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The truth about the new NUS college, College of Humanities and Science(CHS)

As many of you know, NUS has recently announced the merging of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and the Faculty of Science (FoS) to form a new college (College of Humanities and Sciences, or CHS) alongside a brand new curriculum. I have recently completed my first semester under that curriculum, and I thought it would be helpful to share my own thoughts on the program for all you incoming freshmen who are considering CHS. But as always, please be mindful that this is my own opinion, and while you can take it into account when considering CHS, it is also very possible that your experience results in a different opinion. And without further ado, here is the good, the bad, and the in-betweens of the CHS curriculum!

The Good

Regardless of the many complaints from students, CHS does have some good points. Firstly, it does achieve some form of interdisciplinary education, which is positive in itself. Given the increased competition in the job market and the global trends in education, interdisciplinary education in particular has been shown to be highly valued by employers. This is because interdisciplinary education often teaches students foundational skills that are required, regardless of the job. For example, under the CHS curriculum, they have a module (FAS1101) that teaches students how to plan essays and write academically. This can help students to develop critical writing and communication skills. It also helps students to develop some form of critical thinking, as proper academic articles require considering both perspectives and rebutting arguments. These skills are valued in the workforce, and are additional advantages when applying for jobs. CHS also provides modules that are doable for both science and humanities students. I believe the professors are fully aware that students who select sciences tend to dislike humanities subjects, and can feel anxious about being graded on humanities modules (and vice versa of humanities students for science mods). However, from my experience the professors are fully aware of this, and are doing their best to ensure that the curriculum is not too difficult for everyone. For example, in the Human Condition module (HSH1000), the professors and teaching assistants are always doing their best to reassure students who feel anxious, and are humble enough to request feedback for the module overall so that they can adjust. They are also more than happy to stay back after class to clarify any questions you might have about the concepts, and will do their best to explain it to you in a way that you can understand. CHS has also managed to tailor certain modules to certain faculties. For example, under the ‘Digital Literacy’ requirement, students taking a science major are required to read a specific module based on their major. So, for example, students majoring in chemistry are required to take CM3267 – a computational module specifically for chemistry. Meanwhile, students majoring in life sciences are going to take LSM2302. Both modules fulfill the ‘digital literacy’ requirement, but are tailored to the specific major. FASS students are given a different list of modules that fulfill the requirement, but the modules are tailored to be less mathematical in nature and more suited for humanities students who are cautious about taking any ‘science’ or ‘math’ mods. Finally, CHS is also willing to accept feedback – they are aware that this curriculum is rather new, and so they often send out feedback forms for students to fill in. Although, it must be said that the forms are for the modules themselves instead of CHS as a whole. But regardless, at least the professors in the modules are kind enough to take the time and read the feedback, and address the feedback after each round. From my experience, they truly do want to improve, and a lot of them do their best to make the module better for us students. Having said that, there are many things that can be improved on the whole.

The Bad

As with any system, there are always negatives that come along with the positives. The first main negative is the fact that the program is relatively disorganized. It is a very new program, and they are testing it out on my cohort, and so I can understand and give a little leeway for it. However, it makes planning rather difficult. Most university students plan for the three or four years of study, and have strategized which module they want to take in which semester. Unfortunately, with CHS, planning has become rather difficult. We are supposed to take thirteen common curriculum modules, but some of those modules have not been planned yet. This hinders some of my planning, particularly for a SEP (Student Exchange Programme). Most students tend to go on exchange in year three, but I am unsure whether the two interdisciplinary modules will be pre-allocated. I am also unsure whether I should take Scientific Inquiry II in semester one or two, as the module I am interested in isn’t up on NUS Mods. Another negative aspect is the modules in itself. I personally feel that some of the modules are not the most strategic in terms of the content. Although the modules are created with the intent of instilling critical and important skills to students, some of the modules do not translate that well. Some of the modules feel as though they are too ‘shallow’ or ‘superficial’, while others result in negative student sentiment towards the module in general. Furthermore, students from science often feel as if they should be doing science instead of humanities (and vice versa). This combines with the negative sentiments towards the modules, and can often result in a lack of cooperation in group projects and discussions. There are typical scenarios of group members turning off their microphones and cameras during discussions, or refusing to do any work in a group project because they plan to S/U the module due to intense dislike.

The In-Between: What CHS Can Do To Improve

I personally think CHS could consider increasing the number of S/Us students have. There are students who tend to find them ‘irrelevant’ and ‘a waste of time’, and are often not too passionate about it. This harms students two-fold: firstly, students don’t want to study that module, and so the grades decrease; secondly, students don’t put effort into group projects because they don’t care about the module, so they affect those who are actually trying. Although the university has tried to counter this by allowing students to S/U a D instead of a C and allowing students to S/U all modules in semester two, I personally argue that it is still not enough, especially given the difficulties that come with common curriculum modules. Furthermore, in terms of the module planning, I personally think that CHS could reconsider some of the modules in the core curriculum.  For example, they could have chosen politics or international relations as a common core module. Regardless of what subject one does, it is always important to be aware of current affairs, and to be able to analyze the world around us. It also develops important critical thinking and communication skills. Overall, CHS does show potential as a curriculum: it is undeniable that interdisciplinary education is advantageous, both in forwarding the talent of Singapore and equipping students with skills to face the future. However, it is still in the (very) early stages, and improvements can be made to the system. But of course, this is just my personal opinion. Feel free to share your own experiences!

