Friday, August 17, 2012

General uni talk, ICU updates and farewells

I have my Japanese Visa!!! That's another step closer to my departure. I'd just like to take a moment to brag about how superior the Japanese embassy is. I see a slew of tweets from other kids going abroad complaining about how painful, slow and inefficient their visa-getting process is. I filled a total of one short form (just my details), walked into the embassy and completed the application in less than 3 minutes. 2 days later, I went back and collected my visa- no queue, no wait. Jealous?

As the day I abandon Singapore draws near, my initial excitement turns into anxiety and the equivalent of bridal blues, I suppose? I still remember the week before JC started, I wrote a long journal entry detailing my worries about being in a new school, new environment, around new people etc. That was small-scale.

Back then, all I could worry about was whether I would be able to adapt and make friends, with T abandoning me for the enemy school, which at least was within walking distance of my house. Graduating from 10 years of escalator school into a new uniform, new batch of people, foreign part of the country.

This time, my BFF is going to be countries away (yet neither of us in Singapore), and my parents even further. There isn't going to be a single person I know there, and I'll be in a literally foreign environment. Before JC, I worried about only knowing a minority of the population that would be coming from my secondary school. Now, forget the minority- there isn't going to be anyone from Singapore there (thank God).

The ICU NetCommons portal has a "Meet People" section that opened recently. In that section, everyone is supposed to upload a profile of themselves detailing country background, hobbies etc., complete with a message and photo. It's all supposed to help us meet the other students before orientation, and make friends. After stalking the page for a few days, I finally posted my own profile within little more than my blog link and Twitter username. How could I possibly summarise my entirety in a few paragraphs? It'd take an autobiography novel, which my blog represents- so what better way to get to know me than from reading my writing?

Anyway, one of the OYRs created an FB group for the September 2012 entrance batch, where we can discuss dorms or whatever else. Unfortunately, majority of the September entrants are OYRs and regulars like me only make up a tiny percentage. I guess it's unconventional for people to choose a university where you'd be majoring in something taught 80% in a foreign language. Most of the regulars are Japanese returnees, and hopefully there are more who just aren't making their existences known.

Since this is a general uni talk, I suppose I should elaborate more about ICU. All my friends have no idea what I'm doing and their knowledge only extends to "Bethany's going to Tokyo." They all probably think I'm going on a 4-year holiday (as dubbed by my father), which I'd love to think too.

While uni in Singapore is typically 3 years- 1 foundation year and 2 major years, ICU is 4 years with 2 foundation years and 2 major years. Unlike all you poor things who have to decide what you're gonna do for the rest of your lives now, I only have to declare my major after the 2nd year. Now that you know, STOP ASKING ME WHAT I'M GOING TO STUDY BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW EITHER.

Basically, I'll be doing the Japanese Language Program (JLP) and a variety of general education for the foundation years. By the time I declare my major, I'd have to be fully proficient in Japanese enough to study elaborate, technical things in it. Along the way, I'm also required to take a whole bunch of basic/introductory courses in whatever I choose (or CAN choose, considering all the courses I'm interested in are in Japanese), such as Psychology, Society and Culture, Music, Economics etc. etc. etc. The courses offered vary from term to term and are either taught in English, Japanese, or both. And yes, I have to take PE in uni. The torture never ends.

FYI, ICU is a highly-regarded private uni in Japan, often considered one of the top, alongside Waseda, Keio, Sophia etc., so it's not like I'm going to some random, lousy, second-rate international cesspool. ICU is a real Japanese university that simply offers an international course for those interested in pursuing a serious education in Japan. Just so you know, one of the main imperial family princesses of Japan attends ICU. Also, while Japanese universities are sometimes known to have insanely hard entrance requirements/exams but super slack life after that (little work load, lenient professors), ICU tragically (for me) has both military entrance standards and fierce workload. (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)

I think that pretty much summarises what I'll be doing for now. There's more, but none of you actually really care that much about my academic future, and neither do I at the moment. As for "why Japan?", check this blog frequently this coming week- I'll elaborate on that before I leave.

Right now, I'm actually looking forward to uni starting. Never thought you'd live to see the day Bethany looks forward to school or anything remotely educational, right? But this is different- now, being in uni equals to being in Tokyo. Also, my sanity has been warped after 9 months of holiday. Forget my original plan of taking a gap year to avoid education- 9 months is 3/4 a year already, and I could not be any more bored and tired of doing nothing.

Then I start thinking of my future work load, and the need to do homework, study, and the few-quizzes-a-day, etc. etc. etc. and just education in general, and suddenly I'm not so looking forward to it already. I'm so conflicted right now- I want to move to Tokyo and eradicate my boredom, but I don't wanna leave my parents (note I didn't say my 'home') and become independent. I wanna start school and meet people and have something to do, but I don't want to start the education part of school.

That aside, as my D-MINUS whittles down to a single-digit number, farewell season begins. So far, I've said bye to two of my council bimbz, which was actually an excuse for us to have some cheap crab and zamantou at Broadway Potong Pasir.

I've also bid farewell to half my OG, where they pilfered a little gift for me to remember them by. I shall not elaborate any more.

Next up are farewells to whatever remains of F4TW, to my Sistas4lyf, and to T. I have a few more errands to run in preparation for my departure too, so my schedule is pretty packed. It seems like the next week will fly by before I blink. I still remember when I began my countdown, it was a 3-digit figure, and now it's only a week.




  1. It's me, Kaori! (Yes I have a google account now haha) My goodness, I took a whole year off as well and man, was it BORING -___- I thought I'll have a whole year to start new hobbies, do this and that, but nope haha. I'm in the same boat: go to Tokyo and school, but not leave family and start the education part D: I'm sure we'll both make it through though! You're leaving roughly 10 days earlier than me, so good luck! Sorry I posted here. I didn't know where to comment >.<

    1. Hey Kaori!
      Oh you did?? School in Singapore ends in October and I finished my 'A'-levels end November so I've been free since December. Being free is awesome but so boring omg.
      And it's totally fine to comment here! ^o^
      I'm leaving a week before ICU dorm checkin, but I'll still be with my parents for that week so it's better than nothing, I guess!