back to just drifting along

A Levels are over. Well, they were over for me yesterday. It feels so weird knowing that you won’t have to study really hard for something for at least the next half a year or so, even though I’ve got to prepare for the Oxford interview that I’m not even sure if I’ll get. Anyway, it just feels really strange not having something that pushes you forth, and instead you’re just floating and drifting along. Kind of like the astronauts in Interstellar, but that’s to be discussed later.

Anyway, the A Levels went alright, I suppose. Didn’t think I performed as well as during my prelims, since I didn’t practice and study with the rigour I did prior to my prelims (I forced myself to study that hard before the prelims because I needed the grades to get my predicted grades to apply to Oxford.) Now that they’re over, I’d prefer to not think about it for the next few months, or at least, until I get my results.

That aside, we met our history teacher after our history paper yesterday and it was really nice to see her once again because she’s the best teacher I’ve had in ages. I’ve heard, though, that whenever Cambridge sets a question on the topic that she usually excludes from our syllabus (a question that came out during our exams yesterday), she’ll write an angry letter to Cambridge…I do look forward her doing that. Actually, can I help her draft her letter? I’d like to do that. Questions on economic development didn’t appear during our paper though, and while we were =pretend= whining to her about wasting our time studying economic development yesterday, she mentioned that she practically wasted an entire term teaching us the topic, which IS true. /snickers/ Oh well, it’s good to learn about the cronyistic practices that go on in the region.

Afterwards, I went to my friend’s place with the rest of my classmates, and we just hung out and played board games (scrabble, boggle, the harry potter game thing) and charades (which was really amusing.) I found out I was actually rather good at charades, maybe that’s the improv skills that I’ve gained from marathoning whose line is it anyway kicking in. The friend’s place was gorgeous and her mom was incredibly nice – she made us coffees that looked like this:

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Okay, excluding Finn and Jake. Those were my friend’s plush toys (and I was playing with them.) The coffee even came with a cookie to dip in the coffee, like how coffee’s served at Delifrance! Like how coffee’s served at most non-major coffee joints. Aah if only my mom made me coffees like this. Ah well, the coffee my mom makes is much stronger anyway…good for keeping myself awake for late night study sessions. It was really nice hanging out with my classmates, and I’ll miss them all so much even though I’ll see them again next Wednesday anyway.

I hung out with the best friend today, it was great even though it ripped a major hole in my wallet. As usual, it was really wacky even though it didn’t escalate into the realm of madness that we usually descend into because I was so tired from sleeping awfully late the night before (because I was watching Game of Thrones and 2 Broke Girls.) We did treat our tummies to really good food though, with Omakase burgers (the bacon and the beef patty was divine) and truffle fries AND Honey Creme ice cream. The burger was the best thing I’ve had in ages, probably because I’ve had an insatiable burger craving since the short break during my A Levels. I’m probably dragging my mom there tomorrow because we’re going prom dress shopping at the same area anyway.

Aside from the food, I did treat myself to my second favourite…or maybe third favourite thing in the world. Books. Okay, comics AND books. Doctor Who comics and Neil Gaiman book(s). I was going to buy Neil Gaiman’s Hansel and Gretel but it wasn’t in stores! (UGH)
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I’m currently reading The Sleeper and the Spindle, and Chris Riddell’s art is stunning. How do I draw like him?! I absolutely love his art style, especially after reading his comic adaptations of The Wizard of Oz. Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell make the most perfect combination, with Riddell’s whimsical art style and Neil’s equally whimsical storytelling method. Can they please collaborate on more projects, even Neil’s adult novels (I feel like Neil’s adult novels are severely lacking in visuals…I mean, sure I can visualise the worlds he’s describing perfectly myself but it’ll be nice to be able to compare my own visions and his.)

Of course I’ve got tons of Doctor Who to catch up on. Also, MY BROTHER’S INTERESTED IN READING MY DOCTOR WHO COMICS!! Maybe this is a way I’ll get my brother into Doctor Who (he pretends that he doesn’t like the TV show, but I’m pretty sure he takes..at least…the slightest interest in it.) The comics will introduce him to the Tenth Doctor, whom he hasn’t watched much of because I seldom watch those on TV (I show him the Matt Smith episodes instead because it’s less emotionally heavy and more action-y with better effects – basically things that he’ll appreciate) and the Twelfth Doctor, whom he hasn’t had the chance to be acquainted with yet because it was on all throughout my exam period (and I wasn’t supposed to be watching it…but I did anyway, in my room, every Sunday morning, on BBC iPlayer.) I can’t wait for him to get into Doctor Who and then we can get the figurines and play with them together and maybe role play or something. /squeak/ DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO HAVE NO ONE TO SHARE YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR SCIENCE FICTION WITH AT HOME??