Choosing a university that best suits your passion and prepares you for a dynamic world

When you are deciding on a degree programme, one of the biggest considerations would be how well your education will prepare you for the working world. After all, the workplace has grown more competitive due to technological advancements. Therefore, institutes of higher learning must play an important role in ensuring that its future graduates are able to keep up with the unique demands of their chosen fields and industries, so they can be work-ready. This article will provide some tips on how to choose a university that best suits your interests and prepares you for the working world.

Preparing for the working world

Students who have gained some industry experience stand a better chance of finding employment upon graduation. Many university students seek internships during their school holidays, since individuals with relevant work experience are highly valued by employers. SIT’s vision is to integrate learning, industry, and community by ensuring students gain hands-on experience through industry projects and work attachments. The university understands the value of industry experience, so it encourages the integration of work and study through its signature Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP). During the IWSP, students get to gain real-world experience by deepening their skill sets, so they can hit the ground running when they graduate and embark on their new jobs. Students are also able to complete their capstone and final-year projects in partnership with their IWSP companies. Each work attachment can last up to 12 months, so students can benefit from multiple exposure to medium- to long-term industry projects.

The importance of work experience

Fresh graduates who scour job boards often come across advertisements that require jobseekers with ‘at least two years of relevant experience’. Having some form of work experience through internships or work attachments is something many employers value in fresh graduates. SIT’s programmes are designed in consultation with industry partners, so students will gain valuable practical and transferable skills. For example, ICT programmes are co-designed and co-delivered by both SIT and industry partners such as Group-IB, Dell Technologies, and Kaspersky. ICT students are also exposed to real-world projects in their second year of study through a three-month Integrative Team Project (ITP) that requires them to work on industry projects in teams. One example of a successfully implemented ITP is a productivity mobile app done for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team at the National University Hospital. Meanwhile, Health and Social Sciences students are required to complete 30 weeks of clinical placements in various healthcare settings throughout the course of their studies.

Pursuing your passions

A 2015 study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine reveals that being allowed to pursue your passion not only lowers stress, but also contributes to overall happiness. Being able to attain a degree in your chosen field and building a career in a job you love is one way to fulfil your passion. SIT offers applied degree programmes that produce talents for targeted growth sectors of the economy. The degree programmes are grouped into five academic clusters – Business, Communication and Design (BCD), Engineering (ENG), Food, Chemical and Biotechnology (FCB), Health and Social Sciences (HSS), and Infocomm Technology (ICT). Each academic cluster offers a wide range of specialised programmes that allow students to study what you’re truly passionate about. For example, someone interested in engineering can choose to take Aircraft Systems Engineering, Marine Engineering, or Electrical Power Engineering. Furthermore, as part of the IWSP, students get to take part in multiple industry projects and immerse in the realities of working in these industries. Given the opportunity to work on meaningful work projects with key industry partners, students can learn from experienced mentors and grow their skills and knowledge.

The importance of interdisciplinary skills

It has become important for graduates to learn how to work in multidisciplinary teams to solve increasingly complex problems at the workplace. SIT prepares its graduates to meet such challenges by helping them develop interdisciplinary skills, regardless of the fields and industries they wish to specialise in. As interdisciplinary skills relate to more than one branch of knowledge, these skills are critical to boosting the employability of fresh graduates. Every SIT student completes a foundational module titled ‘Critical Thinking and Communicating’ as well as two Design Innovation courses. These modules enable students to work with those from other academic clusters and programmes, and they are required to conceptualise solutions for different complex problems. SIT students also complete a Social Innovation Project that they embark on with community partners in order to create social impact in the community. These learning opportunities help students strengthen their skills and stay competitive in the workforce through applied learning and exposure. SIT students learn valuable interpersonal skills and become team players who can think critically and make impactful contributions.

The importance of transferable skills

According to a 2021 survey by LinkedIn, employers in Singapore prefer to hire jobseekers with communication skills, problem-solving skills, and strategic thinking skills. 39 per cent of companies prioritise technical skills in their hiring while 31 per cent emphasised transferable skills. Only 8 per cent of hiring decisions were based on paper qualifications. SIT has introduced a new framework into its curriculum – the Industry Ready Skills Framework (IRSF), which aims to empower students to become masters of their own learning journeys and careers. The framework allows students to track the transferable skills they’ve picked up throughout their studies and allows them to plan their progress. It will remain relevant beyond the formal learning curriculum and includes skills and knowledge gained at school camps and networking sessions. There are 18 skills identified under the framework, and they are categorised under five competency areas: Thinking Agility, People Agility, Digital Agility, Professional Agility, and Change Agility. The skills range from Creative Thinking to Digital Data Literacy. This framework will benefit students who wish to stand out when they are looking for a job after graduation.

Conclusion

SIT’s applied learning pedagogy and industry-focused degree programmes aim to equip students with deep skills and experience required to be future-ready for the new world. Learn how SIT’s applied degree programmes can make a difference to your future career. Find your path by visiting SIT’s Virtual Open House 2022 or browse SIT’s website to learn more. Admissions is open from now until 19 March 2022.

3 productivity myths you need to stop buying into!

In a high-paced country like Singapore, an increasing number of people seek to be productive in what they do (be it whether they are working or studying) so that they can free up more time to rest and relax or simply pursue their hobbies. However, most of us don’t really take the time to consider what it actually means to be productive or to relook at our beliefs about productivity. As such, we are often caught in this limbo — where we’re not unproductive but also not entirely productive as well. So what can we do about it? Well, I’ll be dispelling three common myths about productivity and suggesting what we can do instead today, so read on for more!

