August 11, 2003

education + commencement

[160603] why is so much of e education here focused on learning about stuff that already exists, rather than learning how to learn about stuff that may come to exist only tomorrow? it was with an overwhelming sense of relief that I entered university back in July 1998, more than glad to be finally free from e education system. or so I thought. this mindset of learning for e sake of learning seems so deeply ingrained in just about everywhere I look in this graduate mass-production line, & beyond. glad that have ended up as a manufacturing defect, due to:

1. e idea of learning how to learn, planted in my head back in secondary school,
2. e absolute frustration with e system reaching a 12-year peak in JC,
3. e idea of knowing how to access information being far more important than knowing e information itself, pointed out to me by my JC librarian,
4. e (lack of) quality of teaching in most of my undergrad modules, which left independent learning as e most (& only) viable option, &
5. SPS, which provided e environment needed for #3, as well as e idea of taking charge of one's own education, instead of letting others ruin it for you.

perhaps #6 would be e 12 years of e education system itself, for it was that which provided e opportunities to learn several times over how to fail.

It has been said that the primary function of schools is to impart enough facts to make children stop asking questions. Some, with whom the schools do not succeed, become scientists.
- Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, The Camel's Nose: Memoirs of a curious scientist

[280603] do you have a dream? do you even dream? do you even dare dream in e first place? last September, was looking at e snaking queue of graduands in gowns & mortarboards lining up for e commencement ceremony, & wondered how many among them were actively chasing their own dreams, & how many were just going through e paces & acting out e standard script written jointly by our society & e guys to whom we pay our taxes. no, I did not mention e word 'government', did I? *wink*

[020703] was directed to e NUS Commencement 2002 website where e video of e live webcast interviews inflicted on us has been made available for download. remember e interviewers & cameramen closing in on e front of e queue on e 2nd level of e UCC to pick out victims based on e academic honours they'd won. since when did students matter so much to NUS? now understand what my mum & sis were talking about when they said they rolled with laughter in e UCC hall on watching a larger-than-life Chin Ann ('chim-ing' out his interviewer by talking about his Maths thesis) & me (showing a truly SBS or 'si beh sian' face) on e giant video screen during our interviews =P

[250703] approx 7.5 years since e 3 of us graduated together from secondary school....& e 2 who sat together in class & slept through 2 years worth of O level Bio lessons (& concussed through another 2 years of A level Bio lectures) are now a doctor & a biologist, while e one who conscientiously kept awake is now an electrical engineer =D

[110803] SPS @ Science Honours commencement 230703:

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat + labrat + 9_lives_2003 ]