Speaking of science fiction, I watched Interstellar today. It was beyond splendid. It’s like an adult version of Doctor Who, except without all the action-y bits and the alien fighting stuff… Okay it’s like Doctor Who with no aliens. I mean, there’s the whole travelling to other places in space thing, and the timey-wimey stuff and paradoxes that somehow resolves the story…except the paradox makes sense and isn’t just some ex deus machina!! (Looking at you, Moffat.) Okay maybe the =resolution= was unexpected, and it can be argued to be a little contrived but hey, no one knows what actually lies inside and beyond a black hole. And then there were similarly emotional bits…the man who doesn’t seem to grow old (due to the theory of relativity, and not because of two hearts Gallifreyan biology) while the people dearest to him get older and face eventual death. The emotional bits of Interstellar really got me, since I found myself tearing up and sobbing at least twice during the movie…ugh, emotions. Besides that, there’s the whole idea of the moral decision about abandoning humans to die for the sake of beings (in this case a new colony of humans) which is sometimes explored in Doctor Who – notably in the latest episode Kill The Moon (even though that episode was a little problematic because of the way people interpreted the episode to be about abortion.) Well basically there’s actually quite a lot of parallels to be drawn between both, which probably explains why I enjoyed Interstellar that much (aside from the gorgeous special effects and that beautiful score by Hans Zimmer.) 10/10 would recommend. Just a tip, if you can, do watch it in IMAX since tons of effort has been put into perfecting the special effects and the world and worlds and galaxies beyond do look really wonderful in crystal clear IMAX format.

Guess I’ll get back to reading now, and I’ll be prom dress shopping tomorrow. Wish me luck on finding a dress that’s within budget and doesn’t make me look fat.

- Rachel

Uni updates: nothing much has changed from before. Oxford hasn’t replied me about uni interviews and LSE is still taking their time to reply.

Mid A Levels musings

I’ve finished 7 of my papers and I’ve got three left to go. Two of them for History, which happens to be my best and favourite subject, so I really hope I’ll do well for that.

It’s rather weird to think that I’m more than halfway through my A Levels, which is what I’ve been working towards for the past two…no…six years. I do really hope the bell curve works in my favour this time and I’ll get my straight As, but I’m not sure since they papers haven’t been all too favourable, especially for math. I thought the economics paper yesterday was rather manageable, but seeing the reactions to the paper from my peers makes me pretty unsure. The literature paper today went rather well, so I do hope it’ll pull my results up since the first literature paper I sat for was awful.

/shrugs/

Updates on university offers: Manchester made me a conditional offer of BBB, in addition to my offers from Durham and UCL. UCL invited me to attend their open day but I won’t be able to go since…well…I’m stuck here. Or at least, until I get shipped off to uni next year. It feels so weird that I’ve got to turn them down now – it’s actually rather uncomfortable, since I’m much more used to anticipating replies from universities, not…y’know…being the one replying them. Oxford will probably send out their interview offers in the next few weeks, so /fingers crossed/ hopefully I’ll get an interview. LSE have been sending out offers, even though I’m really unsure about my chances since my personal statement isn’t directed towards social anthropology specifically, but rather archaeology and anthropology in general, not that I’d mind if it’s any other university, but LSE’s highly selective and they have often used the lack of dedication in an applicant’s personal statement as a reason to reject an applicant…BUT I DO REALLY WANT TO ATTEND LSE. That is, if I don’t get into Oxford (and my chances of getting into Oxford are…well…slim.)

In other news, Doctor Who series 8 ended earlier this week, and the ending left me in tears (obviously). I’d probably write a review of the entire series after my A Levels, or maybe after the Christmas special, since Christmas isn’t all too far away.

Guess I’ll have to get back to burying myself in books now, adieu.

I realised this blog is turning into a uni applications blog

But really there’s nothing else for me to blog about since all I’m doing right now is fretting over university applications…and procrastinate. And watch Doctor Who. (I could blog about Doctor Who but I shan’t because it’ll take up way too much time.)

