Fresh Grad Seeking Employment (Reflection)

As graduation is approaching (><), I have also started looking for jobs. I thought it would be interesting for me to detail my job-seeking experience. This shall also serve as a platform for me to look back and reflect on my interviews, job applications and conversations I have with people about employment. As I am only graduating in May 2019, I will be constantly updating this post until i find a job :O

24 Dec 2018

As I will be graduating with a degree in Psychology and Social Work next semester (May 2019), I have also started brushing up and refining my resume to make it more appealing (aesthetically) and informative (while keeping it short) to my potential employers. I am really hoping to secure a job in the social service industry  – more specifically MSW/associate psychologist in the hospital setting. So far, I am looking more at the job postings of MSW rather than associate psych because the job postings for associate psych is SO LIMITED (is it too late to realise this now ><) and it is mostly work with children with special needs which isn’t my area of interest.

13-15 Jan 2019

I have applied to 2 MSWs posting in 2 different hospitals and I’ve received a call from each hospital for an interview! I felt really excited but also nervous at the same time as I haven’t went for any interviews in ages. In preparation for the interviews, I printed out the necessary documents (e.g. unofficial transcript, placement feedback form, other certification) and spent a bulk of my time that week reading through the hospitals Annual Report while familiarizing myself with the hospitals Vision, Mission and Values as well as the philosophy of their practice. Additionally, as social work interviews usually comes with a case study exam, I also read up on the relevant community and healthcare resources that could be useful to the patients and their families.

Late Jan 2019

I had my first interview with one of the hospitals and I was quite surprised to be offered the position on the spot! The interview consisted of 30 mins case study + 1 hr interview. The case study is not the main focus of the interview as the interviewers did not touch on the case study at all! I had my interview with another hospital in the subsequent week. I’m so thankful that i managed to get offers from both hospitals and I also got the opportunity to shadow the MSWs from both hospitals for a day to help me make a decision on which hospital to join!

Early June 2019

Officially started my work as a MSW. I’m one of the earliest among my friends to start work. I couldn’t sleep the night before work started. I’m not sure why, but I think it is a mixture of feelings of fear, anxiety and excitement. Transiting from the role of a student to a full-time working adult feel odd and stressful at the same time. It is odd because I had to adjust my lifestyle to fit the 9-5 timing and also because the environment at work is completely different from the comfortable setting I had at home and in the school. It feels a lot more stressful because the hospital setting is so fast pace and my role as an MSW now means that there’s a need for me to be accountable for not just myself, but also my team and my clients.

2 weeks into my role as an MSW. I have yet to start taking case (will start pretty soon), but it already feels so daunting – in trying to navigate through the system, trying to manage my own finance, figuring out my self-care method, to practice work-life integration etc… Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life and amidst the stack and stacks of case file to go through, it is easy to forget why I started doing MSW in the first place.

Shall list down all the reasons why i am doing what i am doing and i believe that these reasons will keep me going.

  • I want to make a positive difference to someone’s life 🙂
  • To provide support and comfort especially to patients and families who are going through difficult times
  • To practice my soft skills
  • To gain knowledge of community resources
  • To build up my speed in assessing and intervening cases holistically.

That’s all for this entry! Shall continue to document down my experience as a MSW in Singapore in the next entry : D

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『比悲傷更悲傷的故事』Afterthoughts

movie
『比悲傷更悲傷的故事』

First film of 2019. (Warning: Spoilers ahead)

Yet another tear-jerking film. Throughout the entire screening, I couldn’t help but felt really frustrated about how K tried to hide his terminal illness from Cream. At the same time, I was also very touched by his selfless and noble love. This show does offer a lot of room for thoughts and reflections about the issue of death and dying.

Having completed an internship in a hospice as a Medical Social Worker, I wondered how the entire film would have turned out if a MSW is involved? One thing that stood out to me was the collusion between K and his doctor – where they kept K’s diagnosis from Cream. Understandably, what K was trying to do was to protect Cream from further harm, sadness and to prevent her from feeling abandoned. K did not want Cream to relive her past experience of losing her loved ones.

Despite this entire show being a film, in real work with real people, the act of collusion between healthcare workers and patients/family members is actually common and prevalent. Family members do not want patients to know of their terminal illness/diagnosis for the fear of causing them distress/making them depress. This is somewhat similar to how K kept his diagnosis from Cream for the fear that Cream would not have been able to take it if she knows about his diagnosis.

