Thursday, November 06, 2014


Time flew by extremely quickly and in a blink of an eye even my third semester in graduate school is almost over. A lot of things happened over this past year and perhaps I came out of them a better and more mature person. Well, maybe.

I'm slowly inching towards the halfway mark of the 4 years I was telling myself is the time frame it takes for me to finish graduate school. However, at this point I'm not feeling so optimistic about completing my studies in that period of time. It's been a year and a half but I don't feel like I have much progress at all. I thought I could wrap up my initial project earlier but even now I'm only probably 3/4 of the way done.

Amongst classes and being a teaching assistant, it is frustrating how little time is left to work on research which is what I am here for in the first place. 5 weekdays in a week and on average I have two days for research, that is if nothing extraneous crops out and occupies my time. Even something as simple and dumb as proctoring an exam can throw a wrench in my day due to the nature of my experiments. I won't have to take anymore classes next semester but god knows about teaching.

I sometimes do wonder if it was a right decision joining a lab whose funding is in jeopardy. Seeing how my lab mate is struggling with juggling research and teaching just to get funded does not make me too optimistic. Heck, I was contemplating heading home for my first Chinese New Year next year after 4 years of hiatus but if I need to teach it means that I won't be able to do so.

Or is that such a bad thing after all?

It was hard having to put down 2 years of attachment but dragging things out cause of "used-to-it"ness is not just unfair, it stops people from moving on. Yet the question that lingers in my head is how soon is too soon?

Quite a lot of things happened in this week alone and it definitely is throwing my off my rhythm. The up side of things is that I might have found an answer to this internal feud that's been plaguing me for the past few months. I was and am confused, disappointed, conflicted and judgmental of myself but I think I can sort of see the silver lining now. Will it cause further grief? Perhaps. Will it be worth it though? I most definitely think so.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Penn State - Round 2

My graduate career has officially begun! Today marks the first day of classes as a graduate student back at the ol' alma mater called Penn State. 

Having arrived on the 6th of August, plenty of time was spent setting into my life here such as moving into my new studio and the assortment of other chores. Pretty much spent every other free hour playing game or watching White Collar at home. Beng San, a senior who has decided to come back to Penn State for his Ph.D. as well had to bum over at my place for 8-9 days before his lease started. Needless to say, I think this studio is a bit to cramped to handle two permanent occupants. Then I helped him and Muammar to move into their place yesterday after which Beatrice the troll is now bumming in his stead. She's back for Masters on a last minute notice.

Summer went by way to fast! One moment I'm back in Kuching and the next, well, I'm here again. Those happy days of waking up to lunch and then going for breakfast everyday is all but gone for at least the next two years. It wasn't too bad though, cause if I spent any longer at home I might get too comfortable to want to come back. At least volunteering in the first Asia-Pacific dyslexia conference and helping out as an enumerator in a research gave me something to talk about whenever professors asked how I spent my summer. I'm pretty sure that sounds much better than saying I spent the entire time sleeping, eating and playing games!

For some reason my apartment is unusually warm, warmer than the outside even during the daytime. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm on the second floor but until winter comes around, I probably need to rely on the AC and cross my fingers hoping that the bill doesn't get too high.

Unfortunately, with the new semester comes workload again and for my first laboratory rotation I have a couple of papers to read to start off. For science!

Friday, March 15, 2013


What? It's already mid-March? Another month and a half till commencement! Or graduation as we know it. Another month and a half till we part ways. Everyone's probably going to head back and try to get a job. Another month and a half till I get to fly back home! Awesome laksa is waiting for me!

Anyway, I received two offers for graduate school, namely the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Pittsburgh and the BMMB program at Penn State. Guess which one I chose? Ta-dah! The latter! Probably doesn't come as a surprise to some people. A new place is fun and exciting, but familiarity is comforting. Plus, I like what the faculty does here better so here it is then.

These few days were mostly about apartment hunting. I went and looked at 6 different apartments in 3 different complexes yesterday and I will be signing an application lease today for a studio apartment for a year. Pretty hefty deposit required, so I have to take a loan from someone.

Next up, graduation!

Apologies for the abrupt end. Heading to campus in a bit.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


The year sure went by fast. At times it seemed to take forever but looking back, it's been a pretty meaningful one. I made a couple of huge decisions, among them being applying for graduate school.

Anyway, new year resolutions. I cannot come up with any for what I want to do has already been set in stone. I can only hope for the best and see if any interviews come my way in the upcoming month.

It's been a pretty uneventful night though. We went downtown but there wasn't anything going on at all! We ended up having supper at McDonald's and then headed back. I thought of playing cards but then everyone was sleepy so that's that. Pretty much the downside of being in a small college town.