Anyway, updates:

1. I’m doing a half-assed job trying to fill in common apps because there are so many questions about me and I’m really not used to just bragging talking about myself. The difference between American and British uni applications is that your applications to British universities are read by academics so they’ll have to be centred around the subject that you wish to read in the university, not about yourself. You’re only supposed to show your enthusiasm for the subject, and not stuff your personal statement with all these non-existent achievements. I’m not sure if I should apply to the US, but I’ve already set up my Naviance account and requested for recommendations, and most of the unis I’m applying to do not require an application fee.

2. I guess I can afford to screw up my US applications because I got a conditional (AAA) offer from Durham!! It’s my second choice uni after Oxford so I’m really stoked about this.

3. Sent off my UCL questionnaire, and the status on the UCL portal updated to “currently being processed by admissions”. Hopefully I’ll hear from them soon.

4. Finished all the paperwork for my Oxford written work, and I’ll be sending it off on Monday! Magdalen’s sent me an email a few days ago about it. /heavy breathing/

Updates:

Haven’t gotten any uni offers.
UCL, has, however, sent me a questionnaire, which means that they aren’t completely ruling out my application, which is great. But that means that I’ll have to write more stuff.

I’ve also just finished my 300 word statement to be sent along with my written work to Oxford. I’ll probably send it off by the end of this week. WISH ME LUCK.

is it time for a quarter life crisis yet? (re: graduation)

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Guess I’ve just graduated today, even though we’ve still got another week of school, and we’ve got to take our A Levels throughout November, and then there’s prom on December the third (which means that I’ve got about a week to frantically try to find a prom dress.)

It’s so weird to think that school’s out and the next time I go to school, I’d be in a completely different environment, probably even alone, overseas (and hopefully that is the case.) I know I did just come to the school I’m currently in about two years ago, but at least I had my bunch of friends in secondary school that I can always turn to when I’m uncomfortable with the new environment…not that the environment’s been all that uncomfortable after you get used to the culture shock (teachers no longer molly-coddle you and there isn’t as much of “pastoral care” as in a girls’ school where teachers do take time to talk to you about your personal issues) and the boys…but that wasn’t really an issue since I ended up in a class with two boys, who’ve been really nice and sensitive and non-misogynistic (thanks guys-in-class.)

Other than that, there isn’t too much of a difference between junior college and secondary school, but I doubt that’ll be the case in uni. Well, I don’t think the way tutorials/lectures are structured at Oxford (where I really hope to go to) and Durham will be that different from what I’m experiencing now, and in fact I do think that I might really enjoy the tutorial system there since it’s typically only between your tutor and yourself and sometimes another student, which means that you’re free to discuss what you’re concerned with as much as you wish (with regards to the tutorial topic) without having to worry about how other people might perceive your ideas…I’m not sure how well I’d adjust to the uni systems in other schools, but hopefully I’d be able to adapt.

Anyway, I do think I’ll really miss secondary school/junior college, as much as the education environment’s been rather “toxic” especially in year six, with all the pressure from your school and family and your peers to excel. Strangely enough, I might actually miss stressing out over deadlines and the things that I don’t understand in class. I’d miss being a major nerd with my friend and googling things in notes that aren’t really relevant to the exam-taking bit of education just to find out strange things about politicians and stuff. I’ll miss dragging myself to school on Tuesdays for the sole purpose of being in Southeast Asian history tutorials, and feeling enlightened after these tutorials, and I’d just miss the silly moments we have in tutorials.

Of course, I’d miss the people too. All throughout my time in Raffles, I’ve met the most wonderful people (and acquainted myself with some of them.) I’m pretty awkward, socially, so I don’t really have that many friends, but I do have a really close group of friends that I absolutely adore and even though other friends pass fleetingly throughout my time in school, I still stick to these groups of friends since…well…I suppose it’s because we do share some sorts of similar interests outside of class. One of my best friends from secondary school’s my go-to concert buddy since, well, she’s the perfect friend to go to concerts with. We’re into the same sort of music, and we’re pretty hardcore about getting front-row spots at concerts so we’d usually go to concerts really early to get the best spots. We’re both huge fans of children’s literature as well, and she’s a book collector, so we’d usually nerd out at the bookstore whenever we hang out. The other best friend from secondary school…well…is probably one of the only people in the world whose minds work at the same wavelengths as mine we do share a strange sort of humour. I’d say we’re like Daria and Jane from Daria – friends that judge the rest of our species together. It’s also cool that she follows the stuff I’m obsessed with as well (she sometimes gets into it before I do, like with Sherlock) so there’s someone I can rant to about new Doctor Who episodes or discuss Sherlock headcanons with. Oh, and we come up with plans to take over the world, except that none of them have been realised yet, and all of them have been rather ludicrous but we think they’d work if we have infinity amounts of money.