“If a MSW is involved, what could have been done?”, I wondered to myself. Being someone who values honesty and truthfulness, I would have been tempted to disclose K’s diagnosis to Cream – so that they could spend their remaining time in a more fulfilling way and that K could have died a better and more meaningful death. At the same time, this also offers Cream a chance to break out from her past experience of traumatic loss of family members and seek closure in her relationship with K.

However, given a real-life situation, I believe that K would still have the final say. As a MSW, my role perhaps would have been to try to facilitate conversation and to allow K to understand the possible implications of his decisions. At the same time, to provide psychosocial support to Cream.

One of the key takeaways I had was that we will never know what is the best for another party (be it our loved ones or clients or anyone), just like how K was wrong to think that getting Cream to get married would have buffered the sadness from his death. Communication is always the key.

 

Photo taken from: https://mydramalist.info/title/48798/bi_bei_shang_geng_bei_shang_de_gu_shi

SW3101A, SW3104 Module Review (NUS SOCIAL WORK)

Didn’t feel like sleeping and am currently facing a lot of difficulties generating ideas for my moral psychology essay and so I thought I might as well spend my time more productively doing something (aka writing this) that I have been wanting to do for awhile.

The main reason why I am writing this is because, prior to doing my placement, I felt really lost, nervous and unsure what to expect. I went in to my first placement like a blank slate, which wasn’t really helpful and I hope that this post could help to ease some of your anxiety and maybe, help you prepare better for your upcoming placement. Not sure if anyone will read this, but I shall just pen down my thoughts. 🙂

*Disclaimer: Before you continue, do note that all the content below are my subjective experience of placement which may or may not apply to you. It is also likely to vary depending on the agencies and supervisors that you are posted to. It is descriptive, not prescriptive. Please take my words with a pinch of salt. Thanks.

It feels weird to be writing a “module review” for SW3101A and SW3104 because this 2 modules are internship modules for NUS Social Work students and I am not sure how to write a proper”review” on an internship without sounding too specific (to my own experience)/convoluted/incoherent/confusing, but I shall try.

For Social Work Freshies in NUS, just in case you guys haven’t already know, all social work majors in NUS are required to complete 2 placements during their school term in NUS. The placements will take place during summers, with each placement lasting 400 hours. All the administrative details about how to bid for placement etc will be provided by the department nearer to the dates, so I shan’t elaborate further. However, what I will be discussing about in the sections below are some of the things that I have learnt from my internship and the things that I wished I knew before starting placement.

Background info: For those who are curious, I am a psychology and social work double major (AY15/16). I completed my first placement (SW3101A) at Ang Mo Kio FSC and my second placement at Dover Park Hospice. In the first placement, most of the settings/options provided to students are usually the family service centres (FSCs) and opportunities to work in specialized settings (e.g. MSW, CP, Youth work) will be given to those in the second placement (SW3104).

Tip #1: Read the placement requirement and NOTE ALL THE DEADLINES

I am not kidding when I say that there is a lot of  work to be done at the start of the placement. There are administrative work from the school as well as tons of readings (depending on your agency) for the first week. If I remembered correctly , we were required to work with our supervisors to submit a learning contract to the school within the first 2 weeks of placement, scan it to the school, prepare for mid placement supervision, do up our time sheet recording, get supervisors approval to use client’s case for report writing etc. This can be coupled with the work you have to do for the placement, such as daily reflection, case recordings, intake, home visit etc. Given that there are so many requirements and things to be done, it is important for you to READ THROUGH THE PLACEMENT BOOKLET, KNOW ALL THE APPENDICES and NOTE ALL DEADLINE! Having an idea of all the deadline can help you feel more prepared and you can plan all the administrative work into your supervision session with your supervisors. DO NOT WAIT FOR YOUR SUPERVISORS TO REMIND YOU!

*Also, since there are so many things to be done, getting yourself a good scheduler really helps!

Tip #2: Adding on to the first point, LEARN HOW TO PRIORITIZE!!!