Being busy = being productive

This has got to be the most popular myth that virtually everyone believes. Somehow, we feel that by being occupied throughout the entire day, we are accomplishing many things and moving one step closer to our end goal. However, I’m sure you would have realised that while there were days where your schedule was packed to the brim, you might not have cleared much important work at all. Tim Ferriss, the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”, once said in his book that “being perpetually busy is a kind of laziness” and I couldn’t agree more. This is because it takes much more effort to sit down and identify what is the most efficient way to complete your tasks and what tasks should be cleared first (i.e. the most important tasks) compared to just trying to do a bunch of random things with no real strategy throughout the day. So what is the lesson here? One, we should focus on working smart before working hard so that our efforts will get us the most bang for our buck. If you’re a student, working smart could mean things like replacing passive study techniques with active ones! Two, we should carefully dictate our priorities for the day, the tasks that will, upon completion, move us much closer to our end goal. We can utilise certain frameworks like the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to help us with this decision-making process. The Eisenhower Decision Matrix. Photo by Luxafor. By using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, we are able to categorise our tasks based on whether they are important or not and whether they are urgent or not. From here, it is clear how we should spend the majority of our time: on tasks that are important, especially on the ones that are urgent as well. We then try to delegate as much unimportant and urgent work as possible while eliminating tasks that are neither important nor urgent. By focussing more on the important tasks and less on the unimportant tasks, we would be able to get more meaningful work done in a shorter period of time.

Waking up (really) early automatically makes us productive

If you’re like me and you enjoy watching “A Productive Day In The Life Of…” YouTube videos, you would soon come to realise that many YouTubers advocate waking up early to seize the day, some even waking up at 330AM! Hence, it is can be easy to be led to believe that waking up early is the KEY to productivity and success. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! According to this BBC article, waking up early only makes you productive if you have an adequate amount of sleep and when your energy levels are naturally high in the morning. And that makes perfect sense! If you are only sleeping four hours a night and attempting to wake up at 4AM every morning to be “productive”, your brain wouldn’t even have time to consolidate the memories of the day which will make absorbing and recalling new information extremely difficult. You would have also realised that while there are some people who are naturally more focussed and alert early in the morning, there are also others whose “prime time” is in the afternoon or even in the evening. So don’t just blindly follow the advice of others! Instead, experiment waking up and working at different hours of the day to find out when exactly do you have the most energy and concentration. Double down on your work during this period so that you can go a little easier when you are not as energised.

To be productive, we should avoid resting/taking breaks

If I would to ask you to think of a productive study routine, the following image might pop up in your mind: a student hunching over his textbook and working on his/her Ten Year Series (TYS) for hours on end. Many of us may think of taking a break as taking one step back. But let me offer another imagery instead. It is more accurate to say that taking a break is like taking a momentary step back so that we can move three steps forward later, instead of taking one step forward. Research gathered by The Wellbeing Thesis has found that breaks can help one better cope with stress, maintain or even increase energy levels, and boost imagination and creativity. Simply put, breaks are beneficial and could even be the most productive thing for you to do after working or studying for a long period of time. Why is this so? Breaks offer a chance for us to refocus on our work, retain any information that we have learned so far, and even find relief from sitting all day long! Hence, take your short (5-15 minute ones) and long breaks (like your lunch breaks) and detach yourself from work! It will help you to perform better and produce higher quality results. And that’s about it! Here’s a quick recap of what productivity is NOT:
    1. Being busy
    2. Waking up very early
    3. Not resting
Moving into 2022, we would all probably have new responsibilities and our workload might even increase. Nonetheless, I hope that after this quick little read, you have a clearer idea of what it actually means to be productive. Let’s put what we learn into action and have a fruitful 2022 ahead!

How to Survive Uni as a Freshie (for NUS Students)

We all know how hard it is to step into a new environment. As someone who has had the first-hand experience of being a freshie, I would like to share my two cents that will help you get a kickstart in your university life.

1. Join Freshman Orientation Camps

Sign up for as many Freshman Orientation Camps as possible. These could include those of your major, faculty, and even hostel. These Orientation Camps will help you get accustomed to university life and even get to know new people who may help you navigate your university life. One key aspect of joining Orientation Camps is getting to know seniors who will share with you tips and tricks of choosing your Y1 modules (some of which allocated), and which CCAs to join. Some Freshman Orientation Camps require you to pay a small fee, but along with it are school merch, T-shirts and goodies that may come in handy in the upcoming semesters. 10/10 recommend. You never know who you know in the FOPs will come in handy in the future! *wink*

2. Choose the right modules

Make sure you know the required modules for you to graduate, choose the modules required for you to fulfil the general education pillars, and decide if you want to take a minor or second major in addition to your workload. Check your course website for specific details. There are so many unrestricted electives you can choose from NUS and before you take a module, make sure to check up on the relevant module reviews and overviews on websites like nusmods.com. When in doubt, always remember—Google is your best friend. So is Reddit.

3. Make friends

Friends are essential in your university life. I repeat, friends are essential for your university life. Believe it or not, they would be your greatest saviours when you are stuck on a difficult tutorial question or assignment question. They make tough days manageable. They keep you accountable on days when you just don’t feel like getting out of bed and go for physical lectures and tutorials. They are people you hop by the café with after class ends. Make sure to make tons of friends from your own major and CCAs. They are the people that help you get through life. Ask for the telegram handle of the kid who sits next to you in your lecture or tutorial. Form groups to discuss tutorial or assignment questions together! Get friends to keep yourself accountable!