Then there are my new friends in junior college, who are somehow acquainted with the aforementioned best friend through mutual friends and extracurricular stuff. I must say, they’re the ones who’ve helped me cultivate my current work ethic since they’re both really disciplined and motivated, and I feel bad when I’m not working as hard as they are. I guess there’s sort of an implicit, friendly competition between us in terms of academics since I do find myself setting standards based on how well they do – and they both do really well – and it has helped me improve a lot. Of course, we do help each other figure things out since we aren’t eventually going to be competing with each other in terms of university applications and all that…one friend’s a Cambridge hopeful and the other wants to study design and architecture (which I really hope to see her do well in since good design’s always been my thing, even though I don’t wish to go into the field of design.) Outside of academics, one of these friends is a whovian – she’s the one who introduced me to the glorious whoniverse in the first place – and the other one is an anime fan. Both of them share my cynical world view, which is great because I can then discuss politics with them since my parents really aren’t the best people to talk about politics with.

As much as I’d miss my friends, I know that I’ll still hang out with them and see them around, albeit less often, but another group of people that I’ll really miss are my teachers. Some of the teachers that I’ve had aren’t the best educators (some teachers are just better able to convey information to their students than others), but they all certainly have been really kind and patient. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I cannot stress this enough, that I’ve been incredibly lucky with the teachers that I’ve had throughout secondary school and junior college.

Earlier today, as a graduation gift, my form/literature tutor decided to give each of us a book from her personal book collection, which I was personally really touched by. Since there are twenty-one of us in class, the books must have costed her at least two hundred dollars, which is quite a lot to spend on a class of insolent children, not to mention that those are books that she’s probably had for ages, and being a literature/book lover, I must say that parting with your own books is really REALLY hard. I could barely bear to pass The Hobbit on to my brother, let alone give twenty one of my books away to students. Also, she’s picked out the books for every single one of us, based on what she thinks we’d like – one of my friends got a book on the culture and history of India since she’s really fascinated by it and she’s done a full extended essay for History on India, another one of my classmates got The Clockwork Orange, which really fitted her slightly rebellious personality, and my friend-whom-we-always-joke-about-being-the-PM-of-India got a Salman Rushdie book. For myself, I got Patrick McGarth’s “Asylum”, which I find, is a rather hilarious take on my one word self introduction on the first day of class: “(slightly) crazy”. I’m not really sure what this says about my mental state  (I do find myself being rather intrigued by psychopathic characters like Harley Quinn and the Joker, and Lecter Hannibal, out of many more psychos out there) but there are elements in this book that I know I’d really enjoy – it’s a gothic novel, and it includes a character who’s an artist, and an estranged woman trapped in an unimaginative marriage…and psychos. Yep, seems perfectly like me to read a book like that.

The one teacher that I’m probably going to miss the most, though, is probably my southeast asian history teacher. Not only is she an effective teacher, I know this sounds cheesy, but she’s a really inspiring one as well. It’s not “inspiring” in a sense that “the teacher keeps encouraging me despite my initial disinterest in the subject, convincing me to work harder to excel in it”, but for most of us – the generally sapiosexual bunch that tend to prioritise intelligence over certain other qualities, the fact that she knows so much about southeast asian history, and is able to craft her arguments so cleverly and succinctly, inspires us to want to be exactly like her…except maybe the ‘teacher’ part because we doubt we’d be as good at teaching as she is. (We just found out the other day that she studied not only international relations when she did her masters at LSE, but also economics, so she’s got LSE’s “economics and politics” part covered thoroughly. It goes without saying that a few of us did respond in awe.) I guess there’s a bit of idolisation in it, and let me just clarify that this isn’t all that weird since, well, a schoolmate of mine found out that the previously mentioned literature tutor’s class made a (sort of) fan blog for this history teacher…well, that was when the literature tutor was still a student in our school. And the best part about that is that the history teacher’s actually seen the blog and chats with her students on the blog. I guess that’s why she’s not all too weirded out by the idolatry she’s getting from us. Speaking of which, I popped by the office to get her to sign something for my Oxford application for me, and my friend came along to pass her a note she wrote (since it’s graduation and all), and she remembered that a few months ago, friend and other friend and I dropped off a letter of sorts in which we rambled about =feels= and thanked her for being such an amazing and patient teacher with us (and I think I did let some of that idolatry slip), so she thanked us for it, and friend and I had a little “senpai noticed me” moment. As for my Oxford application thing (she’s supposed to verify that the written work I’m sending is original and unaltered), she actually went over the essay I’m submitting again and we discussed the various essay options I have since I was concerned with sending an essay that I didn’t get the highest score for, but she said that it doesn’t really matter and the essay I’m sending is good enough. /squeak/ Affirmation from my favourite tutor feels pretty nice, it feels like I’m finally a teensy bit smart, or at least, smart enough to register on her intelligence scale.