Okay, I don’t know how to better emphasize on this point, but having the skills and the ability to prioritize your work is SUPER IMPORTANT ok! From my experience in an FSC, I realized that there are a lot of paperwork and preparation work to be done before and after Information and Referral and sessions with clients. As most of us do not have the experience of interning in an FSC/work with client, we are unfamiliar with how the flow of, e.g. an intake interview should be like. It is easy to spend hours reading up on how to interview, what to ask etc. Adding on to that, as many FSCs uses SSNet right now, we have to upload our BPSS assessment etc within a certain time limit. Some supervisors might also require interns to write daily reflection. Given the limited amount of time we have at work, prioritize your time well!!

Being someone who prefers structure, it is most important for me to have a rough session plan before meeting clients – to come up with questions, goals, familiarize myself with the administrative work (e.g. getting consent etc) as this helps me feel less anxious and more prepared (even though my session plans don’t always go as plan – for reasons you will understand once you start your placement).

Tip #3: REMEMBER YOUR SW2101 & SW2105

The helping profession is a work of ART and SCIENCE.

What differentiates social work from volunteers is that we are very much guided by theories. Do not throw away your theories because they are so important in helping you understand the client and to make better assessment and intervention. Some theories that I found helpful were the Ecological systems theory, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Erikson Psychosocial stages, Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, Iceberg theory and many more!! This is really dependent on the setting that you are going to, and the types of clients you work with. In my second placement where i worked with terminally ill patients, I had to also learn the Kubler Ross Stages of Grief, Dual process model and other empirical work that could be potentially helpful in my work with patients.

Like I mentioned at the start, I went into placement thinking that I just wanted an experience and I did not really bother to revise on my theories prior to placement. This was a big mistake because most of the supervisors expect students to come in with some foundations and I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t name any theories other than the systems theory when my supervisor “tested” me.

Don’t forget your SW2105 skills – the different components of active listening (Reflection, Paraphrase, Summarize, Clarifying) as they are your tools to rapport building, assessment and interventions!

Tip #4: Be PREPARED, be PROACTIVE , be CURIOUS

The moment you start your placement, you are no longer a student, but a social worker in training. During the start of my first placement, I perceived myself to be a student and I kept telling myself that it is okay to make mistakes and to not know things. I hate to admit this, but I was rather “passive” (is this the right word?) as I am always waiting for my supervisor to give me work to do, to arrange supervision with me etc. When you change your lenses and you see yourself as a social worker in training, it helps you see yourself as being part of the organization, wanting to improve the lives of not just your clients, but also your colleague (this includes your supervisor!). You will be more PROACTIVE in seeking help, in arranging supervision session and in providing help. By understanding your role as a social worker in training and will be more motivated to be fair/considerate to your supervisor who already has a tight/packed schedule and be more inclined to plan and PREPARE the agendas for supervision (objective for meeting – can include, discussion about session plans, personal reflection, administrative).

One essential trait of a good social worker is also the sense of CURIOSITY. Ask questions! It is okay to not know, but it’s NOT OKAY to not have the desire to learn.

Tip #5: Make friends + attend your seminars!!

While placement lasts only 10 weeks, friendships that you forge during placement last forever. During the 10 weeks of placement, it can be an emotional roller coaster for many of us who haven’t work in the helping profession before. A lot of stress may occur because of the workload, differences in personal values and agency values, conflict with supervisors etc. One can also experience a lot of emotions, especially when working with clients that we feel strongly for or issues that we feel strongly about. Having friends help to buffer the stress and also having someone to talk to can help you clarify your thoughts and just talking can be a mean of catharsis!! The list of benefits of having a friend during placement is endless…!! All the seminars that I have attended thus far for my past 2 placements were also great resources. The seminar tutors provided a comfortable and safe space for personal reflection and it served as a way to help us maximize our learning during placement which was really valuable.

That’s all I have for this post. I intentionally kept this post general because there are so many different settings that one can end up in and I felt that this 5 main points are some things that are more generalizable and applicable to most people.

Hope this post helps and all the best to your placement!! 🙂

My experience as a medical social work student in the hospice (WK 1-4)

Woah, time flies and I have finally ended my 2.5 months of internship as a MSW in one of the hospices in Singapore. I think it is also a good time now for me to do a little reflection to help me consolidate some of my learning and detail some of my experiences so I will never forget them. 🙂

When I first entered the hospice, being an undergraduate who hasn’t been exposed to the medical setting, it was a completely new experience. I could still remember, on my first day, soon after I arrived for work, I was asked to join in the handover (meeting consisting of the doc, nurses and MSW – update the team on the patients). During the meeting, I felt slightly overwhelmed because, on top of the complexity of each cases, there were also so many medical terms that I had to grapple with.

