What a hectic first week in Singapore. I don’t even know where I should begin. I suppose I can start with how I adjusted to the warm (that is, extremely hot) weather here in Singapore. Though I’ve travelled to many different countries, I’ve never actually been to a place that is above 30º C (86º F) during January. Somehow, I hadn’t anticipated how difficult it can be adjusting to a 40º jump in temperature, especially when there isn’t exactly an air conditioner in my dorm room. I found myself waking up early for the first couple of days, even though I’d come from a visit to South Korea and as such jet lag wasn’t a huge issue. On the plus side, that actually means that I’ve been developing a healthier morning schedule. By which I mean I forced myself to actually have a morning schedule. Still, I’ve noticed that I’ve started getting less and less bothered by the heat, and I’m fairly confident that I’ll adapt in time.
In other news, I’d forgotten how stressful registering for classes can be when you’re not familiar with how the system works yet. Certainly, the whole module registration process at NUS is somewhat more complicated than the system we have at Northwestern — from what I understand, though I have technically already been assigned to classes, there is a bidding process for the actual modules that I still need to participate in. I think. I’m still not entirely sure if I have all the details correct. For instance, Tutorials are also important sections that I also have to rank, though what they actually are and how I rank them is still murky territory to me. Fortunately, the local students have been friendly and absolutely willing to explain things to us, and occasionally commiserate with us as we try and figure everything out.
I’ve been trying to remember what it was like as a freshman entering Northwestern, perpetually confused about how everything worked. Was the entering school process more or less confusing than it is right now? Of course, the process in Singapore is different from what it was when I was a freshman by the simple fact that I am an international student, and I have to fill out paperwork that local students wouldn’t have to bother with. But even though I’m in a different country, with a culture and customs that I’m still learning, there’s something exciting about figuring everything out for the first time, like the excitement of exploring a new city and adapting to a new place. It’s certainly stressful, but the type of stress that ends with a light rewarding feeling inside your chest. So even though I am very tired — both with the whole student pass/visa process, with registering for classes, with walking around campus and the city and getting lost for twenty minutes — I’m still looking forward to what tomorrow brings.