Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Shame on me: Math problems

So... starting from today and if I have time and am not lazy to write, I'm going to share about my learning experiences in my final year in college (hopefully).

It kind of saddens me a bit that I only attempted to do this now. It saddens me that I will only get to blog about my student life for a few more months. It saddens me that I didn't create a blog years ago. It saddens me that I fill my mind with saddening thoughts.

Okay, enough of that.
And RE-learn it. Ugh.

This morning or about lunch time, we had out first Math 27 (Analytical Geometry and Calculus II) meeting. Our teacher seems nice and cute (literally), which reminds me that she herself requested for a change in classroom assignment because in the originally assigned classroom, the blackboard was too high and she won't be able to write well on its surface. Basically, it was a mismatch. When I forwarded her message to the class, my classmates didn't believe the reason at first for it sounded like a joke, but actually wasn't. Oh my. How honest can she be? Well, I like honest people the most (I actually prefer them than people who often tell jokes amidst lies).

After taking our attendance, she introduced the topics we will discuss in 16 weeks. After a little bit of random talk, she immediately tests our knowledge and memory with a short but recorded quiz. :( Yes. A quiz. A surprise quiz. It came without warning. We reacted! We overreacted and whined like primary schoolers who refuse to take their afternoon nap. Add to that the fact that she seemed happy at the thought of giving us a quiz made an impression to me that she really must be nice. :) But her pure smile camouflaged with the funny grins we were showing to each other and the chuckles we let out, as we surrendered and equally seemed to be clueless of what to do.

The quiz consisted only of 4 items to answer. The air wasn't heavy. There wasn't much pressure than I thought there'd be. It was like a funny scene in a movie-- or a scene in a movie that appears to be funny for the actors only.

Suddenly, she blurted out a condition as if she saw through our inner pain and struggle. "Less than 2 points and you'll dance in front of the class or as a class", was the threat she let out as the quiz was going on.

"We'll do the dance instead, ma'am!" joked the class. It was too easy to give in to that condition. Oh, we all had smiles on our faces despite the uncertainties that lingered in the room. We were just laughing it our calculus misery.

We were given about 15 minutes to answer it. To be honest, it felt too long for a short quiz. But we didn't have other options other than to squeeze our brains for any vital technique we can manage to recall. Sadly, I used up the time and wasn't able to optimize the only choice. :)

It was exactly two years ago that we [our batch] last had a math course! Math, in this case, is the pure math that we learn and not the applied maths like those we have used in the food engineering, food processing, and food sensory evaluation courses we took within that duration. We took courses that used math, but we didn't really feel like we did any math at all. I admit my mind has rusted after two years of understanding and learning Calculus I. I don't entirely blame the curriculum, but I just hope that the next batches would be able to do math as often as possible so that their brains won't forget what they learned in the previous semesters. The two years was just really costly for my brain.

15 minutes up. She collected our papers and revealed the answers. I got 1 out of 4. I'm pretty happy with that. From the responses of my classmates, it seems like we owe our instructor a class dance.

Despite all this, I still look forward to what we'll learn when we properly start the lessons. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Today is officially the last day of the four-month vacation!

I have to face the reality of university life once again.
Disclaimer: photo not mine

Note to self: Say hello to a brand new semester~ Say hello to upcoming busy weeks and filled schedules~ Say hello to new people you'll meet along the way~ Say hello to sleepless nights~ Say hello to Do-Or-Die exams~ Say hello to printing expenses~

However, this year is going to be a tough year for me. I will be lodging anywhere near the campus anymore. Starting tomorrow, I have to commute to school every day. According to Google Maps, it's 22.8 km away from the point where I ride the public utility vehicle. That's about one hour of one-way travel.

It's not that I am not experienced in commuting to a far school. In fact, I already did that in high school, but it wasn't as tiresome as it is now in college. The physical and mental fatigue really gets me now.

Moreover, I will really miss my housemates, our night talks, random activities, procrastination, and everyday meal plans. I really enjoyed my stay in the campus, thanks to them.

This post sounds so sad, but I have to keep my head up from now on.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A milestone and a reminder to self

It's been a while since my last post that I may have forgotten how to write. Although this might too late already, I wanted to write about something before I forget to write about it. The first term of the school year is just around the corner. I might as well post a reminder to myself.

I had been trying to lose weight since March this year because I was too insecure with my weight back then. My height is not something to boast of, either. With my height, I already exceeded my ideal weight. Moreover, my excess weight was physically evident.

My tummy became flabby and my arms were beginning to get really fat. My face was too round, too, though it is round in the first place (it just became more like a circle). I couldn't fit my neck with my connected two hands.