Lesson Learnt:

  • To be a self-directed learner and google all the medical terms that I don’t understand. 

During the first week, as my supervisor wasn’t around to guide me, I did my readings and spent a bulk of my time in the hospice befriending some of the patients. I was a little fearful at the start because I wasn’t sure if what I say would upset the patients, however, overtime, I realized that most of the patients are actually more than willing to engage and that they always have so many interesting life experiences to share. To be honest, I have learnt so much more from them than from the readings I did.

  • Many times, what is hindering us from saying or doing something is the way we perceive things. If we never clarify or dare to try, we’ll never know how the patient feel. 
  • Most patients are actually open to talking about death, sometimes it is our own fear and anxiety that hold us back. It is always good to reflect. 

In the same week, I also did some house visits with the doctors and nurses. All I can say is WOW I am very impressed by how good the nurses are in handling the patients and their wounds and how professional the doctors are in breaking prognosis. It was also during then that I saw how appreciative many families are towards the medical team, especially the nurses. There was such a strong rapport between the nurses and the family and I wondered what role does a MSW then play if the nurses could do, not just the wound and pain management, but also the psycho-emotional intervention.

  • One thing that distinguishes MSW from the other profession is our knowledge and application of theories in our assessment as well as the soft skills that we have. It is therefore, very important to be well-equipped and strong in our theoretical practice. There is also a constant need for us to build up on our counselling and soft-skills.

In the second week, when my supervisor returned, I visited one of her patient who is in critical condition with her. I don’t think I was prepared for the kind of emotions that overwhelmed me. When I first saw the patient, part of me felt really sad that the person is about to die, another part of me was just really curious about how the patient feels. It was very touching to see how my supervisor constantly reassured the patient to not be afraid (even though the patient could no longer verbalise, but she could still nod her head) and to embrace whatever is to come. Afterwards, my supervisor also started praying with the patient by the bedside as the patient was a Buddhist and she used to pray regularly with my supervisor. The prayers really helped to calm and comfort the patient.

I almost teared up when I saw my supervisor pray with the patient. It is such a privilege to be able to be there for the patients towards the last days of their lives and also to be able to develop such a close and intimate relationship with them. Compared to my previous experience in an FSC, spirituality and religion is such a HUGEE part of palliative care. Many times, it is not just about the physical pain, but also the psychological, social and spiritual pain. Towards the end-of-life, medicine cannot treat, but the positive social rls and having a religion really provides some comfort

In the next few weeks, I got to tag along with different MSWs for their sessions and intake. It enhances my learning by allowing me to pick up the good things the respective MSW did during session. However, it also allowed me to see what are the kind of questioning techniques etc that I won’t ever want to pick up.

Through my observation, one thing that is rather common in the work of a hospice MSW is having to handle strong emotions of the patients and the family.

To cry with the patient& family? Or to not cry with them?

At first, I find myself restricting myself from crying. Then I started wondering, why? Why is it that I can’t allow myself to cry? Personally, I am someone who express myself very freely and I cry often because I find it very therapeutic for me. It was sometimes, really difficult for me to keep my tears in when I feel so much for the patient and their family.  Over time, I realized that it is important for medical personnel like us, to figure out and understand, “what is the meaning behind our tears?”. Are we crying for ourselves? For our own state/fear? Or are we crying because we truly empathize? Having the ability to feel can sometimes allow us to better connect with the patient/family that is grieving and allow us to build better rapport and trust. To me, it is okay to show the family the vulnerable side of us, because after all, we are humans too.

As my hospice was undergoing some renovation and I did not have much cases to do, I went around befriending some patients. I was so glad to have met this old, wise aunty who was always very enthusiastic to talk/play chess with me. She taught me a lot about life, her values and her beliefs. She gave me advice and sometimes even offered me food. There was once when I shook hands with her. She felt that my hands were cold so she wrapped my hands up in hers so she could warm me up. I only got to know her for a month or so before she eventually passed on.

It was the first time in my internship that I have felt such deep connection with a patient. When I went in to the lying in room to see her lifeless body, I really couldn’t help but tear up. My supervisor stood by me as I let all my emotions out. Part of me is grieving over the loss of such a great person, but another part of me is just glad that her suffering has come to an end.

