March 19, 2013, by khyx2lyn

Differences as a Reminder

Putting on winter socks, shoes, scarf, and winter coat, then taking about a half-hour walk to the opposite end of the campus, taking off scarf and winter coat after getting a seat in class, sitting in a lecture with about 200 other students, then putting on scarf and winter coat again at the end of the lecture, preparing to brace the cold of the outside. Back in Malaysia, going to class typically requires only slipping into t-shirt, pants, and a pair of flip-flops (none of which need to be taken off or put on again), and a ten-minute walk to campus, after which we sit in a class which size is about five times smaller than what we have here in Nottingham. And that very briefly sums up the difference between studying in the land of oil palms and in the land where Robin Hood and his merry men once lived.

Then again, there are subtle differences which I never really gave thought to, but which existence I somehow become aware of whenever I step into the psychology building, or when I go to classes.

1.        The absence of the sound of lecturers’ footsteps, as well as the sound of office doors opening and closing, outside the cognitive science lab

Just like in Semenyih, the computer rooms in the psychology building are constantly buzzing with the sound of psychology students at work. However, because staff and students here get an entire building to themselves, lecturers have the quietness of working in their offices away from where the students are, and students have a whole floor of computer rooms to work in. While that is convenient, students here may not have a privilege that we have in the Malaysia campus –learning to recognise lecturers just by the sound of their footsteps and by the distance from where the door-opening-and-closing sounds come from. It is almost like having superior auditory ability, when anyone can actually achieve this super power after spending long enough a time in the cognitive science lab.

2.       Tight spaces between one another when sitting in class

Here in the UK campus, there are about 200 second-years. In comparison, totalling the first-, second-, and third-years in the Malaysia campus would only give about 100 students. That is to say, placing the whole school of psychology from the Malaysia campus in a classroom would still give one person a lot more arm and leg room than when having just the second-years from the UK campus in the same classroom. Then again, with the heat and humidity of Malaysia, the space would be essential for comfort. The tight space here sometimes is beneficial especially when the weather gets really chilly.

3.       Unfamiliar faces in classes and in the psychology building

Being a much larger school, there are bound to be people that we do not know and may never get to know, even when we are all in the same class and spend time in the same building almost every day. As our school in Malaysia grows, this would probably happen too. While we have the pleasure of stopping for a chat with, or saying hi, to basically anyone who often walks in and out of the labs and offices in the psychology “wing” (as I like to call it), it is probably a good idea to appreciate that privilege while we can.

Similarities are often what remind us of other places or people. Ironically, these differences are exactly that which remind me of our school in Malaysia. These, and the television screen in the lobby that regularly shows descriptions of our lecturing staff in the Malaysia campus. I must admit that I feel a tinge of pride every time I happen to see these slides.

Photo Credit: Lai Weijean

Photo Credit: Lai Weijean

Lai Weijean
(Year 2 Student in BSc (Hons.) Psychology, UNMC)

Posted in blogdegreemobility studentpsychobabblepsychologystudent lifeundergraduateunmcunuk