Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I am-was a 2nd year university undergraduate

I'm slightly confused about my current academic status. I have completed my second year, I'll be entering my third year, but I haven't started my third year. So i'm stuck somewhere in between but the good news is...I did not fail my exams so Warwick University is not going to kick me out. yeay..

In one sentence- a lot happened last year. Some details? Here we go..

My life changed in many ways, the most noticeable one is the fact that I faced the biggest loss in my life-the passing on of my dearest father. This is the first time I've ever been so far away from home. So, coming home to find my father in such a state was a shock..no it was more than a shock..But I'm grateful that I still managed to spend some time with him, and even more than that I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to look after him when he was sick, even though it was such a short period. When I went back to Warwick, the frequent question asked by lecturers and friends who were unaware of my loss was 'So, how was your summer?' or 'Did you have a good summer?' Not wanting to talk about my loss and receive all that sympathetic looks and statements I only gave positive responses.

While not a day passed without me thinking of my father, I carried on with life in the best possible way...

To begin with, I returned to Warwick to be faced with a lot of work. Mind you, when I say a lot, it really was a lot. From the loads of readings i hardly found time to do, to the busy-ness of running a society, and to the normal routines of being a human- i was well-occupied.

Last year Warwick kicked us out of our accomodations so all of us had to rent houses/apartments to live in. In my 1st year I had to learn to lead a fully independent life where for the first time in my life I had to cook my own meals and do my own marketing. This time around, my lessons on being a human adult went one level higher-I had to take part in organising a whole household. Thank God I wasn't alone in doing this and I must say I lived with more experienced housemates.

I like this thing about sharing responsibilities. Back when I had to cook for myself while staying on campus at Warwick Uni, my meals were very much unorganised. A lot of times i couldn't find the time to cook. The kitchen was either fully occupied or i was just busy. Sometimes i only started cooking when i was already hungry. So i had to first stuff some snacks or buns or usually kinder buenos to temporarily fill my stomach while i cooked. those days involed quite a bit of starving and lack of motivation to cook. So my eating habits were not very organised. But this year, there's always one person on turn to cook for the day, so there'll always be food to eat. There were days when i had to wake up really early and cook around fajr time.I didn't mind that at all. It was good practise. Besides, i'm on duty for only 1-2 days in a week. So what's there to complaint about?
In our house in Earlsdon, all duties were shared. I never had to do anything just by myself. I believe the time will come when i have to cook everyday and do house chores by myself every day. I fear that time. I fear that I wont be able to manage. BUt at least, i've had a bit of practise.

So that's the good thing. The bad thing is that our house was soooooooo cold! Our central heating was way too costly, so we had to depend on the portable blowers which was not enough to keep my big room (the master bedroom) warm enough. So during winter, it was pretty much like living in a fridge. We tried our best to spend more time on campus, in the library or in the prayer hall to avoid working in our cold house.

Just a side note..when we want to eat ice-cream in UK, we actually need to take it out at least half an hour earlier (during winter) so that it'll be less frozen and more edible.

Another side note...when we defrost and clean our freezer, the ice we clean out fills the whole sink and is enough to make a few bowls of ice-kacang. Non-Malaysians, a picture of this famous Malaysian desert is below..

A third side note...eating snow is fun =), it's really quite tasty..

Now to my lessons as a second year Linguistics student..

The subject Description of English in Use (DEU) was all Latin to me. It was about how our brains organise and produce words and sentences. It's like learning maths in alphabets and words. Too complicated for my brains to process. However, the other subjects were enjoyable and very much relevant to my future as a teacher. We learnt a lot about suitable materials to use in our lessons and on the methods and approaches we can use in teaching. We also learned to make lesson plans and even had the opportunity to conduct a few sessions of micro-teachings. I received quite a few critics from my micro-teachings but I agree with everything my lecturers told me and I'm happier to make the mistakes now than to screw my students future.

Above....way up there...i mentioned how i could not find time to do all the assigned readings. Well, that's true. In the 2 semesters (about 6-7 months) of lectures and seminars, i could not do the readings. But I miraculously managed to cramp them at the final 1-2 months before exams..Gosh! No wonder i was so stressed during revisions for exams! And during exams as well!! Anyway, despite my premonitions about dying or fainting during that period, i neither passed out nor did i pass on..hehe.. I survived..

Ok..this post is getting a bit too long. Well, what can anyone expect? I'm writing about a whole year here!

Now to the tours..Just some short notes here..I went to:
1. Turkey (8-9 days i think..)
2. Warwick Castle

3. Cadbury World

(yeah the place where they make Cadbury chocolates. And for a chocolate lover like me, the trip was an awesome experience. Though, i've dropped my childhood dreams of marrying the owner of the Cadbury company for the sake of having a lifetime of stocks of chocolates)

4. FOSIS Quran camp in Cambridge

5. Boating in Stratford (where Amma enjoyed the company of the swans)

I can't remember where else I went. But i was so busy i hardly had much time to go around enjoying myself..Neway, if i have the time and the mood, i'll write other posts about this places..Turkey and Cadbury World particularly deserve a whole post each!

Now to one of the best achievements..ok maybe not so much an achievement cos i couldn't make the most of this..I MANAGED TO FULFIL MY MOTHER'S LONG TIME DREAM TO GO TO ENGLAND!!! My mother was with me for 2 and a half months in UK. It was so nice to have her around for so many different reasons =).

Next..despite my initial plans of not running for elections again, I have once again been elected to be the vice president of warwick isoc (Islamic society).

And somewhere in between my busy days at Warwick, i had the delightful opportunity to meet the Crown Prince of Perak, which is the state of my hometown, in Oxford University. His speech was really good and it was such an honor to meet him. And yes, i was delighted to hear my girlfriends exclaim 'He's so handsome!'.

So that's a bit about how my second year at Warwick was like. A really busy and fully packed year. I sometimes leave home early in the morning and only return late at night, something that, to be completely honest, is exactly what university students do. But it's been a blessed year, Alhamdulillah and I look forward to my 3rd and final year at Warwick.

footnote: i have this feeling that i might write more about my 2nd year in other posts...


  1. I enjoyed reading your experiences as a second year student at the University of Warwick. You gave a vivid account of your life as a student and connected some of them to your life in the future. Speaking of which, your knowledge in Description of English in Use will definitely come in handy when you teach. Teaching is not only about finding materials and designing interesting lessons but also getting the phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics right. At the end of the day, your students must know why are they learning, what they are learning. I would be interested to know how what you have learned in your courses would prepare you to be an effective teacher. For example, how your knowledge in theories of learning will enable you to design lessons. It will be nice to know how you would encourage your students to read or write. How would you motivate your students? These are just my thoughts. You don't really have to respond to them in the blog but may be in your mind.

    1. Thank you, Ms TJ, both for reading my entry as well as for the suggestions. I will indeed think about these things because it's definitely going to affect my future as a teacher. =)