So yes, the point is, I’ll really really miss my tutors after leaving school. I do already miss my secondary school teachers but I still talk to one of them on facebook. She’s a Benedict Cumberbatch fan so we fangirl over that together. I doubt I’ll find any of my current teachers on facebook or twitter, and if so, it’ll be rather awkward if I do add them as facebook friends or follow them on twitter since I don’t talk to my current tutors as casually as the way I talked to my previous teachers (which is justified since the tutors I have now don’t openly declare their love for Benedict Cumberbatch and Captain America’s butt.)

I don’t think I can be any more thankful for the experiences I’ve had in school, no matter how much I’ve complained about it before. I do suppose the next few years in university might be similar, but I’ll try to remind myself of how much I’d miss the experience once it’s over to enjoy it more.

/lagging/

Couldn’t possibly have came up with a cheesier title for the post, but anyway, that title IS relevant to..I suppose, my life right now, and the film I went to watch today, that I’ve been waiting to watch for AGES.

Okay, first things first, the film. Laggies.
It premiered at Sundance earlier this year, to pretty good reviews, and it stars my favourite actress ever since I was about nine or ten (I can’t remember) but I’ve watched all her movies since I watched her in pirates of the caribbean (yes I was so happy when I found Bend It Like Beckham in my school’s library and of course, I borrowed it to watch it at home.) I know it’s exactly three weeks till my exams, and I should be studying, but it stars Keira Knightley, so obviously I had to watch the movie, but since everyone else was busy studying (even the best friend who’s been partially grounded), I watched it alone.

When I got to the theatre, everyone in there were adults, which I thought was pretty weird since the film is, ultimately, /chokes on my words/ a rom-com. I don’t want to call it a rom-com since it cheapens the film but, yes, it undeniably is one. Maybe it’s the timing, or maybe it’s because the film isn’t publicised as much (as evident in how I had to travel to town to watch it since the cinema near school isn’t screening it), and there are other movies like /chokes on my words again/ the maze runner available (in which kids can squeal over actors throughout the entire movie, but alright, I do that too with Ryan Gosling, but hey, it’s Ryan Gosling we’re talking about.) Being alone in the theatre with a bunch of adults was rather intimidating though, even though I felt much less awkward after I shuffled over to my seat five minutes into the commercials and spent the next five minutes trying to get comfortable in my pullover (since my uniform is pretty darn scratchy under my pullover.) Eventually, I figured that watching Laggies alone with adults wasn’t too bad (or not as bad when I had to watch Guardians of the Galaxy with a bunch of boys from school whom I didn’t know, who weren’t exactly Marvel fans at all. GRR.) They didn’t mind me laughing at the silly parts, well, because they laughed too even though they are…well, adults, and y’know, serious, and not supposed to laugh about silly sex jokes. I don’t know. Is there a “laugh at silly sex jokes” card that you have to hand into some mysterious authority when you become an adult or something?

Anyway, the film was spectacular. I walked out of the theatre grinning so much, feeling so warm and fuzzy and happy, because like most entertaining, commercial rom-coms, it ended with a happy ending with the boy and the girl (or sometimes a boy and a boy or a girl and a girl or well…any variations available) getting together. Keira Knightley’s character doesn’t really sort her life out very much since she hasn’t got a job but hey, she’s made a head start by figuring out that relationships are complicated adult things and she ends up screwing her teenage friend’s dad and it is implied that they eventually get into a relationship and have their happily ever after. (It’s okay, her teenage friend doesn’t mind and wants her and her dad to get together, which might be sort of weird but it looks really cute.)

