Oh Gosh It’s Monday! 😦

The alarm rang and I couldn’t get out of bed to go to school for work at the geotech lab; my body simply defied my brain’s orders to wake up. (The weather was simply too wonderful to waste being awake; it was sinful to do anything else other than to indulge in slumber.) In my semi-conscious state, I self-prescribed an additional ‘x’ hours sleep to cure my severe bout of Monday Blues. Gratifyingly, I plopped my head back on the pillow and drifted off into dreamland. Just what the doctor ordered.

Perks of having flexible working hours haha. But on a serious note, I feel that my vacation job is becoming a chore, so thankfully this is going to be my last week. It’s been a gruelling 5 weeks which I have arduously sieved marine clay, painstakingly modelled clay samples with different polymers, and tediously carried out numerous unconfined compressive tests on them. Not to mention a bit of soil augering and sieve testing for different types of soils as well. (Edit: The allowance turned out to be decent, so I can’t really complain haha).

Work wasn’t too bad when Yingjie, a year 1 civil engineering girl, was around to help. More than anything, it was the monotony and boredom that was stifling, but she helped to alleviate all that with her bubbly and lively (at times wacky) personality. Too bad she was only volunteering for a short while; it really feels much better when you are working with someone else instead of doing everything alone. Overall, I feel that I have not learnt as much as I had initially hoped, and although some aspects of construction I find fascinating, I feel that civil engineering is not really my cup of tea.

However, let us(me) look on the bright side! I have registered it as an Independent Work Programme, so hopefully I can get 2 MCs after I submit a 5-page report to my dear mentor Jay-Z (haven’t quite worked out the details of the report yet though :/). Having met a number of different personalities (FYP/PhD students, technicians, research staff etc.) within the lab, I have come to appreciate this opportunity to interact with them and learn from them during my short stint here. For example, my supervisor, Eng, has taught me that a good engineer always exposes himself/herself to other fields of engineering, because in this modern day and age engineering is becoming somewhat an inter-disciplinary field. It would be myopic to simply focus solely on one’s own specialization in engineering and ignore the other fields because you never know they will come in handy one day.

Moreover, I have developed an understanding of how my FYP experience would roughly be like and I shall be mentally prepared for the ups and downs that every Year 4 student would face – all the frustrations, hair-tearing and eventual relief when things fall in place. This experience has also improved my organisational skills as well as my ability to improvise and find solutions spontaneously and look for the most efficient way to accomplish something. Furthermore, all that manual labour has definitely strengthened my core muscles and helped to improve my overall fitness! (I just did hill sprints yesterday without feeling the effects today). Anyway, I am proud of myself for not simply slacking my holidays away, it would have been so much easier to do nothing.

This afternoon, I talked to a PhD student who is awaiting graduation while both of us were sieving marine clay. She shared with me her experiences dealing with the FYP students whom she had mentored and also the professors whom she had worked under. It is always interesting to hear the stories of someone who is several years your senior, who has been there done that, to hear his/her take on work life and career. I also finally learnt that the marine clay I had been sieving did not come from the coastal regions or the sea like I thought, but from MRT tunnel excavation works. I was genuinely surprised, because I always found many seashells of dead organisms, which meant that they must be really, really old remains.

She told me her personal experiences of how female engineers are often undermined in a male-dominated environment, how she switched to a higher paying job by pretending to be confident and experienced, and also the biased working culture in a Korean construction company (we all know this brand for its smartphones and electronics). The gender inequality issue was perhaps a major driving factor for her to quit work and pursue her PhD, so that she can earn respect and recognition in a better job. This story sounded familiar, then I remembered this was similar to my supervisor’s case – he felt that the older generation tend to distrust younger folk like him and getting a PhD would add weight to his words. I believe many graduates out there face the same thing; after working for some time, they realize that a PhD degree will add so much more to their career prospects. According to her, the ironic thing is, it is probably easier to get a PhD than a Masters degree because of supply and demand – less people want to do PhD.

Anyway, there are still things to do, stuff to settle before I leave Singapore in 2 weeks time. I’m glad that I have met up with most of my closer friends thus far, I feel really lucky to be still in contact with some of them. I can’t wait to fly, but yet I want more time in Singapore. Oh the irony…

On a random side note, I was just watching Naruto when Uchiha Madara said this:

“In this world, wherever there is light, there are always shadows. As long as there is a concept of victors, the vanquished will also exist. The selfish desire for peace gives rise to war, and hatred is born in order to protect love. These are all nexuses, causal relationships that cannot be separated. Normally, that is.”

Sometimes, I think it is nice how some animes and mangas can come up with deep stuff that make us feel philosophical all of a sudden haha.


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