Sunday, June 29, 2008

Graduation Time

Unlike some other universities that hold the graduation ceremony very late that students are inconvenienced *coughimperialcough*, Cambridge’s graduation ceremony is held after May Week. Of course, a reason for this is that everybody’s finished already so there’s no point in waiting further. This year, it was held starting from last Thursday. They do it based on college, so the more prominent colleges (Trinity etc.) get to graduate first, followed by the rest. The would-be-graduates will gather in their respective colleges and then make a procession towards the Senate House where the ceremony will take place.

If you can see it in the picture, the gown with white lining is for normal undergraduates. There are also other gowns but I can’t remember what they mean.

And since this is my third year, it means a lot of my friends are graduating. This includes the chemical engineering people as well, since a number of them are off to do other stuff non-engineering related. Nooo, I’m so gonna miss them!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Visit To The UL

So, as I’ve mentioned, I went to the Cambridge University Library for the first time last Monday. Frankly, I'm quite surprised that I was only there after spending almost three years in Cambridge, considering I used to like libraries so much. Well, those that has fiction sections, at least. So anyway, my friend Adam found out that I’ve never been to the UL (University Library) and throughout the year he kept suggesting that we go there. Or was it from last year, I can’t really remember.

I always thought the UL is unattractive. It sort of resembles a prison in my opinion. But architecture aside, it has six floors brimming with books. I don’t know what is contained in the central tower. More books? Somehow we can’t access it during our trip there.

Somebody told me that the UL is a copyright library. This means that it has the copies of all the books published in the UK. My Oxford friend said the same thing when I visited him, so I guess there’s one in Oxford as well.

The library’s so large that I think people can get lost in them. I wonder how it’ll be like to play hide and seek in the UL. Should be fun.


Monday, June 23, 2008


Something that I learnt during Saturday night was being alone while you’re miserable is not a good thing. At around this time, a lot of Cambridge students have gone home already, which means that knocking on people’s doors to find someone to talk to is a bit fruitless.

Anyway, somehow I managed to calm myself down a few hours after seeing the results. And since at this time the Senate House was closed, I went to the department to look at the results again since I didn’t notice what other people got the first time around.

At this point, I think I should tell you something about (one of) my supervision partner. He’s one of the smartest people I know in my year, and I should know since I’ve been his partner for two years already. I think he’s smarter than me, and most definitely smarter than some of those who got a first this year. But it was a surprise to find out that he got a two-one since he never got less than a first before. For some reason, that made me feel a lot more relieved. It’s as if the results this year don’t quite reflect people’s capabilities. Don’t get me wrong, most of the people who got firsts are brilliant, and I can never compete with some of them. It’s just that somehow some very capable people don’t quite shine in this year’s exam.

At least, that’s what I told myself. True or not, in the least it helps me get through the disappointment this year. And today I felt much, much better. I spent the day with a very good friend of mine, Adam (no, not you, Adam, this is somebody else) visiting the Botanical Garden and the University Library. It was good fun. I could almost forget about the exam results. Almost.

Is it wrong to wish for the new academic year to start already so that I can take next year’s exam sooner and try to get better results?


Saturday, June 21, 2008


First, let’s get some things out of the way. I visited Oxford yesterday and it was great. I saw the city which is probably bigger than Cambridge, went to a formal, and punted Cambridge style. Unfortunately, there weren’t many people on the punting route that we took, so I didn’t get on a lot of people’s nerves. It was nice, though, to visit ‘the other place’.

Anyway, while I was on the bus, I got some calls from friends about the exam results. Apparently, the results were out on Friday instead of next week like I first thought. So, not wanting to hear my result from other people, I came back to Cambridge today to check the Senate House.