4. Join CCAs

There are three types of CCAs you could join in your University life.

a) The CCAs you join for fun b) The CCAs you join for portfolio/connections/relevance to the career you want to pursue c) The CCAs you join to make friends

The three could be subsets of each other, but it’s best to join one of each.

5. Have a study schedule that you abide by

University is not all about studying, but your CAP will follow you throughout your life. You don’t need to get a super high CAP, but you need to make sure you do sufficient to not get mediocre grades that your future employers see. Use a paperback planner or a digital one like Google Calendar. Planning out your days by putting in the lecture and tutorial timings, along with your external commitments will help you be much more productive. As a university student, time is everything. You only have four years, eight semesters to accomplish whatever you want to in your university life. Make sure to spend each and every semester wisely.

6. Have fun

Go out with your friends often, even those not from your course, faculty or university. It’s always good to get out of the study zone and get some fresh air when you need it. Taking a break once in a while is crucial in giving you the strength to move farther in your university journey. So don’t feel guilty when you rest. Your body needs it. May all NUS kids have a great winter and a fresh start to Semester 2! All the best in beating the bell curves and making friends!  

How to Get Over a Friend Breakup

Losing friends when embarking on a new journey is inevitable. This could be due to varied distinct factors like having different aspirations and going into different courses or universities. Friend breakups happen frequently, more often than we can envision. So the million-dollar question is: how do you seek closure when facing such unfortunate circumstances? And how can we become our own best friends? In fact, it has been scientifically proven that ending a friendship could be even worse than a breakup. There is no shortage of television shows, songs, dramas depicting how hard it is for people to go through breakups, but next to nothing for friend breakups. Before we dive deeper into the topic, what exactly are friend breakups? They are the consequence of people gradually growing apart. The reasons for them often go undiscussed, some being distance, differences in lifestyles or even misunderstandings. The most excruciating part of friend breakups is that we often do not know what caused them or what to do about them. It’s often too “weird” to talk about it and may come across as socially inappropriate, especially in Asian contexts. In romantic relationships, there is often an official conversation, an official farewell bade between separating couples. But this official mark of ending is often not present for dissipating friendships. Friends stop contacting each other for seemingly no reason. There are often misunderstandings not talked about, cowardice preventing conversations, and physical distance pulling two friends apart.

There is often a guilt factor playing a part in friend breakups.

We feel ashamed that we could not make it work. As teenagers and adults, we often feel that we should have everything in check. We often assume that we should have everything figured out, just like how others seem like they have everything figured out. We feel a sense of uneasiness. We are afraid of seeking help—it makes us feel weak and inadequate—but this often makes us feel more isolated. Humans are innately social creatures. We crave affection. We crave attention. We crave social contact. Losing contact with friends just goes against all of the things we want.

We take things too personally.

It’s common for us to anticipate that a romantic relationship won’t last forever. But the same isn’t propagated for friendships. We all have a psychological immune system that defends and preserves our emotional wellbeing—one that is similar to a physical immune system that protects us from germs, bacteria, viruses and diseases. When we feel strong, our psychological immune system is fortified. We feel self-assured and balanced. But our psychological immune system is often not as strong as it seems due to childhood traumas, lingering feelings of self-inadequacy, low self-esteem levels or even a misplaced sense of self. As such, a friend breakup could be a heavy blow dealt on us. Since we don’t often take time to fortify our psychological immune system, we could become easily disturbed, exhaustingly sensitive and especially susceptible to self-doubt and fear.

We need to be our own best friends.

To deal with relationship crises properly, we need to consistently put in the effort to be our own best friends. We need to trust ourselves, believe in ourselves and forgive ourselves. When we have a hard time befriending ourselves, the idea of self could shatter, sometimes even yielding irreversible damage. Self-love does not just mean eating a chocolate chip cookie or taking a bubble bath. Self-love means radically changing your relationship with yourself. It means calming anxious thoughts, healing depressed minds, and decreasing eating disorder behaviours. It means being kind, and being consistent in swiping away our inner “mean girl”. The critical parts of ourselves, our inner “mean girl” are meant to help us survive. They are aspects of ourselves that created strategies for our safety and survival. They function as an advanced neural network of a computer system that is built for purely two reasons—connection and safety. When distressing events or traumatic scenarios occur, our brains create an understanding or belief of how the world works. And these beliefs or expectations are merely reinforced as we grow up, though they are often outdated and sometimes even get in the way of our successes and happiness. These memories and images are permanently stored in our hard drive, with the only solution being befriending ourselves, even the critique, wounded and protective parts.

It is often profound to befriend ourselves.

Our inner critiques will begin to calm down, the wounded parts heal while the protective parts realise they don’t need to work as hard anymore. Being our own friend entails being more understanding and kind to ourselves. It has a lot of positive benefits as well! Neurobiologically, when we understand ourselves, it is one way for us to calm down. It means listening to our inner, intrusive thoughts. And it means being a friendly ear to ourselves, and being in touch with our own thoughts and feelings. Friends come and leave. Not all friends are good friends. We need to normalise being friendly to ourselves before we can be good friends to others.

