a review of IDS Skincare… by a skincare noob (#2)

Welcome back to Gwyneth’s conquest towards her #BeautifulBareFace. My journey is a three-part series detailing my collaboration with IDS, and this is the second post. If you’re new, head on over to the first post where I detail the skincare regime they initially prescribed me and my skin’s subsequent response.

This round, I will recap my second visit to IDS, which included adjustments to my skincare regime and a luxurious facial worth as much as my soul. I will also review my skin condition after 4 weeks of exclusive commitment to their products, because I am now a Changed Woman who can commit to healthy habits.

Mandatory disclaimer: I received products and services from IDS in exchange for this review. Nonetheless, I will strive to provide a fair evaluation of what worked for me and what didn’t, where applicable. Although I am a skincare noob, rest assured I compensate for it with my research skills.

Select Page 2 below to continue reading.

How to Win the NTU Star Wars… and other FAQs

I get a lot of questions from juniors in NTU. But I only have so many hours in a day, so I made this FAQ which should serve to answer most of your questions. You can still contact me if you have other questions, though I make no guarantees about my response rates. I will continually update this list as new questions come along.

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How do I win at the NTU STAR WARS?

Here’s what worked for me (I got virtually every mod I wanted as an undergraduate).

Prepping for War

  • Split your modules into three plans.
    • The first two plans will ONLY have your cores and major electives. GER-Cores come under here too.
    • The first is your plan A, and you should populate it with your first-choice modules. Make sure they do not clash and that you do not have more AUs than you should have (people who hoard modules are trash). If you want to maximise your chances of getting the mods you want, consider selecting those with less popular tutorial timeslots. At least you’re in the module – you can swap indexes later.
    • The second is plan B, which contains the modules that you’re willing to settle for – there should be no overlaps with A. Plan B’s actually optional, because even if you lose the first round, you can play the waiting game to get all the modules you want eventually.
    • The third plan, the “essential afterthought”, consists of everything else – GER-PEs, UEs, or ICCs/BDEs as they now call it. Speed does not matter for these modules because ballotting, so just take your time to rank and submit after you’ve recovered from the initial shock of submitting Plan 1 and 2.
  • Use time.is – the STARS system is well-aligned with it.
  • In your free time or let’s say about 20-30 minutes before the actual war, practice holding the button from around XX:XX:55 onwards and release just as the clock turns to XX:XX:00. The system will indicate to you the time – if you’re in the “next minute”, you’ve succeeded. Practice releasing as early as possible while not being too early, because a mistake later during the actual bidding will cost you.
  • Sit really close to your Wi-Fi source, or use a desktop PC (those ethernet-wired ones). It worked for me, especially with the latter, but it might be a placebo effect.
  • Load up the page about 10 minutes before the actual timing and keep loading your modules in intervals of 30s. I am paranoid so I was loading every 15s LOL. This is so the page doesn’t expire by the time you submit your mods.
  • I read online that some people use two devices i.e. a computer and their phone to bid at the same time. I think that is hilariously dramatic and I did not need to do that, but whatever works amirite?

The What War?

  • When you submit Plan 1/2, another page will launch asking you to rank the modules. You do not need to rank the modules. Just locate and select the button at the bottom to submit.
  • The page may freeze. DO NOT close it. That’s what I did once when I panicked and I lost big time. Just wait, even though your heart wants to jump out of your chest and your mind is SPINNING.
  • … [processing] …
  • If you win, congratulations! No further action is required on your part. Do your little victory dance, submit Plan 3, and text your friends.
  • If/when you lose, DO NOT PANIC. Do NOT launch your email application in a fruitless attempt to complain to your school office – they will not be able to do anything for you at this point.
    • Speaking of which, keep an eye out for emails from your admin. They will usually be around to resolve any cohort issues (but not your individual ones, so don’t waste their time).
    • More slots for your modules are likely to be released periodically through the remainder of the day. Some say it is 5-10pm, but check back every 15 minutes anyway. It’s not as if you’ll be able to focus on anything else.
    • If you have a group chat with your coursemates, start posting your deets to exchange mods. First-come-first-serve!

