The Plague of Midterms!

This past week, it was Midterm Week at UST and everything was pretty crazy around campus. With everyone scrambling to do last minute studying and presentation wrap up, the campus was very active, especially the library and student center. Out of the four classes that I am taking I only had two major exams to study for and one project proposal presentation to prepare for. The atmosphere here was very stressful at some points because people weren’t as social as they were and they completely shut out some activities to study for their exams. UST is nicknamed the University of Stress and Tension because every class that you take here is very involved from the homework assignments to the exams.

For my Probability exam, my professor had a review session for us and gave us words of encouragement to make sure we didn’t freak out over the exam. He kept telling us that the exam is meant for us to learn from it and not for him to fail certain students. I liked how he reassured us a lot during the weeks following the exam and the week of the exam to make sure that we all did good. Every night we got an email from him about what we can do to further our studying for the upcoming day. The exam went by smoothly and he told us that for the final we have to work even harder because it would be more conceptual. My Modern China History class had an exam instead of a paper to measure how we could argue the historical points that we read and learned about in class and at home. The reading was very involved and took a long time to complete since every chapter was more than 40 pages, of some interesting facts and very unnecessary points. The tutorials that we had were really helpful with the exam because it helped me argue the points better from and American perspective.

HKUST handles their midterm examines differently than most American Universities with midterm exams very late at night during the weekday and on Saturdays and Sundays instead of in lectures. A lot of my friends had exams early Saturday or Sunday mornings, which caused us to cancel our plans to go out and explore Hong Kong more. Some of them had exams from 8-10pm during the week. I thought that was really weird, since I felt that instead of cancelling lecture during the week and having the exam outside of the lecture period to have it during inconvenient times and days. I was relieved that none of my exams were during those times slots because my professors said they didn’t want to stay on campus late or administer an exam on the weekend.

HKUST is very different than Drexel and I am still getting used to the teaching styles here and the classroom atmosphere. The way that professors teach here is very different and at times, to be honest, it feels like I am disengaged from my class because the lecture style is different than Drexel, where the professors just lecture instead of having an active lecture where students participate in the learning experience. It is something that I don’t think I will get used to since I only have one month left here, but I am happy I got to experience the way of learning here in Hong Kong. During this last month, it will be packed with my project for Embedded Systems and preparing for finals during the second week of December, but it will go by quickly. I know will continue to learn a lot of new things in my classes and can’t wait to see the outcome. But enough about school, let’s get back to the adventures!

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures, my head was in the books!