Of Lab and Labmates

My lab is in the basement, where the sun don’t shine. This is the first sign telling me that I should run screaming back home, with tails tucked between my legs and all.

Well, figuratively speaking, of course.

The second sign is how everyone of my labmates looked like their lives had been sucked out of them.

Haha.. Just kidding.

I hope.

There’s 7 PhD students, 2 post-doctorate fellows, one Associate Professor, and there’s me. There’s two labs, one in the ground floor, the other in the basement. Of course I get the one with no windows.

First there’s a Chinese girl, Ling. She was in her second year. Oh, she is nothing like Ling Woo. She wore glasses, and these baggy clothes that made her looked even more…

Ehem. Anyway…

She is like super smart or something, so everyone looks highly on her. She is also very nice, so I like her.

Then there’s Heidi, a tan Singaporean, who was in her fourth year. She’s stylish, was wearing a light pink summer dress and wedges, and quite chatty. Very bubbly. I can probably stand her after I had my coffee, but she’s just too bubbly for me in the morning.

Andrew, who is Vietnamese. Andrew is not his real name, but he said that nobody can pronounce his name correctly, so in the end he gave up and adopted a western name.

There’s a Chinese guy, Li Hao, who supposedly stays in the lab for 12 hours or more everyday. He could’ve been living there, no one will know cause he’s the first one to arrive, and the last one to leave.

Tan, who has been in Singapore since High School, so now he’s officially a Singaporean citizen. Tan is his family name, and everyone just kept calling him Tan cause it’s easier than his name, which is…umm…

I swear I remember.

Oh anyway. Then there’s Brian. A Malaysian.

Ahmad, another Singaporean guy.

That’s seven.

The post-doctorate fellows are Ayumi, who is, of course, Japanese. Amy, a Chinese who did her PhD in America.

There’s two labs, right. So I will be in the basement, with Ling, Li Hao, Andrew and Amy. The lab on the ground floor is kind of filled with computers and what not, so there is more space in the basement.

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Hello From…Here

Hello from le Dormitory!

I have moved into the promised land, and by promised land I meant the apartment unit I am to share with Naomi. It’s…you know, decent.

And by decent I meant under-furnished with crappy furniture, infested with bugs, with an irremovable stain on the center of the living room floor that could very well have been a crime scene once.

It has one bedroom with two single beds, a bathroom and a kitchen-slash-dining-room-slash-living room. At least there is internet cable and fridge. And hot showers.

Although somehow the shower only do ‘scalding-your-skin’ hot and ‘freezing-your-ass’ cold. Nothing in the middle, I’m not kidding. Well it’s not exactly freezing, since this is Singapore. The coldest it gets is like 28 degrees Celcius probably? Not so cold but so comfortable anyway since body temperature are like 10 degrees hotter than that.

But I’m absolutely not kidding about the scalding-my-skin. I have shower-related trauma now.

I just finished skype-ing with le boy-toy. I haven’t even called my mother. I felt bad. My Mum left for Jakarta this morning, she guilt-tripped me into taking her to the airport. After she went into the waiting room, I had to spent an-entire-week-worth-of-food money for the cab ride back to the hotel. Then I can move into the dorm.

On second thought I could’ve taken the train, but after two hours of my mother’s yapping on how I should take better care of my hair and shit like that.

But maybe I should call her anyway.

Or not.

Considering her yapping also includes the fact that she cannot fathom why I think it necessary to get a PhD when we already have a doctor in the family, a medical one nonetheless and everybody knows that the medical one is the one that matters.

Huh. Sigmund Freud is damn good in his field.


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Because Personal Life is Just Overrated

So…I had a meeting with my thesis advisor today.

A rather interesting one, I might add.

Let’s call him Prof. Smith (from Brian Smith from the PHD comics, in case you didn’t know.).

I went to his office after arranging a meeting yesterday. We spoke on the phone before, when I was applying for the university. I knew he was going to be my thesis advisor once I got here. He seems like a nice guy and all.

But I think I chose to have him as my thesis advisor is because he is Caucasian.