How do we (actually) get over friend breakups

  1. Time heals everything. It often takes time for us to actually get over someone, especially one that we used to be very close to. But coming to terms with that will help our lives go back to normal.
  2. Reflect and do a post-mortem. Though a relationship hiccup is always due to problems from both parties, it is always time to reflect on what you have done right, things that you have done wrong and could have done better.
  3. Make new friends!!! They always say that starting new relationships heal finished ones. And this could be one of the ways you could forget about your frienemy.
  Inspired by: – Karner, Carissa. The Art of Being Your Own Best Friend. TEDxBelmontShore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W1OXmQQRe0 – Breit Carly. 2018, September 24. Why ending a friendship could be worse than a breakup. Time. https://time.com/5402304/friendship-breakups-worse-romantic/

4 Mistakes to Avoid Making as a New Crypto Trader

Over the years, there has been rising interest in cryptocurrency and its future. After all, upon reading success stories of people who bought Bitcoin early on, many people have found themselves thinking they may be able to profit the same way. If you are one of them, we invite you to read on so you know which mistakes new traders are vulnerable to making and how to avoid them.

1. Investing without doing your research

There are a lot of cryptocurrencies out there. While Bitcoin and Ethereum are two of the most well-known ones, anyone wanting to venture into crypto should learn about other digital currencies. By investing without doing any research, you ultimate expose yourself to even more risk of losing money when you simply follow the crowd. You may end up investing in a failing project just because someone said so. You may end up selling out of panic because you don’t understand the market. So, the best thing you can do for yourself as a trader is to understand what the cryptocurrencies you want to invest in do and how they work. Dive into educational videos and credible articles and avoid being misled by sensational headlines. Be cautious when accepting advice from strangers on online forums.

2. Not paying attention to transaction fees

When you buy crypto on an exchange, the exchange will charge you trading fees. The fees charged vary from exchange to exchange. Thus, fees are one big factor you should consider when selecting the crypto exchange you use as some fees can be hefty. I use the ActiveTrader interface on the Gemini exchange because the fees average about 0.25% to 0.35%, which is currently one of the lowest rates out there. Besides trading fees, you should also consider currency exchange rates. Many crypto exchanges require you to convert Singapore Dollars (SGD) into United States Dollars (USD) before you can purchase crypto. Many people use their bank services to convert the money. Lastly, you should take note of gas fees. Gas fees are incurred when you execute transactions on the blockchain. This means that you have to pay gas fees when you want to transfer the crypto from your exchange to your wallet. Ethereum is notorious for high gas fees. You are able to determine how fast you want your transaction to go through, though. The higher the speed, the higher the fee.

3. Leaving your crypto on an exchange

When you leave your crypto on an exchange, you are exposing yourself to the risk of being hacked. Your crypto is only as secure as your exchange account is. This is scary since exchanges are just digital websites and apps, and their databases have the potential of being compromised. Sometimes, all a hacker needs to break in is to guess your six-digit PIN code. Still, some people keep their crypto on exchanges, thinking it is more convenient, but my suggestion is to withdraw your crypto to a personal wallet if you’re planning to hold it for the long term. A wallet can be thought of as a storage device for cryptocurrency tokens. They mostly come in the form of mobile apps that store crypto and have additional security measures in place such as Two-Factor Authentication and security questions. There are many other ways to store crypto out there but I would recommend Trust Wallet and Atomic Wallet for now. Both apps are available on app stores.

4. Sending crypto to the wrong wallet address

Be very careful when sending your crypto to your wallet. Make sure you choose the right token to get the right address. Each token has its own address. Sending Bitcoin to an Ethereum address would cause you to be unable to retrieve it. One suggestion that’s commonly given to beginners is to send a small amount as a test sum. This is the smart thing to do if you’ve never tried to send crypto to that particular wallet address. After all, there is no way to reverse a transaction so it’s best to play safe when it comes to crypto. A word of advice is to split your crypto between two wallets or more just in case a wallet app goes into maintenance right when you want to withdraw your crypto to sell it. It is also good to have two or more exchanges you can use at any one time for the same reason—should one of them go under maintenance, you can still buy or sell crypto.

Conclusion

It’s precisely cryptocurrency’s volatility that makes it so appealing as a speculative investment. You may think you’ve already missed out on the Bitcoin boom, but that may not be entirely true. If you believe digital currencies may very well end up shaping our future, there’s no better time to invest. Just make sure you do your due diligence and only invest as much as you’re willing to lose!

The Best Food Discount Apps to Make Eating Out More Affordable

Food isn’t just a necessity for us to survive—it’s also a huge part of our social lives. After all, eating a meal together is one of the quickest and most natural ways to bond with someone you’ve just met. Whether you’re someone who eats to live or lives to eat, you can’t deny that food is a big part of our lives! Thankfully, we have food discount apps that help make dining out more affordable for all of us. I’ll be introducing them to you so that we can all benefit from these money-saving deals!