— TBC —

Blindly Helping

“the road to hell is paved with good intention”

This quote just resonates so well with me. I’m not sure how others perceive this, but to me, it means that sometimes, in our attempt to “help”, it actually leads to unintended consequences and sometimes, even harm.

In this modern world, we are constantly bombarded by events and situations around us or even around the world that prompt us to help. When we see an old lady crossing the road, we get that impulse to go over and quickly help the old lady. When we see an aunty/uncle on a wheelchair trying to get around places, we rushed over to lend a helping hand. When we see news articles about people from other countries suffering from poverty/malaria/civil war, it triggers our amygdala and emotions of empathy and sympathy – also an urge to be there to help. However, I wonder if people have truly thought about the consequence of their help and if it is even truly, helpful?

Let us just take some moments, slow down our innate mechanism and drive to help and think.

Just imagine yourself, suffering from some chronic disability/financial/ difficulties etc for a long period of time, and one day, an ‘angel’ descended upon you and offered you help with your difficulties. It would be great if the help can lift us out of the sufferings that we are going through, and allow us to resume our independence in our daily live, however, what happens if the help is only brief and temporary? While it is sad to admit, but this is the nature of help in modern society. Many of the assistance that are provided are brief and temporary without consideration of the longer term impact.

We are so blinded and so eager to help we often don’t consider what kind of impact these acts have on people. In another case, just imagine a family of 4, getting by with little income. Common sense tells us that we should provide this family with financial assistance (usually temporary), but what does it mean to the family? Considering that the family have been able to survive without the additional assistance, injecting this amount of financial assistance would mean that we are disrupting the equilibrium or the natural coping mechanism of the family and possibly creating the problem of reliance. And what happens when we choose to stop the financial assistance? The family needs to find ways again, to cope with this lack of assistance. (FYI, I am not arguing for the cases where the family have problems coping with basic needs, and also families that sometimes just need this additional funding to cope with the temporary crisis).

I personally think that it is important that more people learn to understand the impact of their actions before they do anything, even helping. Consider whether it takes away the element of independence and personal empowerment when we decided to come into the picture and offer help and also what other sustainable ways are available when we help. I don’t think that helping is bad, but helping without conscious thoughts is.

All in all, the act of goodwill / help is just overrated in today’s world. People really need to stop, and think of what is the best way to help (if it even exist). Many a times, the needs of a person or a society stems from a larger system and maybe, it would have been more sustainable if we could involve more systems/organisation and listen to the person (whom we think is needy) to allow for a more personalized and sustainable help. (But yes, of course if it is a case of crisis, then direct help should be rendered.)

To end off,  i would like to share this quote as i like how it encapsulates what i think help should look like: “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.”

#rants

Disturbing truth of the Reserved Seating in Public Transport

I travel to school everyday via the train and there’s something that I feels really disturbing to me – the reserved seating.

In Singapore, public transport such as the public buses and train have seats reserved for those who needs it more (e.g. Elderly, pregnant women, or those who are injured) . Usually there will be labels placed near the seats either or, the seats will have striking colors (e.g red) to label the seat as a reserved seating.

I do understand the rationale for such arrangement. It helps commuters be more aware and to give up their seats when they see someone who needs it more. However, in my opinion, while this helps needy people get a seat, it defeats the purpose of building a more gracious country.

What I have observed so far is that, there is great pressure on the people who are sitting on the reserved seat. It seems as though the responsibility of giving up one’s seat lies only in the people taking up the reserved seating. Personally, it gets very disturbing for me whenever, e.g. an elderly come on board, and the commuters NOT sitting on the reserved seating avoid looking at the elderly. Instead they stare at the person on the reserved seating, it was as though they were communicating to the person that, ‘hey you, yes, you are responsible for giving up your seat…’

This is definitely not how graciousness looks like to me. Even though such thoughts are  not verbalize, it is just like a kind of norm that I have observed on the train. I think this has also led many people to avoid the reserved seating, with the fear of being stared at, and also be labelled as an ungracious commuter.

Another reason why I feel that this reserve seating is quite negative (in some sense) is because it kind of promotes some kind of discrimination. It make it seems as though the old people, the pregnant, those with disability are very needy. In a way, it is actually a label that say (in the case of elderly), ‘this aunty/uncle is old and is weak, so please give up your seat to them’.