The Aftermath

  • Contrary to popular opinion(?), THIS is actually the stage where I got most of the modules I wanted.
  • Sometimes I wrote to the office and pulled the 2nd major/exchange card (scientia potentia est, ladies and gentlemen).
  • Most other times I simply waited for the add/drop period and camped religiously at the STARS planner page. I would check back every 30 minutes or so waiting for people to drop the modules through the first and second week (esp. following the first lessons). I checked during class, outside class, when I woke up, before I slept. I usually got my modules by the end of the first week. Yeah so kinda anticlimactically, for me it was really just patience and persistence that sealed the deal.
  • I know some students write directly to professors, but it depends on the prof’s personality. I never used this method because I didn’t want to inconvenience others (the admin who has to accommodate extra slots, and the other students and professor who may have to bear the brunt of an overloaded class) and I don’t like it.
  • Even if you don’t get the modules you want, try something else and you might find yourself in for a surprise! I do have modules I regret taking (everyone does), and I can’t help but wonder what if I experimented and found something else in the process? You never know.
  • Be kind to your fellow peers and help them out. You never know if they might return the favour. People are more prone to helping friends when it comes to this kind of thing like swapping modules and all.

Check out my guide to NTU Psych Modules here.

To see the other questions, select Page 2 below.

a review of IDS Skincare… by a skincare noob (#1)

Everyone wants good skin, and I am no exception.

And so on the fateful day that IDS(!) reached out to me for this collaboration, I took on the challenge towards achieving a #Beautiful Bare Face. This will be a three-part series, and you are reading the first post. Here, I will chronicle my initial visit to the legendary IDS and review the skincare products they recommended me.

The big question: So, did my skin improve? The answer, for now, is a tentative yes – but why take my word for it? See for yourself and decide!

Mandatory disclaimer: I received products and services from IDS in exchange for this review. Nonetheless, I will strive to provide a fair evaluation of what worked for me and what didn’t, where applicable. Although I am a skincare noob, rest assured I compensate for it with my research skills.

look at how they sparkle! OwO

A brief about the test subject before we begin:

  • My goal is to have a Beautiful Bare Face (BBF hereon). I aim to function without makeup as much as possible. Currently, I use makeup only for important events, which is at most 6-8x a month (not even on dates – my man has to contend with my natural beauty). Everything else is filters and facetune.
  • I don’t have good sleeping habits (see: eye bags). As a maximiser, I masochistically occupy myself with multiple responsibilities, e.g. research, doing an internship, leadership responsibilities, and writing this blog. So, sleep is a luxury. This also means I spend the bulk of my time exposed to blue light from screens, which could spell trouble for both my sleep and my face.
  • I don’t (didn’t?) have great skincare habits either. Admittedly, I know a lot less about skincare than I should, considering my face is my asset. Hell, I don’t have good habits in general. Read on to see me get lectured by Dr Ian… (sniffle)

Select Page 2 below to continue reading.

Gwyn’s Guide to NTU Psych Modules (or: PSYCcess)

Update 12th Aug 2021:

WELCOME WINNERS (back) to a new semester of striving and suffering in AY21/22! This update brings additional reviews for HP4103 Forensic & Criminal Psychology (previously HP4106) and HP3203 Conservation Psychology. Also, with this update, I come forth with a new opportunity for YOU…

click for social media

We are the Singapore Psychological Society Youth Wing, bringing psych opportunities to you(th) 🤙🏽! We aim to advance psychology as a science and career among youths in Singapore 🇸🇬. Follow us on social media to be notified about our latest psychology initiatives. ❤

(Full disclosure: I’m the President so rest assured we’re legit.)

+++ END UPDATE/NOTICE +++

welcome to SUCCESS

Hello to all my fans. This post is a comprehensive review of modules I have taken in NTU. For each I briefly discuss the lecturer’s style, content, assessments, and personal tips if any. Ctrl-F is your friend here – enter either the year/semester (e.g. Y1S1), course code (e.g. HP1000), module name (e.g. Introduction to Psychology) to jump to the relevant section directly. I also indicate the type of module (Core/Major-PE/Ger-Core/Ger-PE/UE) and number of AUs. All the psych mods are presented first, followed by the GER-PEs/UEs/BDEs.

Background: I majored in Psychology with a 2nd Major in Sociology. That’s a normal workload for psychology + 35AUs in sociology courses substituted from my UEs.

Disclaimer: Module syllabus differs by year and is especially contingent on the lecturer so what you read here may not be what you get. My module trajectory is not a guideline – I just did whatever I wanted. It is your responsibility to do your due diligence. Just because I said a module was easier for me doesn’t mean it’s easy to score because of how the bell curve works, and just because I said something was hard doesn’t mean I didn’t do well. I discourage selecting modules based on how easy they seem; I recommend selecting topics that interest you.

PSA: You can find most course syllabi at this page (under the courses block).