Let's just usher in 2013 and hope that it'll be one hell of an awesome year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Last Stretch

It's been, what, 8 months since I last posted? Time flies. It really does. It felt like only yesterday I was all packed up, excited but reluctant to come here but in a couple more months it's time to pack up and leave this place.

That is, if every single one of my graduate school application failed. I applied to 5 programs and here I am crossing my fingers hoping that I get accepted into at least 3 of them. The other two are pretty much out of reach but maybe my GRE scores might sway them into at least interviewing me and then I'll rely on my charms to get in. Fat chance, right?

Summer breezed by, leaves fell and winter is around the corner. The weather is pretty erratic though. Some days we're all bundled up in at least 3 layers whereas just a couple of days ago it felt like a wonderful spring day. These few days it's been rain, rain and more rain but the temperature's not too bad. Snow fell only once and it disappeared as quickly as it came. Here's to hoping that I'll have a white Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, no, I'm not heading anywhere this winter break. I did not went anywhere for Thanksgiving either. I figured I should not spend as much considering a couple hundred went to taking the GRE and applications. Not that I mind, I just want to take it easy this break and relax. Traveling is fun, but it really is hectic at times. Worst comes to worst I might just head over to Parkway and bum over at someone's house or something if any of them's around.

So it's the time of the semester again. I'll be doing my presentation research tomorrow but this time I have to share the 2 hour slot with 2 other people. I doubt I can get everything I want to say in but I'll see how it goes.

'till next time!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Beacon

Guess I never really lived up to my intention of keeping this blog alive. Well at least there’s only another month left for this semester. It’s been one heck of a crazy semester. Test scores had been haphazard and most of the times I’ve just been letting my mind wander – sometimes a bit too much.

This past weekend we just had out MSC Spring BBQ event. The turnout was pretty good and it was pretty fun but I just felt like something was missing. Something, not sure what it is though. And this coming weekend would the the Graduation Dinner for the seniors. I still can’t believe I paid $45 to go do work there. Speaking of MSC, only yesterday had I managed to prepare 30 copies of our Malaysian Cultural Night DVD. The software I was using was messing up the sync and changing to a different one solved it, though I wondered why I never thought of doing that sooner.

The only thing occupying my mind at the moment is my presentation for my research. I was told that I’m expected to do better than I did last semester but I have no idea what to present. I don’t feel like I’ve done much either. I suppose I set the bar too high for myself previously. Along with that, I should be thinking about what I want to do in lab for this summer but I don’t know enough to think of a project! I guess it’s time to go read up on all the lab publications. Not my favorite past time.

I feel like I’ve decided on some things, and that life is too short to stay on the safe side all the times. I guess at times it’s better than to take the risk than to regret not taking it at all. Wistful thinking it might be sometimes, but there’s always a hope that it’ll succeed. If the risk is never taken, there’s never any hope to begin with.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

March & Spring Break

It seemed like a lot had happened over the past few weeks. Although I had been keeping track, I still felt like time just flew by.

Among the things that had happened includes our Malaysian Cultural Night! It’s been over for about 2 weeks but my part isn’t really done yet. I’ve got to finish up the video and stuff and although the main video is finished, there are still some quality issues and it’s a pain to iron out those wrinkles. Moreover, I have to make the rehearsal videos a bit more presentable and I have yet to start doing that.

So far, my classes this semester feels somewhat harder compared with the last semester although I  am taking less credits. For the first time after arriving here, I had achieved a test score that’s below average in Biochemistry. I was rather dumbstruck since I honestly didn’t expect it and I did feel like I had done better than that. I guess I should put in more effort for the next test but at the same time I had been skipping Biochemistry classes. It’s bad, but it’s becoming a habit. Justification for it is probably wrong but the class is worse than boring; It puts me to sleep!

On a brighter note, I am in the midst of Spring break! The past few days had been rather eventful ones and they certainly make this break feel like a holiday. Yesterday, we drove all the way to Springfield, Pennsylvania to visit Fallingwater. It’s a brilliant architectural piece that’s built over a waterfall and though it was built in the 1930s, it felt pretty modern. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos within the property, only outside. It took almost an entire day but it was well worth it.

Tomorrow would be a break in this spring break without any plans and I certainly welcome it. I haven’t had a full day without doing anything so far, with today spent playing our Fifa tournament. I guess I’ll just sleep tonight without setting my alarm!


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Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to not feel anything at all. It clouds the judgment and borders between right and wrong but who is to say what is right or what is wrong? An opportunity not taken is a chance lost forever, isn’t it?