I’m not sure if anyone’s noticed this, but the film is pretty similarly structured to Keira Knightley’s previous film, Begin Again (which is another rom-com but it’s a really REALLY indie one), in which girl getting away from a slightly dysfunctional relationship meets dysfunctional family with an absent mom, and girl falls in love with the dad and girl befriends dad’s daughter, and there’s sort of a reconciliation of relationships between the daughter and the dad through the girl. That being said, both films end up quite differently. Begin Again takes a more realistic and empowering tone, in which girl ditches old love and new love, new love and ex-wife reconcile their relationship, girl moves on to find her place in the world (it, still, is pretty optimistic despite a sad undertone beneath the resolution of the story) whereas Laggies is slightly more unrealistic in its happily-ever-after-even-though-you-guys-have-only-been-together-for-a-week ending. That being said, the way Laggies concluded was really adorable, and for someone who actively seeks out fluff fan-fiction to read in my spare time, I really enjoyed it. Begin Again left me with that teeny itch that hasn’t been scratched, since y’know, while I appreciate the honesty and the film’s consistency to the message of ‘not selling out’, I am ultimately someone who watches films for entertainment. Laggies scratched that itch, gave me a standard Hollywood ending that I’m accustomed to, the ending that makes fairytales and I don’t actually mind since the film was well written, smart, funny and interesting.
I’m not sure if you guys get the comparison, but well, we studied George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession and Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan in literature and Begin Again can be compared to Bernard Shaw while Laggies is more Oscar Wilde in terms of the way they go about trying to get their message across while retaining the artistic value of entertainment. I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other, but I definitely enjoyed watching Laggies more than Begin Again, even though the music in Begin Again makes up for the gap that lies between both films.

Up till now, I’ve made Laggies sound like a rom com full of fluff that some film buffs might scoff at, but really, do watch it since there is much more beyond the romantic plot that carries all the subplot. (I do think that Laggies should get much more attention that it is getting right now because I don’t see it publicised a lot and most people don’t know about the film when I told them about it.) Beyond the romance, this film is really relatable to, I suppose, most people. I was watching the cast+crew’s panel at Sundance, and like Keira Knightley mentioned, practically everyone has a point in their life (or a few points in their lives) in which they stop to wonder if they are doing what they are meant to do with their lives, or when they don’t actually know what to do with their lives. Being a student who’s about to graduate from (the local equivalent of) high school, who’s applying to universities and all that, this question’s been plaguing me for, at the very least, the past year. There was a scene in which Megan (Keira’s character) and Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz’s character) were meeting her teacher, and her teacher wanted to discuss planning for Annika’s future, and Megan (who’s been consistently pressurised by her family and friends to get a stable job and settle down, as established earlier in the film) mentioned that there really isn’t a point planning so far ahead in your life since plans change, and you wouldn’t know what you’ll want in the future, and it really put into perspective some things that have been happening in my life. I mean, I’ve applied to uni, and if I do get into the university of my choice, I’d be committing myself to that for the next three years, and I’ll also be committing to myself to a career in the arts and humanities, that’s probably related to anthropology. If I do take up a scholarship, I’d be committing myself to a job I’ll have to take for six years following my graduation. Currently, I don’t mind a career in management, and I certainly wouldn’t mind a career related to the arts, if I do end up getting and taking up the arts or heritage scholarship, but I’m not sure if that’s what I’ll want to do in three years time. It’s a weird thing knowing that your choices in the next few months or so will impact the next decade of your life. I just hope that myself-in-ten-years will not regret the choices I’ve made when I’m eighteen.

Getting back to the film, the whole idea of dealing with the complexities of adulthood – of dealing with relationships maturely, of settling down and getting a job and not lazing on your parents couch, of, I guess, being responsible is something that I sort of fear, considering that I AM on the cusp of becoming =that= and soon it’ll not be possible for me to laze around in my room at my parents’ house and blog about stuff like this and rely on them anymore, and I’ll have to move out, get a job, get a mortgage, get my shit together… This film does not directly reassure me about that, since Megan simply gets a new boyfriend who has a stable job, well, she had a boyfriend earlier who also had a stable job, and I guess, lives with the guy and maybe even lives off the guy. It’s not something that I’d want, obviously, since I’m not the domestic sort, but I’m not the sort to slave away at a nine-to-five job either. But, I guess, the film does make a point to highlight that this responsibility is inevitable, but how you manage it is up to you, which is the nudge I need right now to get me to work.

