NUS Modules Review

I realized up till now in my life in NUS I have never bothered to do a module review… so here I shall do module review of everything! Maybe a brief one first, then detailed one in a separate post when I have the time!

I think I will go backwards…so let’s start with Year 3 Sem 1.

EN3227 Romanticism

Conducted by the famous and impression Dr Susan Ang, I personally I feel that this module is very amazing and information intensive. You learn so many aspects about Romanticism from the values that the people of this time period embodied to reading highly whimsical poems such as “I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth. Good points about the module include: Dr Ang is simply brilliant and learning from her means that you will really push yourself very hard; she analyzes all the texts very carefully for you so it hones your close reading skills; she is very organized and each of her lecture is basically an argument so you leave the lecture knowing the whole point of the lecture which is very rare, I dare say. Bad points about the module include: each lecture is really really content heavy so please don’t do what I did and cram all your literature modules into the same day (ESPECIALLY NOT POSTCOLONIAL THEORIES) you will die I swear; Dr Ang provides lecture notes (a transcript) but each transcript is about 20 pages, so make of it what you will; a huge number of poems to read, at least 20, plus 10 or so short stories and 2 main texts (for me is Frankenstein and Villette). Rumor has it that Dr Ang knows if you did not read the set text and she will definitely hang you out to dry…but the trick is not reading in the time of great constraints….the trick is to look as if  you have read it. Hint: Sparknotes.

Assessment:

Presentation (15%) – Got A-, went smoothly for us because Cherballz and I were first to present, seemed like Dr Ang didn’t like a few of the presentation after, and here is how to tell: the more she stops you during your presentation to ask you questions or to make you clarify, the lower your grades go.

Participation (15%) – According to Dr Ang, she is prepared to start from 0 so you need to speak up, but I don’t think I spoke up that much since there are always one or two people (as we all know) who dominate the discussion in every class, but I don’t feel like Dr Ang was particularly impressed by the said people’s verbal diarrhea either. It is more of quality, not quantity for her.

Midterm Test (20%) – Oh boy that was horrible, I got a 7 out of 20 and the class average was 7.2-8; a lot of people scored poorly, like 4s and 5s. Not much analysis questions, everything was based on her lectures and the factual questions like…”which mountain did Frankenstein first saw his Creature?”, or “What is the name of William Wordsworth’s sister?” Everyone including me made up our own names…

Final Test (20%) – Got a B+, I felt that it didn’t go too well for me as I was really burnt out by then and my mind was kind of blank during the test. I think there were 8 questions, and pick one to write an essay on. Comparative questions.

Term Paper (30%) – I got an A- for this, totally unexpected. I felt that it was close to one of the worse papers I have written since it required about 3500 words and I totally lost track of my argument as I wrote and I had to go over and over it. You can submit a draft two weeks before submission date; Dr Ang is not too stringent on the deadline so long as you let her know beforehand. Having a discussion with her helped me sharpen my focus greatly and you don’t need to be creative, but you need to be very clear about what you are arguing. My essay was on “The Gothic Other as a Means of Undermining Social Categories” which is boring, like I said, haha.

Overall grade: unknown, praying for A-

Conclusion: Module strongly recommended, but not for those who intends to pon every lecture and not read the texts. Death will befall you in the form of terrible grades.

EN3264: IN OTHER WOR(L)DS: POSTCOLONIAL THEORY & LITERATURE  

By Dr Tania Roy, one of the other remarkable professors in NUS literature department who has a strong fan base of her own. Dr Roy is very sweet and patient, willing to meet for consultation and acknowledges your effort (if you put any). If you are the type who is interested in gossip, I heard that there Dr Ang and Dr Roy each have their own individual fan bases: yeah I am totally thinking about Harry Potter in my head where we got like Roy’s Army and Ang’s Army. Rumor also has it that some tension exists, but I don’t really know since whatever people tell me I have the tendency to not remember quite well. I quite like both Profs, so not an issue for me.
Class Participation (20%) – Seminar Style class, don’t pon it guys. Or at least pon wisely and when you need the time the most. Try to talk more and make yourself look smaaaart.
Midterm Evaluation (20%) –  5 pages, TNR font size 12. Did pretty well for this, got A-. I thought I would get A because I had no criticism from Dr Roy in the paper, but I guess you need to be even more creative for that A.
 
