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Top freshmen questions answered by seniors

How are university exams different from those in junior college, what are the best electives to take, where to go for exchange… these are some of the many questions buzzing in the minds of freshmen. Who better to get answers from than seniors who’ve been there, done that?
by Chrystal Chan

What is one thing you regret not doing as a freshman?
Ng Zhi Jian, first-year medicine student

I regret not staying in hall. Now I can only experience hall life vicariously through my friends’ Instagram stories.
Tay Kuan Yu, third-year business student

What’s the best thing about living on campus?
Nurul Nabilah, first-year sociology student

For me, my hall is like my home away from home, and my hall mates are like my second family. When someone is sick, we take care of that person. And when we cook, we cook for everyone and eat together.
Serene Lim, third-year Chinese student

What are the top destinations to apply to for exchange?
Bernice Teo, first-year psychology student

Honestly, the location doesn’t matter as much as what you make of your time in that country. You should definitely go out and meet locals instead of staying within your comfort zone and only hanging out with fellow Singaporeans. I strongly recommend overseas internships or work and study programmes instead of typical exchange programmes. These give you real-life job experience outside of Singapore, which is invaluable. I was in NTU’s Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme and interned at an indoor vertical farming start-up in New Jersey, USA. The experience was priceless.
Lim Zi Jian, fourth-year communication studies student

Where is your favourite study spot in NTU?
Karthika D/O Subramaniam, second-year biological sciences student

The Hive is my absolute favourite place to study! It is quiet, is open 24/7 and has great classroom equipment such as multiple LCD screens that you can hook your laptop up to. In addition, it is near my professors’ offices, so I can easily walk over for consultations. Of course, another plus point is its aesthetic appeal. Our dim sum building is the best!
Avril Choo, third-year marketing student

How are examinations in university different from those in junior college?
Lisa Low Lynn, first-year business student

In university, final examinations don’t determine your final grade in the year as they usually carry only a 60 per cent weightage. The other 40 per cent comes from class participation or assignments done during the semester. This is unlike in junior college, where you can bank everything on the finals.
Marcus Teo, fourth-year mechanical engineering student

What is the best elective to take?
Rachel Chan, second-year psychology student

Everyone should consider taking the module from the School of Social Sciences called “Working in the 21st Century”. Not only is the topic interesting, it will apply to all of us when we graduate. We will be entering a highly competitive global workplace and the skills learnt could help us navigate it better.
Ashley Lim, second-year business student

How do you get an almost perfect GPA?
Wang Jue, second-year electrical & electronic engineering student

Don’t focus too much on achieving a high grade point average. Learning soft skills and gaining relevant work experience is more critical. My suggestion would be to discover the studying style that most suits you. Are you an audio or visual learner, or someone who needs to write everything down? Once you know your preferred way to learn, use that knowledge to maximise your efficiency when studying. Start now when you are a freshman, while the academic workload is more manageable.
Poh Zhong Wee, Class of 2018

How do you find time for studies and co-curricular activities?
Vickram Peter, first-year computer engineering student

The key is prioritising and time management. I want to rest on weekends, so I’m willing to sacrifice some sleep on weekdays. We only have 24 hours in a day and if you want to do a lot, then something has got to give. For instance, in my first year, I really wanted to do well academically and also devote time to after-class activities. So I had to sacrifice some sleep and cut back on fun stuff with friends.
Tan Shu Yu, fourth-year Renaissance Engineering Programme student

What is one thing you hope to do in NTU before you graduate?
Clarice Tan, first-year electrical & electronic engineering student

I’ve already done most of the things on my university “bucket list”, but some suggestions are: watch the sunset from the National Institute of Education, watch the sunrise too and have a picnic at midnight on the roof of the School of Art, Design & Media, make lasting friendships, join a club or two… or three or four.
Sheena Lee, third-year education student

What is the most important thing you learnt during your time in NTU?
Aaron Lee, first-year accountancy student

I went on several hiking trips as a member of the NTU Outdoor Adventure Club. I soon realised while trekking that we often paid too much attention to the ground trying to find a path, instead of slowing down to look up at the scenery. This is similar to how we are often too caught up with our work, forgetting the other equally important things in life such as our loved ones and friends. So, remember to slow down sometimes and cherish the people and moments around you.
Tan Jia Liang, third-year Renaissance Engineering Programme student