So yes, I did walk out of the theatre feeling a little inspired and empowered, aside from feeling like fluffy candy floss inside from all the adorable bits in the movie.

That aside, right after the movie, the portal for us to check our Raffles Diploma results was finally unlocked (this sounds like a video game but no, it’s just a school portal…website thing) and I managed to get a Merit in both the domains that I applied for. It’s quite funny to think that I got an award in the cognitive domain for going on two school trips, which makes it seem like a phony, but oh well, I’d take the award. I got another one in leadership, which I didn’t think I will at the start of last year since I was never the sort to take up leadership roles (given my sense of responsibility, or lack thereof.) Well, I guess things changed a little for me, I became part of the system, even committed myself to twenty two hours of service learning that I didn’t really believe in (I wanted to volunteer at the local women’s organisation but they didn’t get back to me, sadly – it would probably have been something that I’d have enjoyed doing more since it was a cause I believed in.) Anyway, as much as I’d like to brush aside achievements and awards (since it’s 1. rather pompous to harp on it and 2. not something that you should focus on…it’s “quality, not quantity”, says the hypocritical society that ultimately gapes at a Harvard degree and shuns a-sizeable-percentage-of-people without a degree), I was pretty happy about it. It’s not all too important an award but it’s still a teeny bit of achievement that I’ll celebrate by working harder for the next two months for a place that starts with an “O” and ends with a “xford”. (Geesus I sound like a sellout now.)

aaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAHHH

My teacher sent off my application at noon yesterday, and UCL and Oxford have already gotten back to me to confirm my application. Manchester and Durham haven’t, but aaaaahhh. THIS IS HAPPENING. People are reading my application. Or they are going to. PROFESSORS, WHO OBVIOUSLY KNOW TONS ABOUT ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY, ARE GOING TO READ THE APPLICATION. And they’re going to judge me. Hopefully I’ll be good enough for them… :<

school, and grades, and mundane stuff that you should probably just skip

School went surprisingly okay today.
We got the remaining of our grades, which I’ll get to later, and my teacher finally (sort of) replied to my request for her to write my teacher’s recommendation for my UCAS application.

So, grades. I managed to pull my grades up a little, generally, and did surprisingly well for a few essays. I managed to maintain my B for Literature, got a rather stable B for History, and scraped a C for Economics (which I was a tad disappointed with since I’ve always done slightly above average for Economics and now I’m just average. Dammit I’m shifting down the bell curve, which isn’t good because I’m supposed to improve and maintain my 70+ percentile!)

Literature was a pleasant surprise though, since the papers I thought I screwed up really bad were in fact rather well done. My essay for The Age of Innocence got a 20/25 even though I approached the question wrongly, but after re-reading through the essay today, I suppose it’s my annoyance at Newland Archer’s chauvinism and objectification of Ellen that got me my marks. (Well, I did scribble “Archer’s an idiot” at least thrice on my question paper.) My Duchess of Malfi essay was a borderline A as well, but I thought I did better for DoM than AoI since I’m much more familiar with the play. Either way, I scored As for both the essays that my literature tutor, who will also be writing my UCAS recommendation, marked…so that hopefully gives her a better impression of me. Also, it was really amusing how even though I barely understood the second poem in my poetry comparison essay, I managed to get a 15/25 (which is a B) and the tutor who marked my essay even scribbled “clear understanding of the poems” as a comment on my essay. Oh, and because I ran out of time, I didn’t get to finish my essay and only wrote one vague point for the essay yet she mentioned that it’s a promising start for an essay. Little did she know that what I’ve written’s all that I understand of the poem (or at least the second poem) and that I don’t really have much else to write for the essay. I suppose being really vague in your essay actually works in your favour sometimes since it’s better than over-interpreting the essay and getting it all wrong. On the other hand, I didn’t do as well for my literature paper 2, probably because I did expect my own Victorian literature teacher to mark my essay – since I did include a substantial bit in my Silas Marner essay that’s more about George Eliot’s reading of Comte and Feuerbach (which he told us about), that might not seem directly relevant to literature…but usually gets me more marks with that teacher. Anyway, I managed to do rather okay for literature although I do suppose I might have gotten myself an A if I didn’t screw up my comparison essay for Lady Windermere’s Fan and Mrs Warren’s Profession, which I wrote in a haste since I ran out of time.

