Exciting Electives

Over the past two weeks I’ve managed to find the time to procrastinate by watching a Korean TV drama that I recently got into (it’s called Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, if anyone’s interested); searching up the Japanese names for all Pokemon that I’ve caught so far on Pokemon Go (which I started playing last week as part of my plan to procrastinate); as well as spend a solid 15 minutes today perusing through one of my dictionaries at home in an attempt to find the perfect word that would alliterate with “electives” for the title of this post. All these activities undoubtedly end up with me feeling slightly guilty because I could’ve used those hours to actually do some revision.

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Fun fact: Sandshrew is called “Sando” in Japanese, which literally means “sand”.

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Fun fact: “Spearow” in Japanese is “onisuzume”, which is a combination of the Japanese words “oni” (demon) and “suzume” (sparrow).

But could there ever be a time when procrastination is actually not actually us avoiding work as much as humanly possible, but a time when it’s actually us doing work without us realising it?

You may not really realise it, but finding the perfect elective paper is like finding a way to procrastinate without feeling guilty. Lemme explain you a thing. At Massey University, you can take elective papers:

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Such electives could include…

  • Languages (the difficulty of the paper you take depends on your current knowledge): Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish.
  • The Pre-Vet Four: Biology of Animals, Chemistry and Living Systems, Physics for Life Sciences, and Biology of Cells.

And the list goes on for as far as the eye can see.

Electives = Relaxtion? Not!

By choosing an elective in a field of study that you really enjoy, it’s true that the assignments being hurled your way, the revision you have to do for exams, and so on, won’t even feel like work because you’ll just be having too much fun learning. But – and there is a “but” – there will be times that you’ll feel completely overwhelmed by the newness of everything (because uni is a lot more fast paced than high school). Here’s my advice:

  1. Sit yourself somewhere quiet and comfortable, and have a bottle full of water and pile some healthy brain food near you (fruits + nuts + a bit of dark chocolate mixed in a bag = scroggin = perfect). Sour foods are also good if you feel drowsy.
  2. Open up your untouched textbooks and study notes, and read through them carefully.
  3. Then, put your notes to one side, and try to say out loud/in your head what you have just read in your own words. This’ll force you to really think about what it is that you do and don’t know.

If you still can’t understand something, Google is your very knowledgeable best friend, as well as the FUSSTA tutors (FUSSTA@gmail.com). By following this very simple method, you’ll be well prepared for anything.


Mother Nature’s Intriguing World

This semester I could only take one elective paper, so I chose Biology of Plants. Why did I choose this paper over all others? Because ever since I was small I’d loved to grow plants from seeds or beans in tissue paper in old jam jars, and I would never tire of being fascinated by how much they could morph from something the size of my thumbnail, to a long, elegant green thing over the course of a few weeks. And I really wanted to know how all of this worked.

Bio of Plants has been steadily answering all the questions that I’ve pondered about by myself over the years, in the most colourful fashion:

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Before this semester started I wouldn’t even have known what a “pericycle”, “procambium”, or “vascular cambium” was.

Though like I said, in amongst all the fun you’re having learning everything, there will be very scary looking things that make you want to drop everything and run:

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Use lots of colours if it stops you from hyperventilating.

Not only is there the drawing of plant parts and learning of new concepts, Bio of Plants students are also presented with the challenge of plant recognition. Each week, around 5 different plants will be out for display on the ground floor of Science Tower D, and at the end of the lab course we have to identify 20 of 30 the plants that have been on display during the semester – by either their common name or Latin name. Here are two examples:


Plant #9: Lancewood (Pseudopanax crassifolius).


Plant #14: Radiata pine, Monterey pine (Pinus radiata).

I’ve still got room for more electives in my bachelor’s degree and I’ve already started excitedly brain storming all the possible electives I can take.

So, what electives are you going to take?

This entry was posted in 1st years, Manawatū campus and tagged , , on by .

About Wen

Hi, everyone, my name's Wen! I’m from Malaysia, and I moved to New Zealand when I was four, along with my parents and younger brother. I love music (from pop, to rock, to classical), drawing, and just about every kind of animal there is. Like many of you reading this blog, 2016 marks my first year in university! In Semester 1, I was enrolled in pre-vet, however, I didn't make it in. This semester, I'm doing a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Genetics and Microbiology. It's been an interesting year so far and I'm sure it'll continue to be one! I always like to look on the bright side of things, and with that outlook I hope I’ll be able to share my experiences of uni life, as a first year, with you all!

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