For Vouchers & Cashback

1. ShopBack

ShopBack is an app that gives you cashback on your shopping and meals. This means you can get back a small percentage of the cash you’ve spent, making it a nice way to save some money! You can also buy cash vouchers to purchase the food for less than its usual cost. ShopBack also offers cashback for online shopping platforms such as Shopee and food delivery platforms such as foodpanda and Deliveroo. However, for article, we will be focusing on Shopback GO, which is the app feature that lets you save money when you dine out. As seen above, you can search for food deals according to your location and the type of food or cuisine you’re craving for. You can filter search results according to popular food deals, new deals that have just been listed and cash voucher deals, among others. ShopBack also provides vouchers which you can buy and then use to earn a discount on your meals. For example, in the screenshot above, you can buy a $50 Cash Voucher at Eighteen Chefs for $45, essentially saving $5 on your meal when you eat there. Cash vouchers are an excellent way to save money if you know exactly where you’ll be dining or if you consistently visit the same spots! I would give this app a 9/10 for its UI since it has clear-cut categories and a great filtering system, making it convenient to use even when searching for deals on the go. There’s also a ton of variety in the food deals, with many of them being for major food chains such as Subway, 7-Eleven, etc. Thus, I would give it 9/10 for the food variety. As for the discounts, I would rate the app 7/10. Most of the deals allow you to save close to a dollar or more. I consider this rather little, but at least it would add up the more you use the app. Final Score: UI: 9/10 Food Variety: 9/10 Discounts: 7/10

For Restaurant Reservations

2. Eatigo

Eatigo is a restaurant booking app that gives you huge discounts when you book reservations with it. However, discounts vary from place to place and from time to time. Some food places offer higher discounts for eating at non-peak periods (e.g., in between lunch and dinner hours). When you scroll, the app displays several headers such as brands, locations, and cuisines. While I’m not the biggest fan of this UI as you have to scroll all the way down to see the deals, you may find it useful if you’re searching for a particular brand or cuisine. Food deals vary from place to place. While Sing Heng Cuisine may offer a 50% discount on all their reservations throughout the day, Food Barn may give larger discounts during non-peak periods and smaller discounts during peak periods. I would personally give Eatigo a 7/10 for their UI as I find it makes you scroll too much which is inconvenient. Their food variety would get a 7/10 from me as it doesn’t offer as many kinds of cuisines as ShopBack and has a rather limited selection. Lastly, I would rate the discounts a 10/10 as they are really quite steep with many shops offering 50% off. Considering that these are all restaurants, it makes it quite the steal! Final Score: UI: 7/10 Food Variety: 7/10 Discounts: 10/10

For Huge Discounts

3. Fave

By using FavePay, you can gain cashback on meals! All you have to do is link your debit card or credit card to the app and then scan the merchant’s QR code. Other than this feature, Fave also provides many cash vouchers that you can buy for that steep discount when dining out. As seen above, you can search for deals according to your location, and it has a similar filtering system according to cuisine like ShopBack, just presented differently. You can also see different deal collections such as weekly deals and group deals. Upon clicking on the “See more” button at the side of “Trending deals”, we get to see deals that have been personalized for me according to the location I have set (Bugis). These are cash vouchers you can buy and exchange for the food item(s), making it cheaper than if you simply bought the food. As you can see, some have requirements such as needing you to be a card holder of a specific bank. I would rate it 9/10 for the UI as it is pleasing, and deals are easily found in just a few taps. As for the food variety, I would give it 10/10 as it has deals for all kinds of cuisines from Peranakan restaurants to Shabu Shabu and includes both low-budget and high-end food. Lastly, I would rate the app 9/10 for the discounts as they can be quite generous. Final Score: UI: 9/10 Food Variety: 10/10 Discounts: 9/10

Conclusion

These food discount apps are convenient to set up, only requiring that you link your payment method. Just like that, you can save on every meal, making eating out so much more affordable. Let your friends know about these apps, too, so that you can save together when you go on food adventures! Have fun and bon appétit!

Tuning the right strings: Bring out your love for music with a music course in Singapore

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Choosing a career path is hard enough, but it becomes even harder once you realize your calling falls in the category of fine arts, such as music. Only the truly passionate souls can make it through such a nuanced education, but it is still confusing even if you are willing and able to push through, right? Many colleges offer comprehensive music education, along with considerable industry exposure, practical experience, and your choice of specialization. Now the next question is —what courses can I opt for? Well, here we introduce some of the music schools in Singapore. The list is not extensive, but it will give you a clear idea of what music education in Singapore is all about and how it will help you spearhead your music career.

The Songwriter Music College (TSMC)

TSMC offers a good variety of courses for every aspiring musician and/or songwriter. The courses focus on songwriting and developing a sound understanding of harmonies, vocal and instrumental techniques as well as stage presence. Those who would like to take a peek into the world of music before committing to a full-fledged diploma can try their 12-hour certificate course in Contemporary Music Fundamentals. For those who want to pursue a diploma, options range from the Diploma in Songwriting and Music Production to a Diploma in Sound Engineering and Digital Media. The college also offers full and partial scholarships based on merit. At TSMC, you’ll additionally get to shine in school events that host various collaborators, getting you all the industry exposure you may need!

Singapore Raffles Music College (SRMC)

Offering certificate courses, as well as degrees and diplomas on the A to Z of music, SRMC is a great choice for all of you who have made up your minds that music is the right path for you. SRMC has many options such as the Bachelor of Arts in Music Management, Foundation Degree in Music Performance, Diploma in Music, Advanced Diploma in Pop Vocals Performance, Master of Music in Performance, and more. There is also a pretty unique Postgraduate certificate in Music Pedagogy and Research, Mandarin if you want to do something different. They have all the requisite info on their website, inclusive of a student prospectus and all you need to know to apply!