History went pretty well too, and I actually managed to do better for Southeast Asian history than international history with a solid 19 for one essay. I feel like I’m beginning to learn how to hack History exams. Well I could probably have done similarly well for my second essay except I ignored a part of the question in my haste and got a 16 for it instead. As for my third essay, I didn’t actually study very much for it but our teacher practically gave us an outline for a similar question when she went through her revision lectures (since it’s really hard to deviate from the standard question for that topic), so I sort of regurgitated the outline with specific examples, and managed to get a 16 for it too. In the comments for that essay, though, she mentioned the argument wasn’t really strong…which is an accurate statement since I barely understood the topic fully, so it’ll be hard for me to form arguments or even opinions on the topic. My source based question was a surprise though, since I didn’t think I was deserving of a 14 since I spent only half an hour studying the topic the night before and my essay was only one and a half pages long, but then again, it’s not too difficult to get the basic marks for a source based question. I guess History isn’t really my main problem currently, since there are other things to work on (like Math and econs), but I’ll probably still spend the longest time studying for it as it’s the only subject that I can stand studying for prolonged periods of time without feeling frustrated or getting bored.

Economics….Was disappointing. Well, it wasn’t the grades that were disappointing, since I expected that I wouldn’t do that well for this paper, but my performance was disappointing because I messed up pretty bad. Even my economics teacher was rather disappointed with me, and I should probably get her something to make up for it because she had such faith. The funny thing was, I didn’t mess up on what I thought I screwed up – the source based question in which I misread a part of the question and had only 5 minutes to make up a 10 mark essay answer after realising my mistake was the one I did better (even though it was, admittedly, easier on the whole), and my essay questions that I thought I did better than my source based questions were not very well done. I did manage to get a 16 on one essay, but that isn’t as good as the 17 I managed last term, and on the essay that I thought I knew the answer to, I managed to only get a 13. I’m not really sure why but I guess I didn’t address the question well enough and simply regurgitated what I memorised (not a good idea). As for my third essay, I didn’t really have much time so I managed to get only a 12 for it, but it’s still better than the 8 I got the last time I ran out of time on an essay…probably because this question’s split into two parts and I got quite a substantial bit of my score from my first essay, whereas the last essay was a 25 mark essay which meant that I wasn’t able to address very much of the full requirements of the essay. Time management’s still very much a problem for economics, even though it’s gotten much better for history and literature, so I’ve got to sort that out. That and handwriting.

As for math, which is my only D this time around), I’m not sure what else I can do, really, other than to continue practicing and hoping that the A Level questions will be much more manageable than the ones our school sets. And my General Paper score was pretty alright, even though I don’t really know if I’ll be able to manage to do the same at the A Levels since my GP grades fluctuate wildly (depending on whether the markers agree on my stand on things.)

Grades aside, the lessons today were rather enjoyable except for Economics. My Math tutor seemed pretty pleased with the general improvement of the class, even though I don’t think I’ve made very much of an improvement (two marks…but one entire grade). Literature got a little stressful since our lecturer was going through the poetry comparison that I thought I messed up, and I spent the entire lesson worrying about my grades and disappointing my literature tutor even further, but all was well afterwards and the class seemed to have done alright. Southeast Asian history was really pleasant too since the class generally did pretty well (7 quality grades, up from 3 last term), so the atmosphere was rather light. One of the best bits was when my tutor was commending my friend for her essay, saying that it’s one of the best essays she’s ever read in all her years of marking, and another friend commented (a little too loudly), “that’s a lot of years.” That’s probably the first time anyone in class has ever sassed her since it’s always been the other way round. She’s always been snarky – in a funny way – when talking about our abilities but she’s got the right to since she’s really REALLY smart and we all look up to her for that. As for economics, well…most people did improve (I actually did too, but relative to the cohort, I think I slipped) and when checking our scores, my tutor went, “do you have anything to say to me” (albeit in a rather joking manner), to which she got flustered squeaks of “sorry!!!”. It seems as if her other classes have done stupendously well, whereas we sort of sucked in comparison even though we were consistently her favourite class. /sigh/ I feel like such a fluke for Economics now.

Anyway, I’ve got to work on my written statement for my Oxford application as well as a (sort of) resume for my civics tutor so she can write my recommendations…even though I don’t think I’ve got any significant achievements to be honest, other than getting the Doctor Who tumblr to reblog two of my posts, and getting tons of notes on my doctor mew collection of doodles, and learning how to write and speak elvish. Oh, and being pretty good at Doctor Who trivia and generally a major Doctor Who nerd.