February 2018: The Start of Semester Two


During the Christmas break, I travelled to Sweden and Finland with my friends for eight days. In Sweden, we visited the Royal Palace which was largely built during the eighteenth century in the Italian Baroque style. It gave us an opportunity to know about the Swedish royal family and history of Sweden. Rovaniemi in Finland is the official hometown of Santa Claus. We met Santa Claus and crossed the magical Arctic Circle at the Santa Claus Village. It was cool! I really enjoyed my journey to Sweden and Finland. We may read and hear a lot about other parts of the world but actually visiting and experiencing another country in person is quite different. One of the reasons why I love travelling is that I can immerse myself in different customs and culture and gain numerous new experiences.

After my wonderful journey, I started my preparation for the final exam. All the four courses I studied at semester one are assessed via two-hour unseen examinations. During my undergraduate studies, we usually took the exams in the two weeks after all courses were finished. When all the exams were over, we would have a one-month holiday during which we celebrated the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). I didn’t get used to taking exams after holiday in UoM. It was a little bit hard for me to focus on studying after having great fun travelling. To help myself better to concentrate and manage time, I drew up a revision timetable. Sometimes I would go out to enjoy the sunshine or for a small 30-minute jog after a day of revision. This helped recharge and refresh my mind.

When the January exams finally finished, the new semester started. There are four units (two compulsory and two optional) in semester two. I find that the major difference between the units at undergraduate level and  at postgraduate level is less focus on technical and numerical issues but more on broader views and critical thinking. We no longer rely on a single technical view. Looking at one issue from different views gives us the complete picture. This is also reflected on the exam questions. In the exams of most courses, numerical questions only account for a small proportion while essay-based analytical questions which require critical thinking take up a large percentage of marks.

A new semester means a new beginning and I am looking forward to fantastic experiences ahead.


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