School of Music and the Arts (SOMA)

SOMA is a school that stands out among many others because it not only offers certificate and diploma courses in music, but performance labs are also available for both classical and contemporary music, as well as dance. Their classes are led by well-trained and highly erudite instructors specializing in fields such as music production and engineering, songwriting and production, as well as music business. SOMA has certificate courses for those of you interested in English or Mandarin lyric writing. The institute also offers diplomas in music performance, songwriting, music production, instrumental training in piano, violin, drums, ukulele, guitar, and much more!

Lasalle College of the Arts

While Lasalle offers programs in all kinds of arts from film and animation, design communication to fine arts, they are particularly known for their School of Contemporary Music. Through their flagship courses such as the Bachelor of Arts in Music, Diploma in Audio Production and the Diploma in Music, you can polish your musical abilities and fine-tune your prowess in whichever specialization you choose, under world-class tutelage! Lasalle is also an excellent platform for young musicians hoping to venture into collaborations over the industry on a global scale. Do apply if you really want to make your mark in the musical world!

Singapore Polytechnic

Singapore Polytechnic is not an exclusive school for music and arts, but it is Singapore’s first and oldest polytechnic. It does a pretty good job with all the courses offered, including their Diploma in Music and Audio Technology. A full-time course that spans three years, do know that this diploma course is rather specific in its offerings and may not be for all music enthusiasts. For those looking specifically for an education in this specialization, though, here you have it! Higher education and a possible career in music are becoming increasingly popular choices for Singaporean students these days. This makes sense, given that general music is mandatory for school students aged seven to fourteen in Singapore. That, combined with changing attitudes to career choices, as well as proliferation of talented musicians and instructors in Singapore are making it a hub for prospective students like you to pursue a musical career. Which school would you like to attend for music, and what would your specialization be?

Connecting with Seniors: A How-to Guide

As a first-year student in university you’ll experience many new surprises, ranging from different grading methods to the freedom to organize your timetable. These things can be confusing for all you freshies, especially if you don’t know any seniors who can advise you. In my experience, seniors have been a huge help in adjusting to university life. When I was planning the modules I would have to take for the next four years, it was a senior who helped me find my graduation requirements, and told me how to plan effectively based on NUS sites such as LumiNUS and ModReg. When I entered university, I had seniors who taught me how to set up my LinkedIn account and how to plan for any overseas exchange programs. They also advised me on which modules to S/U. Finally, I have been fortunate to come into contact with a senior undertaking a Masters program in forensic psychology, and he has given me valuable insight and advice about what I should consider when choosing this route. Since seniors have been such a huge help to me, I thought I would provide five tips on how you can connect with them and ask them for advice.

1. Keep in Contact With Secondary/JC Seniors

The easiest way to know seniors in university is by connecting with them during JC or Poly. You can even start as early as secondary school! If you already know seniors and manage to keep in contact with them, it will be much easier when you transition into university. You can tap on their experiences even before your first semester begins, and ask them for help in terms of planning modules and graduation requirements. It would be good if you know seniors who attend your university: if they are taking the same major that’s even better! They can share their experiences, talk about good professors and help plan your modules. Even if the senior isn’t from the same major, there are still things you can learn from them, such as how to use your SUs wisely. In fact, if you have subject-specific questions, there is a chance they know someone you can approach. Overall, maintaining contact with seniors in earlier educational institutions helps you to have some guidance in university, so do keep that in mind!

2. Follow Society Pages

Even before entering university, you can always find free advice through social media pages, especially Instagram! The university will usually have a sizable amount of CCAs, with some formed specifically for your subject. For example, for Psychology, NUS has PsychSoc—a society dedicated to aiding the psychology community in NUS, be it through welfare or academic advice. Each society has an Instagram page you can find and follow, and it tends to have posts asking the general public whether they have any questions about the subject at NUS. PsychSoc has posts that encourage questions about psych in NUS, and this is a golden opportunity for you! This method is useful for two types of people: those unsure of what subject they want to do and those who’ve shortlisted their subject, but want more information. For those considering various subjects, you can search up these societies on Instagram, and enquire about the workload or the potential jobs you can undertake after the degree. And for those who want more information on a specific subject, feel free to ask as many questions as you like! The seniors are more than happy to share their experiences, and will be willing to answer any questions or even future DMs! However, note that this method is less effective in terms of certain aspects, like planning modules. If you know a senior personally, it is much easier to get them to sit down and help figure out your plan for the next few years.

3. Go for Orientation Camps

Even if you don’t know anyone before entering university, going for orientation camps always helps. Orientation camps take place before university formally begins and are a great opportunity for you to meet other freshies who will be taking your course! Of course, they also help to connect you with seniors, which is definitely a good thing. Take full advantage of this opportunity to communicate with them and ask as many questions as you like. I recommend joining subject-specific orientation camps instead of faculty orientation camps—for example, I joined the psychology orientation camp instead of the FASS (faculty of arts and social sciences) camp because it was more beneficial for me. The psychology seniors were kind enough to teach us about bidding for modules, and all the tips and tricks necessary before the semester even began. They were also kind enough to open the floor for a Q&A, and answered every single question via a booklet that they sent out to all of us. I’m unsure if other subject-specific orientation camps do this, but from my experience it is definitely worth it!