And the verdict is... it was a failure. I got the worst result ever since I entered Cambridge. I know for some people, getting a second class upper is a blessing, and that a two-one in Cambridge is higher in standard than some other places, but still... it’s hard accepting a two-one when getting a first was totally within my capability. Heck, I got nothing but firsts since my first year. So now I’m in a miserable state with a crappy result and knowing that I can blame the shitty design project all I want but ultimately it’s my own fault and lack of effort that landed me this result just makes it worse.

Guess I better stop before I sound like a whiny, annoying person. I'll give myself a few days for this to sink in.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Week Ahead

So, the significant thing happening in Cambridge right now is that the May Week is now about to commence. And the May Week is named so because this is the time when the May Balls are taking place. This will all occur in June, of course. Confused? Well, read here.

Because most colleges are preparing for the May Balls, in this period they are often closed to visitors. Hardly surprising, since I will not want to show my college to visitors when they’re erecting tents like this all over the place.

Since I’ve been to the Trinity May Ball last year and will go next year (because it’s my final year), I originally decided not to go this year. However, last Friday I was offered a ticket by a friend. It was a hard decision, but I finally declined since I figured I...

  • Don’t drink
  • Don’t like dancing to loud music
  • Don’t like to disturb my sleeping pattern I’ll probably not enjoy the ball as much as some people. Instead, I’ll be spending Monday going to the Camden Market where I once bought one of my all time favourite t-shirt (and I’ve been told it suits me).

A few friends will be visiting me on Tuesday, volleyball match on Wednesday, the UWC gathering on Thursday... looks like it’ll be an eventful week. Oh, and on Friday I’ll be going to Oxford to do some punting. And on this trip I plan to punt Cambridge style, much to the chagrin of all those Oxford people. I’ll tell you if I get chased out of the river.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rooftops & River Singing 2008

On Sunday there was this annual Trinity College choir singing from the rooftops of the Great Court at noon and singing on the river in the evening. At twelve o’clock, a lot of people have gathered in Great Court to watch the event. It was good, except the first few minutes were marred with the noise of this plane circling overhead.

The whole thing lasted about ten minutes. The one at the river lasted much longer with a twenty minute interval in the middle of it. We all just sat there amongst the crowd on the riverbank and listened to the choir singing in the verge of twilight, when their voices are heard even more clearly.

An ex-MCKK student should be able to recognise this:


Sunday, June 08, 2008

And It’s Done!

Phew! After five weeks of hard work, the Design Project had come to an end. We had to submit the final report on Thursday and make a PowerPoint presentation on Friday. Oh, the best presentation got £300 as a prize. Unfortunately, that’s not my team but then again, I don’t care that much.

To me, this is the worst report that I’ve ever done. I think most of us don’t have a clear idea of how much work is demanded from us, at least in the beginning. I saw the people in charge of the reactor section staying in the computer lab from day one until the last week, inundated with spreadsheets. I thought I was ahead of my work when I finished the main body of both my reports, only to find that a lot have to be put into the appendices and calculation folder, and that I don’t have enough time. If it’s just two or three people, then you can say they have bad time management, but out of the fifty-something chemical engineering students, around twenty stayed in the department from midnight until six a.m. on the last day trying to complete their work. The design project really put a strain on us all.

Fortunately, unlike some stories that I hear about last year’s students (and some of this year’s), my group doesn’t have any internal discordance, which is good. We have enough on our plate already without any added problems.

Anyway, I’m glad that it’s over. Even though we really did learn a lot from it, I prefer a normal exam any day. Let’s hope my exam marks are high enough to compensate my would-be-low marks on the design project.

That’s all for now, I guess. I’m off to listen to some singing on the rooftops at Trinity College. It should be good. See ya.


Monday, June 02, 2008

These Hectic Few Days

Hello, I’m still alive, and for those of you who don’t know, the design project is in its final week and everybody’s busy finishing their reports. That explains why I’ve been silent for a while.

I’ll write a bit more on Friday when we’ll all be free. In the meantime, let’s hope I’ll survive these last few days with the least amount of brain damage.