Chip in Together for a Sustainable Environment

With the large increases in human population numbers over the recent decades, sustainability has unsurprisingly become an issue. From around 2 billion in the 1920s to more than 7 billion today, the amount of resources we need from mother earth has jumped by leaps and bounds. There are many simple ways we can all chip in for a more sustainable environment.

Play your part in your homes by cutting unnecessary usage of electricity. Simply turn off the lights and fans whenever you have left a room. If you find the air conditioning too cold and need to layer on more clothing, you may also wish to simply raise the temperature settings. This also helps reduce the laundry load.

Rather than purchasing bottled water, you can bring along a filled and reusable bottle of water when you head out. This cuts the use of plastic. If you need to purchase a bottle, do look out for the recycle bins to drop the used bottle in. Recycle as much as possible! If you have used plastic containers at home, cans from drinks and more, look out for a nearby recycling bin point to drop them in.

In addition to saving the environment, you can also support charitable causes by contributing your old items for re-sale or re-use. The Salvation Army, for instance, accepts your pre-loved items and puts them up for sale at their thrift stores.

Only order what you are able to finish eating. This way, not only is disposed food reduced; at the same time, you can save up the money for other things that you like. For a one off meal, the savings may look insignificant, but $10 saved for each meal, for 10 meals a month works out to $100 and that is already $1,200 for a year. With that much money saved, you can even use it for a vacation.

Instead of throwing aways items that have broken down, you can also repair them for continued use. Some commonly reparable items include your electronics like air conditioning. Do you know that you can even get your furniture repaired, and luggage repaired? That way, you can also keep with you items that you have built memories with, be it home pieces you adore or bags that have accompanied you on your many beautiful vacations.

Play your part and chip in together, to create a more sustainable environment.

Sustainable living

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Be more prepared – know your examination structure & requirements

For those with major examinations this year, and are preparing for your “O” and “A” levels, to move on to the next phase of schooling, it is good to start being familiar with the examination marks weightage.

Particularly for content-based examination, like Mathematics and Sciences, there are topic and content knowledge requirements specified by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. The information will be good grounds for you to cross check against whether you have prepared, so you can tick off if you have covered all the topics and sub-topic requirements. For science subjects like Physics, you also can find information on the learning outcome required, i.e. application knowledge you need to be equipped with for the topics and sub-topics.

To plan your schedule for your examination, you can also refer to the examination timetable also provided by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board.

So don’t just study hard, study smart.

Examination topic checklist

Revving up for the year end examinations

With the onset of the final year examinations, some may be tempted to use the upcoming 1 week September vacation to cramp in more studying. For those looking to optimise your cognitive functions, you may choose a different approach.

There are many factors which are said to have an influence on your cognitive capabilities. Here, we have a list of 5 to-dos, to rev up the cognitive powers to prepare for the year end examinations.

1. Do something new

Always wanted to try your hand at playing guitar, or canvas painting? Just like doing different types of exercises allows you to train up different muscle groups, doing different types of activities is like cross training for your brain, allowing different parts of the brain to work out.

2. Eat the right foods

The brain needs proper nutrition to function at its best. Foods which contain Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, as well as complex carbohydrates are essential for proper brain functioning. It does not mean that everything else is not essential, of course. A balanced diet, with enough of the other vitamins, minerals, fibres would aid you in maintaining general good health and good condition for your examinations.

3. Get enough sleep

Whilst studies show that people may need different amounts of sleep to operate normally, and this may bring the question of what is enough, you can gauge this for yourself in many ways. Are you responding at your optimal level, or are your responses more lagged than usual? Have your responses playing your favourite games dipped? Are you more prone to dropping things? Observe yourself and you can estimate what is the amount of sleep you need.

4. Allow yourself quiet time

Taking a walk in nature, or taking time to meditate allows your mind to come to a calm, reducing your stress levels. Meditation has also be found to help people improve their concentration. So taking that time out to meditate can actually turn out to improve the effectiveness of your revisions, when you can focus better.

5. Understand yourself

There are some hours where you may find yourself better able to focus than others. By planning your day’s activities schedule and revising more during these hours, you may find the effort of revisions being cut down.

Upcoming examinations preparation

Short getaway for the September school holidays

Planning a short getaway for the September school holidays, to re-charge before the final year examinations? Besides Sentosa island in Singapore itself, with its many fun activities, just across the causeway to Malaysia, there are many different offerings just a road trip away as well.

