Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Natural Natalie

Natalie Goh is a second year Information Systems student, who would like to eventually work in the healthcare industry. At a recent Freshman Social Camp, she walked around with a giant soft toy slipper (that a friend brought as a pillow) perched on her head, thinking it was a legitimate, albeit outrageous, hat. Incidentally, her worst fear is ‘embarrassing herself’ - she has an image to maintain!

Real Natalie

Besides academic work, what do you do at SoC?
I'm currently the Vice President (Operations and Projects) of Computing Club, and I am in charge of making sure everything around school runs smoothly for the students as well as overseeing the major projects Computing Club organises every year (including Freshmen Orientation Projects as well as the Cyber Gaming Festival) My job scope is not just limited to those, so feel free to approach me if you have any comments/suggestions for Computing Club! 
I'm always busy with the different events which Computing Club is organising. I guess the reason why I am still here is to return to the Computing community. I want to make sure that this warm culture exists not only among those active members of Computing Club, but among the general student population too.  
Many people think that the active Computing Club members are exclusive, and are not open to any newcomers and such, so I am working hard to tell every SoC student that we are always open to everyone, and that none of us bite! It is indeed hard for people to approach us since we always look like we are exclusive and stuff, so I am looking at approaching people instead :) Hopefully we can build a close knitted Computing community and not just a Computing Club community!
Slipper-headed Natalie - proof that Computing Clubbers don't bite and are definitely not exclusive.

Describe your experience as an SoC student.
[The thing I enjoy the most about SoC is] the students. I came into Computing without any prior experience in anything related to computing. I wasn't sure if I was going to regret my choice since I was told that it will be hard for me to cope with the steep learning curve. However I am able to cope with my studies due to the students in Computing. The freshmen camps has allowed me to get to know a lot of seniors as well as peers, who are more than willing to help me out with the different problems I have.  
It might seem unbelievable, but the computing students I have met were usually more than willing to sacrifice their time to help each other out, even if that means they might not have time to finish their own work. I guess this is the very reason why I decided to be more active around computing and help pass the love! :) 
I find memorising the most challenging thing I face in computing, which is evident and common in IS modules. I don't like to memorise facts, and I cannot seem to get those minute details into my head.. (More open book examinations pretty please? XD) 
On the other hand, I found programming really useful! As much as I am not proficient in any language, I found out that knowing some programming languages has allowed me to better understand some stuff the computer browsers display when there is some sort of error. Indeed, having a computing degree has made me feel better about myself (since I know more practical stuff!) 
I remember crashing lectures back in year 1, when I had a very empty timetable. One of the lectures which I crashed, was CG1101 (the CEG version of CS1010). I remembered Dr. Zhou Lifeng asking me if I was his student, and it was embarrassing for me to admit I wasn't his student. I thought he would ignore me since I wasn't his student, but I was surprised he still tried his best to teach me C programming! He even took time out for personal consultation with a few crashers (including me). This was when I realised professors do not actually segregate students, and that they would teach any student who comes their way!  
[If there was one thing I would change about SoC, it would be] to change the learning mindsets of the students. I wish that students in SoC are not that results-oriented, as we all know that results merely determine our first job after graduation. What is important and will bring us far in life, is the different life experiences and other qualities, not academics. I hope that students will realise that stepping out of the books can allow us to learn more than just knowledge. And that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
Everyone thinks I'm a social butterfly since I just seem to be able to talk to people comfortably. But actually I take a very long time to warm up to people in general. I am socially awkward sometimes, and I hate approaching strangers! 

What advice would you give a prospective SoC undergraduate student?
Do get to know more seniors or friends, as fellow students' advice are definitely more close to your hearts than professors or non-SOC students! Do not think you can survive alone in SOC because the modules are challenging and getting a second opinion is definitely more helpful! Of course, do join more activities (be it orientation or just random Computing Club activities) to get to know more SOC students! I did not regret joining these activities, and I do think you will not regret too!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not studying/working?
I like to look out for new music, and try to play it on my guitar (and sing to it). I barely make progress since I'm still a novice, but practice makes perfect! :) 

Quick-fire! If you had to eat only one item from one of the NUS canteen stalls for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Korean BBQ pork from Hwang's!  

Pet peeve?
Any artificial stuff worn to "make you look better" (like coloured contacts, false eyelashes etc.) I don't think it enhances looks :/ 

New Year’s resolution?
Stop being everywhere (because I'm always around Computing!) and focus more on my work! :X 

Got ideas about questions we should be asking or people we should be chatting with? Email tien@nus.edu.sg

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