Midterm Test (20%) – 5 pages, TNR font size 12. Ours was take home so nobody really keeps to the time limit and honestly Dr Roy never bothers about checking whether you wrote too much to be within the hour plus “time limit”. I did pretty well for this, it was all numerical grade so it makes absolutely no sense to me – Dr Roy flooded my paper with “excellent” and “lovely” BUT be careful, coz despite all these you may still get B+. Hurhur.
Final Essay (Term Paper) (40%) – [update] Got A- for this, whoots! I realized that you won’t really be able to start early if you face the same problem we did: firstly, too much work due; secondly, the questions are not released from the start of the year. Questions are really long and need you to engage with the postcolonial theories and concepts taught and apply it to a text. You can also formulate your own question but I find that too troublesome.
Conclusion: Module highly recommended. The texts are interesting and Fanon is awesome, just don’t take this with Romanticism so you won’t feel like killing yourself.
EN4234: PYNCHON AND THE POETICS OF INFORMATION
This module, conducted by Dr David Teh, screwed my life over this semester. It is abstract especially in the first half of the module and esoteric in the very least, defying everything I ever knew about literature seminars and modules. I have so much grievances about this module that I can write a whole entry on it. But let us be brief: problems with the module is that I don’t see the focus of each seminar, nor do I see how the concepts taught are linked to Thomas Pynchon’s texts. Dr Teh attempts to do some application that remains confusing to me till this very day, and his demonstrations often involve reading out large chunks of texts from Pynchon’s works or from Wikipedia and then going, “Do you see how…?” Took this with Cherballz and she dropped it after our botched presentation where we were stopped halfway and not given the chance to finish. Devastating, but since I appealed to FASS and they won’t let me drop it, the only thing I can do was to grit my teeth and work hard for it, so the second half of the semester saw some improvement. I must say, I am crazy proud of myself. (I will save my grievances for a future post)
Assessment:
Seminar Attendance+ Participation (10%) – Dr Teh takes attendance for every single seminar do not pon it. You will incur his wrath.
Seminar Presentation (15%) – Pick a week and do the corresponding topic. My advice is not to pick any topic before recess week because you will most likely be still confused. Topics that seem more interesting to me include Panopticism by Foucault and The Order of Things also by Foucault. Good luck trying to speed through your presentation, talking like a bullet train because boy our prof is very stringent about time limit.
Review Essay (25%) – I got 68/100 (I think), not that bad as I thought. I asked around and most people got around 65-68, a few at the 72s and I saw someone with 63 so I guess I am around a B+ to A-. Write on any of the Pynchon books and apply theory. Contextualize and historicize. Meet Dr Teh and see what he says about your essay – if you do, you will score better.
Final Essay (50%) – Lordy. I wrote half a draft and turned it in for the him to review first before editing at length. I still don’t know my grade but I sure hope it is not screwed up, you can basically fail this module if you screw up the essay. [Update: I now know my grade it is a highly unpleasant B; according to Cherballz who checked for me, a lot of people got B saved for one genius who got A. I have no idea how he does it.] I wrote on Pynchon’s Vineland even though I don’t really understand it. It is the second thinnest book: you will balk looking at Gravity’s Rainbow or Mason and Dixon.
Conclusion:Will I recommend this module? Hell no. Never.
GES1010/SSA2204: Nation-building in Singapore
I am not entirely sure why people give this module such good reviews or tell me that it is very manageable, but I assure you it is neither good, nor interesting, nor manageable. I have taken Singapore Society in 2015/2016 and it is so much more interesting than this dumb module. The lectures are dreary 1.5 long droning on and on about what is nationalism, how it came about, and we were asked ad nauseum whether Japanese Occupation gave rise to nationalism in Singapore. The tutorials are even worse: write a page long essay and go to class for discussion. Every week without fail we are split into groups, share some nonsense insight with each other before presenting in class. Terrible and dry. The readings are not interesting either BUT THEY ARE SO DAMN LONG. The shortest reading is around 10 pages. The longest one can go up to 30 pages or more. You get approximately 3-4 readings a week, and 1-2 in the first 2 weeks. Some of the readings does not really seem to answer the topic of the week nor is it very direct in providing any form of insight, you still need to wreck your brain thinking about it. Oh, lectures are a must since they don’t record it, and the skeletal notes given are close to useless without actually hearing the boring lecture. I went for a total of 2 lectures before I decided to just not care since I am overworked, exhausted and thoroughly dismayed by this module.
Assessment:
Essay 1 (10%) – Got a B+ for this despite my tremendous effort. I thought I could do well, but nope. Even went to see Prof for consultation but the consultation left me more confused than ever.
Essay 2 (20%) – Got a B+ again BUT it is worth it since I spent roughly 2 hours reading the notes and writing it. No shits given anymore to this crappy module.
Class participation (20%) – Go tutorial and talk crap, some people will dominate the discussion but if you really want to do well then make sure you talk I guess. I did bare minimum, didn’t turn up for one tutorial and had to hand in one page essay which the prof asked for but no doubt DID NOT read since he just said “ok thanks” and that was it. So thank god I wrote that in half an hour and still benefitted from the net time gained from not travelling just for the tutorial.
Final Exam (50%) – Crammed like crazy for two days, made my notes, asked around for notes and stuff, only once kind hearted soul responded to me and I gave her my notes too. I felt so relieved because I did not study “woman” and “globalization” topics and neither came out bwahahhaha. Hopefully I will pass everything with flying colours.
Conclusion: Module strongly not recommended unless you love dry and boring stuff.
 SC2212: Sociology of Deviance
Love-hate relationship with this module: the module’s content is lovely and it is super interesting to understand the idea of deviance. Professor George Radics is a charming speaker and engages everyone super well. Only problem is the copious amount of readings: each week is a chapter from the textbook which I did not buy but photocopied from the RBR that amounts to some 20-30 pages, plus extra readings around 3-4 sets. Readings are not as thick as the Nation-building one, and infinitely more interesting. Lectures tend to be just a simple overview of the textbook, also webcasted (God bless Prof Radics even though I am non-religious), but it is not enough for you to understand everything.
Assessment:
Tutorial Attendance and Participation (20%) – Go for the tutorial and speak up.

Three Response Papers: 30%, I got A-, B+ then B: I put in the most effort for the second paper and got a B so I can’t be bothered with the last one anymore.

Final Exam (50%): 2 sections, section A has 6 questions and section B has six questions. Pick 2 questions from each section! Section A was application questions, I did the ones asking us to apply theory to anything we have read from NUSWhisphers and another one on any issue causing moral panic in Singapore or SEA. For Section B, it was case studies based on the syllabus, most of which I did not read but I tried to figure it out anyway – I did the one on Singlish/ Symbolic Interactionism as well as the one on ISIS foreign fighters/anomie.

Conclusion: If you are hardworking and enthusiastic, please take this module because it will definitely pay off. I didn’t do a lot of the tutorials or the readings so I figure I will be pleased with a B+. Especially if you love Soci, then try this mod coz Prod Radics is really awesome and has this smooth american accent. Weww. Hopefully I will do well for this mod so I don’t have to SU it.
Toodles for now, next post up will be my Year 2 modules.