My loose clothes began to feel uncomfortable to wear, so I had a limited set of t-shirts to wear every week. I didn't choose to wear the fit clothes because they would make my curves obvious. My pants were too tight. It's not like I could buy clothes of larger sizes at the moment. I had too many expenses in school to do that.

Aside from the discomfort my clothes brought me, I was also insecure of my figure. I wasn't really 'fat' or 'obese', but I was one you could consider 'chubby'. Nobody said it was absolutely a bad thing, but I heard other people say things about my figure in a suggestively offensive tone. It didn't make me feel okay most of the time. I had so much little self-esteem to begin with, and their words just added wounds to my already scarred self-image. Of course, I didn't want to stay as the victim of unwanted criticisms, so I thought I had to change myself. I want to feel good about myself, regardless of what other people will think of me feeling good about myself. Cutting on weight would also mean preventing the health risks that come with being overweight, or being obese if I wouldn't be able to control myself from gaining more weight.

You may say that one shouldn't care much about other people's opinions about oneself, but aren't humans naturally geared to hear his own and other people's thoughts? It's virtually impossible to NOT care at all about other people's opinions and comments, whether they make or break a person. Despite that, people can still learn which opinions to pay attention to, and it is all a personal technique--one which cannot be entirely taught from individual to individual.

How did I reach with that decision to lose weight? What did I do to achieve my goal? Being the lazy person I am, it was a tough start

It didn't really start with me. Without the external factors acting a simultaneously, I wouldn't have made the decision to seriously cut down my weight. Let me list them:

1. Our bloc/batch was witness to the drastic change in his appearance. His SSS photo showed his previous self, who was obviously fat. His face was so round that we could say for sure that he has turned into a healthy man. 
2. He himself was promoting our Food Chemistry class to begin a healthy lifestyle or to start cutting our weight if we were beyond our ideal body weight. He shared some tips on how to start the change. His advocacy and moral support had really helped me reach with my decision.
3. Some of my classmates were also intrigued and eager to start losing weight. We shared encouraging words to each other everyday or whenever we get to meet.
4. A guy friend immediately started his weight loss plan and with his efforts, it was evident that he really started slimming down. I was kind of envious of his achievement back then.

Those factors, along with my desire to comfortably wear my clothes again, sparked my interest in that kind of lifestyle, but I made sure to take things slowly. Doing it drastically by fasting and eating foods from unreasonable diet plans would surely do no good to me as I had already tried those a few years back. Doing those things only backfired and I rebounded.

So, here's the list of what I did and still do until now:

1. Cutting on carbs: I am originally a heavy rice eater. That means I normally ingested a lot more carbohydrates in a single day than an average person normally does. The heavy meals would often put me in a very full state, and I didn't feel comfortable from the sensation of being full every time.

From 1 1/2~2 cups of rice every meal, I slowly decreased the amount of rice I eat in every one of the three meals per day. I just made sure that my stomach would get accustomed to the less volume of food, and maybe get back to its original size. In contrast to the decrease in rice, I increased my protein in my diet. That means I decreased my rice-protein ratio. Every time I eat a meal, I also remind myself of the Japanese' mentality during meal, the hara-hachi-bu, or 80% full tummy (though not all of them follow this).
Furthermore, I tried to incorporate as much veggies as I could (being students in the small campus of the university, we only had a few choices with our food for lunch). Veggies really help in improving bowel movement.

2. Yes, it was kind of hard at first, because I wouldn't be really satisfied with the decreased amount of food at every meal, but I always disciplined my mind to make the right decisions every time I face a meal. It was a mental warfare every meal and I concentrated to win every time. Eventually, my stomach got used to the less amount of rice I eat (because maybe, the tummy returned to its original size).

3. I always have a bottle of water with me. Whether at school or in my room in the boarding house, I always kept a bottle full of water close to me. I wasn't really fond of drinking water and I originally could go by with just 3- to 5 glasses of water every day. Again, I had to discipline my mind to always consider drinking water whenever I feel even a little bit thirsty. I avoided drinking soda and juice, too. If I could, I would only drink them once a week. As a result, I now urinate more often and I'm glad to see that my urine become clearer and less yellow.

I also made it a habit to drink a glass of water immediately when I wake up in the morning and immediately before I get to sleep.

4. I monitored my weight weekly. Of course, my weight didn't always go down. My weight was always fluctuating within the first several weeks of my lifestyle change. But as I kept going, the trend was that my weight really did decrease from my initial weight.

These are all I did for about 6 months now and I had happily lost 9 kilograms. I didn't do weight training and running yet because I wanted first to reach my ideal body weight. But because of this achievement, I can start doing some supplementary exercises any time now.

It may seem a small accomplishment given the duration, but this really is a big leap for me that had taken many small steps. This is just the beginning to a healthier lifestyle I seek to embrace more.