I had completed the CA1 component of my FYP, but strangely I don’t feel a sense of joy in that achievement. Some of my friends completed theirs last week, and whilst they were asked to prepare a presentation, the professors did not ask them to present. Hence it was a little shocking when I was asked to present, although it did not last long.
The professor stopped me and he said he had already seen my slides, and he thinks that they are too formal. Then he asked for the graduate student supervisor who was sitting beside me but wasn’t captured on camera. He gave me a shock when he was sort of like scolding the graduate student, even mentioning something like stupid and not knowing what he wants.
He went on to ask me about my CAP, saying that he thinks I am a good student. When he knew my CAP score, he said something along the lines of “see I knew you were a good student”, commenting that any professor would have given me high marks for my work. I didn’t know if I was supposed to be delighted at that sentence, and I thought he would have known my score during my FYP application? He asked about my school before NUS, even commenting that PM Lee Hsien Loong was from the school.
He moved on to talk about some other stuffs, helping to ease the tension. He mentioned a story about the roman emperor Caesar, how he once saw many men crowding around a great knot that cannot be untied, and that whoever can untie that knot would become ruler of the world. As this point I was saying “ok,ok” to get the story flowing.
He then asked if I knew the story. I suspected that Caesar cut the knot using his sword, but I did not say that, and asked him to continue. My professor continued and as expected, Caesar cut the knot using the sword. I would have done the same way myself.
But that’s not the point. It then dragged on to what’s my hobbies, which was actually a question about what I want to do when I graduate. He went on to say things about making money and not working for money. About printing money. About if I want a professorship I can look for him, and that I would be a better professor than him. In my mind I was at a loss. But I knew he was a person like that because my friends did tell me about him before.
The professor kept on repeating and emphasising that what he wants is his social robot being able to speak and tell stories. He seemed to have displeasure at the grad student for not knowing what he wants, and says that I am smart and I should help him to get the robot to talk.
As such I am having mixed feelings now, which led me to feel moody and led me to lose my appetite during dinner. Should I be happy and feel that I am a good student, that perhaps he will give me a good grade? But then I wonder why he wants me to make the robot tell stories or jokes (not dirty jokes, he says) when it is not part of my FYP. But he is the professor and I guess I should just do whatever he say, perhaps on top of whatever I am doing for my FYP too.
This period of time is really trying and stressful. I have never felt anything like this in the first 3 years of university life. Somehow it all manages to pass pretty nicely. I hope I get the strength and motivation to continue pressing on my last year of university. Sometimes I question why I need to do FYP when it doesn’t seem to make any sense. Modules like EE2001 and EE3001 have provided opportunities for doing own research and producing quality work. I don’t understand why after fighting for 3 hard years, I am so in reach of first class honours, but it seems so tough to grasp it because of FYP’s strict criteria that is do or die. It just seems really far far away from me right now, and I wonder if I would have felt better if I was lousier and just got a decent 2nd upper. I know it sounds bad and hurtful to people who doesn’t have a first class honours CAP score, but seriously to have something within reach and then feeling so far away is something very depressing.
I am telling myself that when I pray to God to give me courage, he will give me the chance to have courage. That when I pray to be successful, he will give me the chance to be successful. That all these are trials of my life and I would emerge stronger after all these. I hope I can continue to motivate myself for the next 7.5 months, that life would be tough but it will teach me skills that I can’t learn anywhere else. I just pray that I would be able to better manage my moods and thoughts.
It is these trying times that I take comfort in my own home. I really love the feeling of comfort coming home and being with my family. Somehow I wish that I can be protected just like when I was a little boy. But I cannot. I have to be strong for myself because I am no longer a little boy. I love my family even when I feel so stressed that I keep to myself and don’t speak much.