In addition, this has also led to some of the older adults feeling that they have a sense of entitlement to the seats in public transport. I have observed how older adults naturally walk towards the reserved seating, without saying anything, they just stare at that person, as though they were sitting on their seat.

In any case, I don’t feel like this is a very nice culture in Singapore (Or any other countries). I believe that people are nice by nature, or if not, can be taught to be more caring/ gracious, and that the needy people can also be courteous enough and to learn to ask for a seat on public transport.

It does not take much on us to be aware of the needs of the people around us.

It does not take up too much on us to do something nice for someone else.

Oh well, I guess Singapore still has a long way to go to becoming a more gracious society.

Quick Tips on How to survive NUS FASS

Hello prospective FASS freshies,

I am a NUS FASS student (Y1 going Y2) who’s majoring in Psychology (intending to have social work as a second major).  Y1 has been a crazy and hectic ride, I crashed and burned. There were so many things that I had to learn from the scratch because I have totally forgotten about the fact the I can google for tips on how to survive university.

Also, I am a pretty lazy and poor student that skip almost all the camps just to nua before school officially starts. (which is probably a bad idea because it is always good to attend camp to meet more friends and seniors who can give you tips on how to bid and plan for module)

If you are just like me, you gotta continue reading because you don’t want to be the only blur sotong around in school.

*FYI: For those of you looking for more information on technical topics such as module requirement, bidding, double major, minor, maybe you gotta look somewhere else because what I am covering is mostly tips after you have settled your bidding.

So, here goes!

TIP #1: Read your Graduation Requirement CAREFULLY

For those who wants a ROUGH IDEA on module requirement in FASS, students in FASS usually take 5 modules per semester. Each module is worth 4 modular credits. From time to time, NUS will sometimes have compulsory modules to take, so there might be times where you will need to tank 6 modules. (note: compulsory modules are usually not too demanding).

For different majors and degree there are different graduation requirements. For the Arts students, for the 2015 cohort, we are required to clear a certain number of modules under General education (at least 5 modules) . Exposure in FASS (at least 3 modules, not counting your own major’s exposure module) , unrestricted and our major modules.

So, I bet many of you must be thinking, hmm so how do we differentiate the General Education and exposure modules. General Education are Modules that starts with a G, for e.g GEH1045 : World Religion. Each module have their own different code. So, for exposure modules, it usually ends with an E. E.g. PL1101E.

These modules requirement stuff is pretty self explanatory! More information can be found in the graduation requirement document (I posted a 2015 link for reference) : http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/doc/undergrad/modular_system/modular-2015.pdf

Sorry I am pretty bad at explaining the modules requirements, and I shall not do it just so I do not confuse you guys. 😦

After learning about the requirements, you will need to start bidding probably around early August. So for more information on how to bid and when to bid for modules, please visit this link: http://www.nus.edu.sg/cors/index.html

Reading the graduation requirement is pretty important as it gives you an overview of your academic life in Uni. It also helps you plan ahead if you are planning to do a double major, minor or double degree.

Fret not about module planning and bidding because you will get the hang of it after your first semester. Meanwhile, do check the NUS FASS facebook page as they have talks on how to bid modules and there are FASS seniors there to guide you on this.

TIP #2: Choose your modules wisely

After going through more than 10 years of studying in Singapore, I am pretty sure most of you would have an idea of how you best study. In FASS, there are certain modules that requires more application while the others requires more memorisation. So, by this time, you gotta know what style fits you best.

Some of the modules that I took last semester that requires application skills were EC1101E (Introduction to Economics) and CL1101E (Introduction to Chinese Language). After getting over with Sem 1, I realised that I was clearly not made for applying concepts as I got Cs for both modules.

However, I did pretty well with modules that requires memorisation such as the PL1101E and SW1101E (Psychology and social work exposure module)

Do not worry if you have no idea what style of learning fits you best and that you wish to try out unfamiliar modules, because first year students get the chance to S/U all their modules. (meaning you can choose to not count your grades into your CAP)

In addition to this, you might want to search up on module reviews to get a better idea of the module and lecture style that you are subscribing to.

Bear in mind that if you want good grades, then you have gotta choose your modules that you feel are your strengths.