While most of us are very familiar with going to Johor for a day, to get some grocery shopping done, a haircut, and a massage or nail spa, or much further away in Kuala Lumpur for a shopping getaway, there are also nature activities you can get away to in Malaysia.

1. Desaru

Here at Desaru, you can visit a couple of farms. There is the fruit farm, where you can see tropical fruit trees, and also purchase fresh fruit on the farm. You can also visit the ostrich farm, see the huge ostrich egg and also taste some ostrich omelette or satays while there.

Close by at Kota Tinggi, you can take a hike in the Gunung Panti hills, which will take you about 4-5 hours. You can also go see the waterfalls, and enjoy a night cruise to see fireflies.

Fruit farm.jpg

2. Cameron Highlands

As the name suggests, being on highlands means getting to enjoy not just cleaner air, but also get away from the hot weather in Singapore. There are many plantations to visit up on Cameron Highlands. You can go see the strawberry plantations, and pluck some to eat. There are also bee farms to visit, and also tea plantations. Enjoy a nice cuppa hot tea at the plantation, and maybe have a relaxing game of chess while enjoying the scenery.

Tea plantation.jpg

Here on Cameron Highlands, there is also an unusual type of steamboat, that you can tuck into. Its the pipe steamboat, where the charcoal to heat up the pot is in the pipe rather than the base. Seafood is surprisingly cheap and fresh even up the highlands, so enjoy yourself.

Pipe steamboat.jpg

3. Tioman

For those seeking some underwater sea adventure, you can drive up to Mersing catch a ferry across to Tioman island. With its many resorts, you can relax at the beach, go diving or get your dive license, or go on a fishing trip.

Tioman

Enjoy your September holidays, and remember to get your car maintained or carry out some simple car checking before embarking on your long drive across, for a hassle free holiday!

School holidays – what now?

School’s out! School holidays is finally here!

Now that you have much more free time in this November/ December vacation period, what do you plan to do with all these free time? While it is tempting to spend time in the warm comforts of your bed, engage in social media and play games, when you look back next year, would you feel that “Man! I wish I had done this and that!”? Why not come up with a plan to do all those things that you wanted, when you had to spend your hours at school?

Sports training

Wished you had more time to really train up for that sport you like, be it swimming, football or tennis or something else, and could not put in as much time? Now is a great chance, to engage a coach to brush up on your weaker areas, develop your physical strength and techniques and get better at your game in 2017.

Travel and see a new country

If you had some spare cash, and would like to learn more about another country’s culture, way of life and experience their food, its a time to jet away and build up on your experience. You would get to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery, architecture, musuems, and many things more!

Music classes

Dreaming of being the next Guns N’ Roses? Sling on your guitar, and put in some more hours of guitar licks practice and keep going at it. Watch some Youtube videos to get tips, or engage a teacher if you need some technical help, and sing and strum away!

Research your interests

Maybe there is a topic you wanted to understand more on, that is outside of your school curriculum? Now is the time to head to the library and get more books to read on this, or get some material online and study them. There are so many online forums these days as well, that you could discuss the topics you are passionate about with like minded people.

Keep on learning!

School hols.jpg

Picture credit: happy-tv.com/video/family-fun-this-june-school-holiday/

 

In need of a shot of energy?

Ever had a day where you feel like your energy has been sapped out of you, that nothing could possibly get you all excited? That all you want to do is continue to lay in bed and not get up? In spite of all the self encouragement to “Get up and get rolling”, you still feel like a flat out battery? How do you kick start yourself all over again?

You may have to ask a first fundamental question – are you enjoying what you are doing? It is hard to sustain your interests, when you are doing what you do not enjoy. However, not all is bleak – it could be an issue around HOW you are doing what you are doing, rather than the “what itself”. For instance, if you find it a chore to do your Mathematics examination review, have you been doing too much memorisation of the topic rather than understanding the logic behind the steps and methods of solving the problems? Also, do you understand the application for the methods that you are using? Understanding how something works and the purpose of the material would make learning more enjoyable. Take a curious approach to learning and keep asking why.

Are you feeling down because of a negative situation in your life? Perhaps you did not do so well in a preparatory test, or had an argument with your mom that keeps replaying in your head and cause you to be unable to focus on anything else. Think about what are the things that make you happy – going to a movie with friends, going for a walk in the nature park and let your mind calm and re-focus on other happier thoughts. Happiness will also improve your productivity and rev your energy levels back up!

