-week vacation to Japan! It has been an incredibly testing period personally, filled with failures but also breakthroughs, enriching through-and-through. This semester has been particularly tough for me in terms of decision making, as I have made the huge decision to finally apply for a change of major from Life Science to Computer Science after many months of deliberation. Regardless of the outcome, I am very grateful for the undying support from my loved ones and friends in everything that I do. *Fingers crossed*
With the people of my life, at Todaiji Temple, Nara, Japan.
From left to right, Me, my girlfriend, my Dad and my Mum.
This semester proved to be expectedly tough, as I start to take on more Computer Science modules like CS2040 Data Structs and Algorithms and CS2100 Computer Organisation, which are challenging to say the least. Other modules like the dreaded LSM2191 Laboratory Techniques in Life Science and LSM2233 Cell Biology proved to be extremely assignment heavy as well which led to some pretty hairy near-deadline completions and many late nights of working away at assignments. I was also taking MA1301 Introductory Mathematics due to my lack of H2 Math foundation back in polytechnic and had a trip-up during my midterms when I forgot how taking math exams felt like again (whoops). I had many friends who told me that I was committing academic suicide with my module combination but I was determined to give my all. What's life without taking calculated risks after all, right? (haha)
Despite the struggling so much, this semester proved to be the most enriching one, especially by taking CS2040 under Prof. Harold Soh. I was also instructed by Nicholas Teh, a fellow Year 2 student, who was a teaching assistant for the module and probably the best teaching assistant out there! Patience really was key when it came to understanding the inner workings of the algorithms through the semester and especially so when trying to actually implement them in the biweekly problem sets. Prof. Harold was very kind to check up on us every lecture when we seemed to be drowning under the workload and brain twisting moments. Intellectually, this module is pure gold in computational logic and the most fufilling by far (The next best to me was LSM1105 Evolutionary Biology, which explored game theory and mathematical modelling of allele and trait prevalence in a population. A surprising amount for a year 1 module!).
Rendering an Prim's Minimum Spanning Tree algorithm connecting points on a map. Funky stuff!
CS2100 also answered many lingering questions I had about computers and embedded systems, and also let us try out coding in assembly and playing around with logic gates! This was really cool because it was pretty hands-on and low-level for a computer science module, and essentially broke down all the barriers of abstractions we're so used to when just coding away on our IDEs which really develops that appreciation you need to build better and more efficient programs and deepen the respect for the software-hardware interface. For a time, I used to watch 6502 Assembly tutorials while eating meals to see how NES games were made so learning to translate C to assembly was really cool.
I squeezed an A- or B+ on all my modules this semester putting my CAP at a respectable 4.43, which was admittedly a little disappointing as I expected better of myself but I know the content of what I learnt this semester will continue to aid me far and beyond my time in university, and ultimately I believe that is what will count at the end of the day. Onwards to greater challenges this year! *trumpeting*
Have a great day everyone! ☺