TIP #3: Know your studying methods well and plan your timetable accordingly

In university, you plan your own timetable yourself. (Plan modules using: nusmods) So, if you are a person that works more efficiently in the late afternoon or night, you might not want to put 8am lectures into your timetable. Similarly, if you are a person that works better in the morning, you can choose to have your lecture early. (But be reminded that you will need to take time to travel and wait for the goddamn nus shuttle bus gosh)

Also, if you are not someone who can learn things fast, please try not to plan your lectures back to back because you will not have the time to absorb what is being taught in the previous lecture. And yes, if you are someone who procrastinate when it comes to doing work (which I believe most of us do), do not put your tutorials back to back because you will need time to chiong before the next tutorial. (if you get what I mean you last minute people)

Yesyesyes, and not to forget, if you are someone who hates the crowd, be smart enough to put your lessons either before or after the lunch hour (peak hour 11-1pm) so you wont need to have your meals in school. This is because the canteen is really crowded and rowdy during lunch time. If you have your lesson before lunch, you can grab yourself a meal outside school after lesson in a less crowdy and chaotic environment.

Some insider tip from a FASS student: We FASS students usually plan our timetable with one day break. So e.g we might only go to school from Monday to Thursday and Fri would be the off day. Some of us would even cramp everything into 3 days. Personally, having a 3 days work week is pretty chilling for me and I always use the free days to make notes, so its quite effective for me.

TIP #4: Be independent

Unlike in JC or poly where you got your friends to study with you, here in NUS, as we plan our own timetable to match our studying style and timing, it can be hard to find someone with an identical timetable as you. And so, it is even harder to find time to study together or to study the same stuff. So you have got to learn to be by yourself, find a comfortable spot around in school to study! Eating and having meals alone sometimes is quite a common in sight in school, so yup.

Studying in FASS also generally means that you will be flooded with READINGS. yayyyy. So, do spend time to roam around the library to get use to the environment and take time to visit the printing room and readings room (AS7 & AS8)! As a psychology and social work student, I have more than 120 pages of readings per week. So, do manage your time well and for some reading, you can choose to just scan through it. Most of our readings are uploaded by our lecturers so we can just print it from the school library or the bookshop. If its not uploaded, then you have got to visit the NUS RBR located in the library to find the book and scan the book manually.

TIP #5: Find friends and form clique

While I did mention that we should be independent in university, it doesn’t mean that we should be alone! Make close friends, most probably through camps and CCAs that can help you can chill with, especially when the school workload is already so heavy. You will always need your friends to keep you motivated and energised. In addition, if your friend is a nerd, it helps you to keep track of your own progress and also keeps you going.

Having friends in University in so important because firstly, the workload is a lot and friends that studies together from time to time keeps each other on track. Secondly, having friends and senior helps as they can share notes and practice questions amongst each other which can be very effective in helping you boost your studies. Lastly. you certainly do not want to have your lunch alone or have bus ride home alone for the whole of your 3-4 years in university right? Afterall, we are here to learn to interact with different people!

TIP #6: Buy your textbooks from your senior or online

Gees, the textbooks in university are extremely thick and expensive. So, one way to save up is to follow tip number 5 and have lots of networks. Buying books from seniors and friends usually come at a cheaper price. I have got friends who look at carousell to find their textbooks too. They are usually two times cheaper than the original txtbk price!

Alternatively, google scholar or nuslib are also good online platforms to search for ebooks!

TIP #7: Try out everything new and get yourself a CCA

In university. we are all so used to having tons of hi bye friend but not one that really truly cares. This is mainly because of our own unique timetable. And honestly, can you imagine, just after a long tiring day, you still have to take the same long bus ride home with your hi bye friend and it can get quite tiring to entertain each other. So, make sure you mingle a lot, try out your favourite sports or cca to make friends. People who get to know each other through CCAs and halls are usually closer because school work is not the only thing they talk about. So go out there, find your passion and a great friend!

TIP #8: Online Exams Paper

One last thing!!! Remember to check nuslib > exam paper for past year paper!! This is really esp impt if the mod is still being taught by the same prof who taught in the previous sem! This is because i realised that prof tend to ask similar/exact same qn across different sem! It’s best to look at the qns during the start/mid sem because it allows you to prioritise materials across the sem. No harm starting early anyways 🙂

That’s all I have gotta say.

All the best to whoever finished reading my long and lengthy post. I hope it is helpful!! 🙂

*Also, I understand that some of you might experience anxiety before university starts. This is quite normal as it is quite a huge transition from JC/Poly to University. Feel free to drop me an email or comment if you have any qn.