If my posts helped you and you’d like to show your appreciation, consider making a donation here! It keeps my blog running and my energies focused on writing LOL. You will contribute to my monthly subscriptions to Share The Meal. More details and contact information here.

Select page 2 below to continue.

compassion in teamwork?

Part 2 of teamwork, or lack thereof

I was interviewed by a therapist a few months back for some program. (Not for therapy, but I’ll get there.) She was a genteel lady who spoke as if soothing a newborn, yet I could sense iron will beneath that demeanour. And that intimidated me. I felt that she could see the weaknesses of my being: when her gaze penetrated me, I found myself wringing my hands under the table.

We started with the typical questions. Tell me one interesting fact about yourself. How did you become interested in psychology? What are your career goals? The two other interviewees flanking me answered with practised ease: well, I’ve always been interested in counselling…

Everything was manageable up to the pièce de résistance. Having sat silently beside her until then, her assistant peered at his notes as he recited the question.

I'm sure all of you have had to work in teams in the course of your study. Can you share one instance where you had a teammate who did not participate as much as you would have liked, and what you did in response?

Unsurprisingly, nobody had issues answering. We shared our misadventures with our own flair. I started with an academic definition of social loafing, which her assistant noted with some alarm; someone detailed a more placative approach, and the other had a heartwarming ending to their story. But the details were irrelevant: deconstructed, our stories were identical. There is a slacker, there is retaliation, and perhaps reconciliation.

I thought the interview would end following our earnest sharing. But I was wrong. She leaned forward, her body language incongruent with the killer blow she was about to deliver.

What are your thoughts about… showing compassion to these people? 

Just like that, I was ensnared.

My mind was racing. I’d never encountered a question like that before. Whilst I spluttered trying to parse together a coherent response in real-time, my psyche was going through a saga of civil war. Tons of if-then sequences, buts, and rebuttals to those buts battled each other.

Should slackers be shown compassion? Do they deserve compassion? Who’s to say who deserves what? Isn’t it right to show compassion to all, for better or for worse? Everyone’s bound to make mistakes, and the least we could do is be understanding, right? Isn’t that what I’d want from others – empathy in difficult times? But what about situations where someone leeches off the team the whole term with a shitty work ethic? And what if it happens most of the time? What about the others left shouldering the burden of work then?

What about me?

My first instinct was to reject the notion of compassion. Being primed with the thought of slackers already brought forth ugly memories from the recesses of my mind. To further expect me to swallow that resentment and extend loving acceptance to those who brought me suffering? If received offhandedly, the question could even be construed as an insult to those who actually put in effort (or, if I dare say, one could “take umbrage” at the statement). We bear the brunt of the work, they get the grade we worked for with minimal contribution, and we still have to extend compassion to them? Am I supposed to benevolently and passively endure as people take advantage of me for the rest of my life? To accept such an arrangement would be absurd. I can’t help but bitterly wonder if graders consider our feelings when we raise such instances of injustice only to hear “it’s just like that; get used to it”.

I should qualify my statements with a disclaimer that I don’t think of myself as The Most Valued Contributor Of All Time. I have done less than what I could potentially do, once in a while, albeit never regularly. Nevertheless, I continue to find myself appalled when I repeatedly encounter instances where people simply do not seem to care. They’re not even pretending to try. And others become notorious for making loafing a habit and their defining characteristic. I may not have the complete picture – thing is, nobody ever does – but I sure as hell can tell when you’re making an effort.

I’d be happy to extend compassion to everyone if it meant that loafers would actually start pulling their weight in projects, except I don’t recall that working out. Pragmatically speaking, compassion is a lofty ideal only attainable to the enlightened who have unlimited patience and time. And in this pressure cooker of a society, we have neither to spare. I have neither to spare.

Why then, indeed, should we show slackers compassion?

I guess that her counterpoint was designed to be discovered within that internal tirade. Her argument was that with sufficient support and unconditional positive regard, anyone could be motivated to contribute. Keywords: anyone, unconditional. I must admit that this optimistic view doesn’t sit well with my assumptions of human nature, which tend to lean toward the direction of self-centredness. But that could very well be a distortion manifesting from my personal insecurities. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from group work, it’s that our expectations of others are projections of our expectations of ourselves. I demand from others as much as I demand from myself, and I inevitably find myself disappointed because I am chasing unattainable perfection. And expecting others to act in the way we want is maladaptive at worst and naive at best.