No, I’m not a white supremacist or something twisted like that. I’m Asian anyhow. Without any sort of identity crisis. I’ve just been told a lot of stereotypes regarding Asian researchers. Chinese and Japanese will work you asses off. Well, I have this mentality (more like a vague hope) that since he is from America, he will not want me to slave away in the lab.

Boy was I wrong.

So he talked about several projects that he had at the time, that I can work on. I’m supposed to read up and catch up and what not. And learn the software (since my work is computational).

Prof. Smith: You know, I’ve been doing this for quite some time.

(Really? He looked quite young to me.)

Prof. Smith: I noticed that nothing substitutes hardwork. You maybe as intelligent as Einstein, but nothing substitutes hardwork.

Me: *nod solemnly*

Prof. Smith: I also noticed that the foreign students did better than local ones.

Me: (Huh, what?)

Prof. Smith: *sees my confusion* Well, they don’t have family here. So less distraction.

Me: Oh…

So I spent the whole meeting looking like an idiot (“Yeah”. “No”. “Uh-huh”. “Yes”. “Nah..”.). Prof. Smith is probably regretting his decision as we speak (or as I type).

And it also dawned on me what he was trying to (not so) subtly tell me:

You don’t need a life. Stay in the lab where you belong.

I hope I’m wrong.

Although he seemed oddly (too) happy, when I told him I’m single.

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So today I went to my new school to officially register.

I’m currently staying in the hotel with my mother, because I am that girl whose mother accompany her everywhere even though she’s 21 years old already. Then I’m moving into the dorm sometime next week. Can’t wait.

The hotel was, for God’s sake, far from my new school. Like, I had to take the train and then switch to bus, and it took me one and a half hour. My mother of course, chose to go shopping instead. Typical.

By the time I got there, I was covered with sweat, since I got lost (yea, I did that often) and had to ask for direction several times. Pffft.

The people were nice, very welcoming. They gave me things to sign, and a student card, tell me when and where to get my visa, etc etc.

I also made a new friend today. Her name is Naomi Zhao and she is a Malaysian. We talked (chatted) via email beforehand. She is going to be my roommate. We will be given an apartment unit in the dorm, for a maximum period of one year, because we are first time international students. I don’t know what it would like, but at least I won’t have to share bathrooms with 30 other female students.

I really hope Naomi is not a serial killer.

I do hope she is an obsessive cleaner, though. Because I’m an obsessive slacker with no regard to hygiene.

Will update you again tomorrow.

Cheers! 🙂

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Why I Started This Blog

Every good thesis or paper has an abstract, an introduction, a literary review, a research methodology, results, discussions, conclusions, acknowledgments, and sometimes a future work section.

Not that this is exactly a piece of excellent scientific writing… No, it’s not even close. That be the case, I still insist to adhere to that structure in writing this blog… However, I’d skip the abstract and start with an introduction.

Then again, the literary review I had in mind was the review of a good novel I read recently. And research methodology should only be shared in a scientific paper or a thesis. Results I don’t have yet. Discussions? Ha. So…just hang on.

I have been a student since I am 3 years old. Preschool is still considered school, right. So…after one year of preschool, one year of kindergarten, six years of primary school, three years of junior high school, three years of senior high school, four years of university, now I’m going for four years of doctorate study.

Honestly? I have no idea what I am doing.
Heck, I have no idea why I wanted to do a PhD.
But anyway…I’m turning 22 this December, and if I graduate on time, I will be 25 or 26. That means, I will have spent more than 80 percent of my life in school. If that doesn’t make me a good student, I don’t know what will.

So…here I am…the good student. I started this blog to…..I dunno, share my experience maybe?  Or to chronicle a new stage of my life.

See, I am a girl who likes to shop, read Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Sydney Sheldon’s novel, and wants to be a fashion designer. I follow fashion blogs and websites, likes to surf youtube, yet here I am, doing a PhD in engineering. That should at least be peculiar, if that doesn’t count as interesting. 🙂

Stay tuned! 😉

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