Have you set your goals? It is essential that you know what you are working towards, to maintain your focus. You should also have check points along the way to make sure you are on track. These guide posts will help you to chug along the way, as each milestone you cross will bring you closer to that end goal you desire!

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Credits image: empoweredbypierce.com

To live (on campus)? Or not to live?

This article is written by moneysmart blog and the copyright belongs to them. To access the full article, click here

Hostel fees for local university students have risen sharply over the last few years.

A non air-conditioned double room (yes, that means there’s another person sleeping in the same room as you) at NTU now costs $245, while a single air-conditioned room costs $395 to $425.

Over at NUS, a single room will set you back between $400 to $540 a month, while a double room is $300 a month.

At SMU, it gets even more expensive at $643 for a single room and $536 for a double room, although that’s understandable given the fact that their hostel is at the very central Prinsep Street.

Now, the drawback of living on campus is obvious—it will cost you more than living with mum and dad, and unless your parents are willing and able to fork out the fee payments, you’ll have to find a way to make ends meet. Still, housing on campus is significantly cheaper than renting a room on the free market.

For those students who are wondering if “staying in hall” is worth all those extra hours of tuition you’ll be giving to pay for it, here are some advantages you’ll enjoy.

 

If your parents live far from campus, living on campus will make your life much easier

For most Singaporeans, travelling to university is going to take a lot more time than travelling to secondary school did, especially if you end up in NTU, which is about as accessible as the Lim Chu Kang cemeteries.

And as you’ll also learn, going to school isn’t a simple matter of turning up for flag raising and then leaving after your teacher dismisses your last class.

In many courses, there are group projects to deal with, or long days spent doing research in the library, and they often entail staying on campus till late at night or showing up on weekends.

If you live 1.5 hours away from school, that’s going to be an obstacle if you’re the sort who wants to excel academically.

It could also get in the way of your participation in campus life. You’re just that much more likely to sign up for CCAs or turn up for university events if you don’t have to make a long commute to get to school.

 

You’ll have a wider social network

Every single one of my friends who has lived at university has said that the biggest advantage is that you instantly make tons of friends. You’re living with these people and see them 24/7, not just in class.

Conversely, I know many people who didn’t live on campus and who didn’t make a single friend at university (this tends to be quite common in courses like NTU Engineering for some reason).

Of course, it’s not set in stone that you won’t make friends if you don’t live on campus. If you’re the outgoing sort and can be bothered to sign up for CCAs and activities, you won’t go through those three or four years alone.

Still, for many living on campus is the easiest and most convenient way to make friends with tons of people from different courses. You’ll be involved in hostel activities and will have people to jio you out for supper, which is the fun part for most.

 

If you have problems at home, this is an affordable way to move out

Despite the increases in hostel rents, staying in one is still a lot cheaper than trying to move out on your own. To put things in perspective, what SMU is charging for a single room is at least half the price of an equivalent in the same location.

Sounds sad, but let’s not pretend that students from disruptive families don’t exist. Maybe you’re not able to get a moment’s peace and quiet at home. Or you have a disturbed parent or sibling.

If staying home is affecting you negatively, moving out to a hostel could be your chance to escape that, at least until university is over. It’s totally possible to cover the costs by taking on a few tuition students, so consider this option if you really have to.

 

It might be cheaper for your family to rent out your room at home and ship you out to a hostel

Ironically, due to the relatively low cost of hostel rentals, your family might actually be able to make a little money by having you stay in a hostel and then renting out your room.

If you get to stay on campus for, say, $500, that would be cheaper than the $700 to $1,000 it would cost to rent out an HDB bedroom, depending on which area your parents’ flat is situated. If your family lives on private property, they might be able to earn even more.

 

SMU students get to live in the heart of town

Students enrolled at SMU enjoy the most convenient location of all the hostels, since they’ll be living on Prinsep Street in the Dhoby Ghaut area.

That can be a big advantage if you’re working part-time or interning in the CBD during the semester, as you get to save tons of time that would otherwise be wasted shuttling to and from home, the CBD and university (think of the poor NTU students in the same position!)

hostel-living

Pic credit: http://www.standrewsjc.moe.edu.sg/about-us/sa-hall-hostel