It’s easy to attribute this dysfunction to the environment. We exist in a system that pits people against each other, and where the default mode of exchange is transactional rather than relational. My corresponding preoccupation with equal contributions bleeds into everything I think about and do when it comes to work. And my self-centredness hurt me and the people around me in the process. I’d immediately dismissed compassion as a fruitless endeavour on the basis that it wasn’t tangibly productive because I think only in terms of results when it comes to this issue. In this view, people are only worth as much as they can contribute to the outcome – precisely what she was attempting to challenge when she presented us with that thorny question.

Of course, resentment at inequitable contributions is instinctive and natural. But we can choose to rise above those. At least theoretically. And it’s not a have to, as she reiterated – nobody is obligated to show compassion to another. But perhaps we would be better off doing so. In extending compassion to others, we could be doing the same for ourselves – something we often neglect in the pursuit of conventional success. In fact, we probably need this compassion more than ever during these difficult times. Still, I believe we can further advance the conversation by considering other layers of the issue, including distributive justice, and I look forward to encountering more nuanced takes in the future. 

NTU vs NUS Psychology: The Lowdown

Considering Psychology as a degree, but can’t decide between NTU and NUS Psychology? We’ve got you covered! With 4 friends from NTU and NUS Psychology, we answer 10 frequently asked questions about the experience as a psychology student in both institutions. We also provide the nitty-gritty details, and offer some tips on how to thrive if you do choose to pursue Psychology in either university!

copped from @nus_memes

Questions to be answered (Ctrl-F to jump to the question straight, e.g. “Q3”)

  • Q1. Did you choose NTU/NUS Psych, and why?
  • Q2. What were your expectations for the Psych course when you first entered? How has the actual experience been similar and different?
  • Q3. What is the process for getting modules in NTU/NUS Psych like, and how has the experience been for you?
  • Q4. What are your favourite modules so far, and what modules have you not taken but want to?
  • Q5. (Because NUS allows seeing grades before S/U) How has the S/U function helped you? For NTU students, what are your opinions on this? 
  • Q6. Share one favourite memory you made in university.
  • Q7. If you could give your younger self one piece of advice before entering university, what would it be?
  • Q8. What research opportunities are available for students in your batch, and have you taken up any of them? How was the experience like?
  • Q9. What career opportunities have you been exposed to? 
  • Q10. What resources do you recommend for incoming students to your university’s Psych programme?

Profiles of our guest interviewees (names tagged to social media profiles)

Gwyneth (NTU): Year 4 doing Psychology and Sociology as a 2nd Major at NTU. Spends all her free time blogging or reading specific genres of manga (yes very boring). PLEASE support her by sharing this post/blog with ALL your friends. Find her @gwynethtyt everywhere.

Tarif (NTU): Year 2 NTU Psychology Major, pursuing a minor in Youth Work and Guidance. In his free time, Tarif enjoys taking long walks amidst nature and scrolling through TikTok and Facebook for funny content. A pragmatic idealist, Tarif can often be caught contemplating life, seeking greater meaning in the work that he does. Beyond his musings, he lives by the phrase: all is well!

Terance (NUS): Year 2 NUS Psychology undergraduate. Doesn’t like balloons.

Ye Rui (NUS): Year 2 NUS Psychology undergraduate. Enjoys watching shows, gaming, and playing soccer. HATES cucumbers.   

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weekly jam, #11

I have a sacred duty to share this song with as many people as I can. The moment the opening chords hit, I was compelled by an external force to drop everything I was doing and simply close my eyes and feel my existence channeled via every note of this melody. I have NO doubt that it was a spiritual experience (the last time I felt this way was watching John Mayer live). Good night and may we all find our good places within ourselves through this song.

the (briefer) art of thinking clearly

I received a few requests for this, so I will be uploading it here.

If this helped you, please consider completing my FYP survey online here – your support means a lot to me. You need to be 21 years old or above, and a Singaporean NTU student to be eligible to participate. Following the completion of the survey, you may also opt to enter a lucky draw where 50 participants will be selected at random to receive a $10 Grab e-voucher around Jan 2021. Contact details may be found at the link.

The summary is currently incomplete (30/99). I will consider completing it and uploading the full version if I assess that there is sufficient interest from the public, because after all it takes time and effort to work on. This will be measured through the number of responses I receive on the survey, which will close tomorrow.

Enjoy!

weekly jam, #10

peach tree rascals – water

fell in love with ideas of you
roll up then we look at the view
hold up, do you think of me too?
nowadays I don’t know what to do
why you go when I needed you close
back then I messed it up, yea I know
without you is when I go through the most
but it’s okay when I got you close