graduate school

2015 #AnnualReview Part 1

Seeing as this next year will be the last of my PhD, it is as good a time as ever to do my first thorough #AnnualReview a la Chris Guillebeau and get prepared for a big year in 2016. This is my first annual review blog post!

Major decisions will be coming up, like where I’m going to apply for jobs and what I’m going to do in 2017. It’s been a good process for me to think through what’s happened these last 12 months and think about how I want the next 12 to go.

The first part of the Annual Review process is to list things that went well and things that didn’t go well. Things that can go on these lists are things that I have control over. Continue Reading

Reasons why I’m not living on campus

I chose not to pursue on-campus housing at National University of Singapore (NUS), mostly for personal reasons. I could probably get by living in dormitories, but I feel like I have already outgrown it a bit and below are some reasons why I’m so happy living off campus. I do have to pay a bit more for rent, but I think for me the benefits outweigh the costs. Continue Reading

Graduate student expenses in Singapore (updated monthly budget and sample spreadsheet)

I made a preliminary budget a few months ago, and now after having settled in and miscellaneous moving costs have been covered, I am going to aim for this budget and track what I spend. I was tracking my spending at home too in NYC, but now it is even more important for me to do this because my income is lower and I have more expenses. (FYI, I receive a monthly stipend of SGD$2000 from a scholarship to cover living expenses. This would increase if/when I pass my Qualifying Examination…) Continue Reading

Are Asian girls too easily embarrassed?

Maybe that is unfair to generalize and say just Asian girls are too easily embarrassed. It might be context dependent, and situational embarrassment. There are also cultural forces at work here that are complicated and difficult to understand, but I think it is interesting to think about.

Last week, I attended a safety orientation session that was required for new staff and students at the university. The first session was on basic safety, first aid, and CPR. The second session was on fire safety. A few instances stuck out in my mind as interesting examples to consider. One girl wouldn’t give an answer when called on by the instructor. Granted, she was put on the spot to try to answer his question, but she couldn’t come up with anything and just shook her head, looked uncomfortable, and nervously touched her hair. Another girl looked completely mortified during the head bandage demonstration where the instructor showed the audience how to wrap a cloth bandage on her head. It also didn’t help that her “friend” in the audience was taking photos with her mobile phone (with the flash on!). Continue Reading

Graduate student personal finance (living abroad edition)

I’m a grad student again! First stop is Singapore. And that means a few things: different schedule (more and less flexibility in many ways!), taking classes again, moving expenses, and reassessing my monthly budget. Oh yeah, and making new friends. (I miss my old friends, so don’t worry, I’ll be back again!).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term personal finance, it just means tracking your money and what you are worth, including financial goals and life plans. Continue Reading