4. Join CCAs

If you didn’t manage to connect with any seniors beforehand, no worries! Just go join a CCA! Joining CCAs presents many opportunities for you to bond with seniors, regardless of whether they are in year two or year five. In terms of joining CCAs, there are three methods: you can join whichever CCA you are passionate about, you can select specific CCAs related to your course and join that, or you can do a mixture of both. For those who choose the first method, there are often many skills you can learn that would be beneficial. For example, even though I’m a psychology student, I chose to join NES (NUS Entrepreneurship Society), which has taught me a lot about LinkedIn and networking skills. I have also managed to connect with seniors, who kindly send me potential openings for projects which can help to boost my LinkedIn. This can be advantageous, especially since you learn equally important skills, and you often get a new perspective that you don’t necessarily find if you simply join course-related CCAs. But if you do choose CCAs related to your subject, there is another advantage: the seniors you mix with have experiences to share and can give advice that is much more specific towards your aims. They can give relatable and insightful advice, be it in terms of module selection or finding internships. These pieces of advice will be highly beneficial when it comes to planning out your years in university. Finally, you can do a mixture of both, which is what I’ve personally done in my first year of university. This method gives both advantages listed above, which has been extremely useful for me personally. However, this method also means that you will be rather busy in terms of the number of CCAs you join, so be careful to either balance the CCA work with the academic work or purposely limit the number of CCAs you join.

5. Be Intentional

This final tip is more of an attitude one should have, rather than practical action. But I have found that this is just as important as any action you can take. For example, when going for orientation camps, instead of being shy and turning off your microphone, take this opportunity to ask them questions. Or when meeting seniors in CCAs, be brave enough to take the first step and send them a message on telegram. Always be intentional as it often helps you to cast aside any social anxiety or doubt when connecting. But being intentional also means being prepared. It means having a specific list of things to ask seniors, such as ‘where can I find internships’ or ‘how do you plan your timetable’. It also means doing some reflection beforehand, such as reflecting on why you want to take the course, or what job you would like to get after university. This can help you to ask much more intentional questions which are beneficial in the long run. And that’s all from me for now—good luck!

4 Tips for Aspiring Freelancers from a freelancer herself

As a freelance writer who has taken on gigs since 2017, I have since written for magazines, blogs and even done fiction writing in the form of story commissions. As such, I have accumulated lots of valuable experience when it comes to finding gigs, marketing myself, pricing my work, and scheduling my time. Hence, I’d like to share my tips with you in this article! If you’re someone who’s plenty to dip their toes into the freelancing industry, this article is for you!

1. Find the right platform for your gig

There are various platforms out there on which you can offer your services! However, knowing which platform is best for you will take some research. To find your buyers, you simply have to head straight to where they will most likely be. For example, if you’re an artist, uploading your art on Tumblr and Instagram would be natural to as your target demographics would likely stumble upon your art there. From there, you can make a note in your biography stating that you’re available for commissions. Generally, people just starting freelancing will use Fiverr, Upwork, etc. This saves you the trouble of marketing yourself as you don’t have to generate traffic to your site. You can simply take advantage of the client base using these freelancing platforms and finding people to take on their gigs. I find my work from Reddit and also make sure to leave my email on writer forums so that anyone looking for a writer can contact me there!

2. Know how to market yourself

However, if you’re in this for the long game, it is essential to know how to market yourself. This would start with creating a website with a unique domain name. The purpose is to showcase your work and let your site serve as a portfolio while projecting the image you want your clients to see. Even if you don’t have your own site up yet, it’s still important to have a portfolio. Whether you’re a writer, photographer, or graphic designer, you should always upload your work onto Google Drive and send your prospective clients the link at the minimum! This is what I do. Also, when you approach your customers, you should strive to tailor your reply to their needs when you pitch your services to them. This will set you apart from the other freelancers who send a generic template to every client without explaining what they can do and why they are the best fit!

3. Price yourself competitively

Because the barriers to entry for freelance work are so low, anyone with an Internet connection can message another person and offer their services to them. However, this does not always mean they can provide high-quality work! Still, just knowing you many competitors in the industry can make you tempted to work for really low rates. It’s even more daunting when you see freelancers from developing countries offering meagre prices since the currency exchange rate will work out in their favour. I used to take on any project at the beginning of my freelance writing career, regardless of how poorly it paid, because I was excited to get any amount of work. However, by doing so, I was depriving myself of the time I could have spent finding the right clients that valued my work enough to pay me well. So, remember that your time and effort deserve fair compensation! If you price yourself lowly, it will also send a message that you believe your work isn’t worth paying much for. At the end of the day, do your best to avoid clients who lowball, and stick to those who respect the work you do!

4. Beware of burning out

Burnout is a very real phenomenon for freelancers. We must find our clients, communicate with them, finish the work, and then handle the payment all by ourselves! This one-man show can be tiring to keep up. It can even become hard to draw lines between your work life and your personal life since clients may contact you at all hours of the day. My suggestion is to stick to a schedule you’ve set for yourself. You should also factor in other things you’d like to do, such as hanging out with your friends or watching that K-drama series you’ve yet to finish. Strive to be aware of your limits so that you don’t end up compromising on the quality of your work in an attempt to stay productive when you’re no longer in your best state! While I tend to push myself as well, I always make sure to take breaks on the weekends.

Conclusion

While freelancing can be a very rewarding career that grants you freedom from stuffy offices and potentially overbearing bosses, it may not be for everyone! There’s a degree of risk and luck involved, after all. Still, I encourage you to give freelancing a shot before your time at university ends! Even if you choose to take on a full-time job upon graduation, freelancing can still look good on your résumé. Not to mention, it’s a great way to learn and improve your skills when you get feedback from clients!