April: University of Stress and Tension

by - May 03, 2014

The perks of a family visit - the pool at the Metropark Hotel, Causeway Bay
On the 2nd April, a small group of us sat in the university canteen and mulled over the fact that April was going to be a hugely busy month and that two days into the month we would have precious little free time until May.  For me, the busyness came as a result of having two midterms, the final submission of my Final Year Research Project, two family visits and a ten day trip to visit Burma (for which you can find the blog at www.colesburma2014.blogspot.hk).  I will be the first to admit that this busyness was mostly my own fault, but that didn’t stop if being a month that really lived up to HKUST’s nickname of the “University of Stress and Tension”.  I will admit that the above photo doesn’t exactly conjure images of me working hard, but March and April have been probably the most mentally gruelling of my academic career.

First visit to Aberdeen 
The arrival of my uncle and cousin at the start of April and my mum, dad and brother at the end of April was a welcome distraction from the workload, though did put me in the position of playing tour guide by day and catching up on work and revision in the library in the early hours of the morning and also meant that I had to take my laptop to Burma to finish off my FYP report.  I managed to not miss the deadline however and, despite feeling that I was going to be eaten alive, managed to do a reasonable job of the corresponding ‘defence’ presentation in front of a panel of professors.  The FYP has been a constant weight on my mind since September - I was forced to work on it on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and in both India and Burma, not to mention all of the Saturday morning meetings and late night library sessions.  Having finished, it almost feels like the term is over - though with four modules left to finish I keep having to remind myself that there is still more to do.  That said, post submission date, I was able to totally ignore university work by staying at the family’s wonderful hotel (the Metropark on Victoria Park) and doing sightseeing.  In addition to a visit to Macau (mentioned elsewhere) I was also able to see Aberdeen for the first time and spent a lot more time on the island around Causeway Bay than I ever had.  In conclusion, a mixed month - on one hand excruciatingly hard work and on the other, wonderful due to being able to spend time with family, visit Burma and eventually break the back of the academic workload.

Mum’s birthday dinner at Saigon Vietnamese restaurant, Stanley

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