Math and Physics kills.

A thou­sand drums. Rhyth­mic waves of destruc­tion fol­lowed every blow. I buried both my ears in my palms but the rude, hol­low thump­ings were far from inaudi­ble. I fell on my knees — on what felt like dirt. With great effort, I opened my eyes against the chilly gale beat­ing relent­lessly on my face. The land­scape was bar­ren, dark and hinted in every way of an immi­nent sandstorm.

How are you doing?”

The storm van­ished into thin air as Ms. Cyn­thia appeared beside me to check on my progress. A mess of scrib­bled alge­braic func­tions, num­bers and work­ings came into focus as I peered at the stack of foolscap paper on my table. Inter­gra­tion, pfft. The real­ity wasn’t any better.

The air-conditioner above my head on full blast threat­ened to freeze the gears in my head grind­ing to a halt. My head weighed twice as heavy and felt like it could fall thump on the table any time. Then there’s this con­stant throb­bing going on at the tem­ples so bad, that you feel that urge to bang your head repeat­edly against walls.

My san­ity is at stake.

That’s Engi­neer­ing Math­e­mat­ics B for you.

Sunset at Swinburne

I fig­ured a lit­tle break would do.

Semes­ter two feels soou tough. I don’t know, per­haps its because of the rather laid-back three-subject Sum­mer Semes­ter we had before this. Or it could be just that semes­ter two sub­jects are just more chal­leng­ing. Or was it the lec­tures that made the difference?

The lan­guage and IT sub­jects were okay, if not bear­able. At least they don’t pose the dan­ger of get­ting flunked, only that bur­den of semester-long assign­ments they require of you.

But oh boy, the Math and Physics sub­jects are a whole dif­fer­ent story.

Photo courtesy of

Pic­ture by Julie Auriemma.

There are Finite Math lec­tur­ers who’d just mer­ci­lessly cramp three bloody mind-boggling subtopics in an one-hour lec­ture. Leav­ing you gasp­ing for air not even ten min­utes into the class. Then there are Physics B lec­tures which I sim­ply cant keep up.

Lec­tur­ers just love to explain con­cepts in long-winding ways so com­pli­cated nobody ever under­stands. Of course, it is only the ulti­mate goal of an edu­ca­tor to get the point across to his stu­dents in the most com­pre­hen­si­ble way pos­si­ble. But no mat­ter how hard they try, at the end of lec­tures you’d just find it hard not to say, ‘Huh.?’

To cook up a lame anal­ogy, if you’d ask them for direc­tions to the cafe­te­ria next door, they would draw you a world map, point at the Himalayan region with a thud, ask you to scale Everest’s peak and back down, make your way under Paris’ Arc de Tri­om­phe, swim across the Atlantic, get sucked into a fourth dimen­sion off the coast of Bermuda and poof, you’re at the cafe­te­ria next door.

Make no mis­take though, Swinburne’s got great lec­tur­ers. There’s this obvi­ous effort by the Uni­ver­sity to woo in qual­ity lec­tur­ers, com­plete with PhD. certs or Mas­ters in qual­i­fi­ca­tions. And the lec­tur­ers we have are bril­liant, they know their stuff and they cer­tainly have the pas­sion to teach.

Eng Math B lectures

Mind bog­gling Engi­neer­ing Math B lectures.

The Math and Physics sub­jects of semes­ter two has got to be the tough­est stuff yet.

Physics B lecturer

Not-any-better-if-not-worst Physics B lectures.

Notice how both lec­tur­ers share the same hair­styles. They are walk­ing tes­ta­ments of what these sub­jects could do to you. Period.

If it helps, I have a Finite Math test com­ing up tomorow. Shove me a ques­tion and all I have in mind is a Large. Void. Blank.


by shenghan in Life, Rants, Varsity on 25th April, 2008 at 11am, Friday, April 25th, 2008 11:49 am GMT +8


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  1. ow…nice descrip­tive writ­ing :P
    i could almost feel the throb­bing in my head while read­ing ur post…

    every­thing will bcome much more sim­pler as time goes by…it always does! good luck in ur test! isit test 1 already? :)

  2. ember said

    Why thanks. =D Yeah *only* test 1 and feels like hell already. =(

  3. wying said

    man, write like that wor. u can get a band 8 for MUET liao. lol. impres­sive.
    good luck with ur test. xD

  4. Ah Dom said

    I have been thru the exact same trauma as you 10yrs ago. haha… all the best in crack­ing your head to under­stand at the speed that they are going.

  5. Free said

    Good luck with your test tomor­row! Hehe. Good thing I don’t have to go through all that any­more. Pro­gram­ming classes FTW. :3

  6. ember said

    @wying, that’s why i left form 6, I thought if i’d guys no chance to shine. =\

    @Ah Dom, Wish I could say that .. 10 years later. lol.

    @Free, thanks! So I read from your blog. Great to know you on to some­thing you actu­ally like! =D

  7. Hans L. said

    …and EM1, 2, 3, 4… will kill you. Trust me.

  8. ember said


  9. wying said

    this lit­tle boy never stop brag­ging about him­self. sigh. talk­ing about maths, i’m now in vec­tors. kinda dri­ving me crazy. but it’s fun.

  10. ember said

    Bwa­haha! Can’t help it lar. Humil­ity is not in my dic­tio­nary. =D =D

    Vec­tors?! Damn. They must’ve been as bad as manip­u­lat­ing com­plex matri­ces we’re hav­ing in Finite math. T.T

  11. May said

    Wahaha. If humil­ity isn’t in your dic­tio­nary, i could point out a few gram­mat­i­cal mis­takes you made even while reply­ing to other people’s com­ments. =P

    But I’m nice. Lol.

  12. ember said

    Okay, okay it is — page 336. =P

    Well, what’s hold­ing you back? I’m hav­ing this bloody aca­d­e­mic writ­ing sub­ject this semes­ter and realised that my writ­ing. is. dete­ri­o­rat­ing.. thanks to see­ing too much of num­bers and for­mu­lae. =( Hence the lame attempt on descrip­tive writ­ing out of the blue.

    By the way, May, it’s been awhile. =)

    *runs off to cor­rect petty mis­takes before May spots them xD*

  13. May said

    Nah, the descrip­tive writing’s great. It’s bet­ter than my own — lately I’ve been run­ning dry on pretty phrases and sui sui terms.=P I guess it stemmed from the “num­bers and for­mu­lae” over­dose as well.

    Keep up the good job — I’m still a fan of your writ­ing! XD

    p/s The stuff I said about your gram­mar? Don’t worry, was just check­ing if your dic­tio­nary lost a few leaves. Appar­ently it hasn’t. XD

  14. ember said

    OMG I got a fan! =P No really, the honor is mine.. and I still think you’re way bet­ter off in writ­ing. Okay, okay, let’s just stop throw­ing com­pli­ments at each other before we both start walk­ing into poles. =D

    Btw, I’ve been drop­ping by your blog. Just hadn’t shown myself in the com­ments. =P Can’t get enough of the May-ish out­look of life and style of writ­ing. XD

  15. I’m start­ing to be thank­ful for not tak­ing up engi­neer­ing. Your classes look like good places to sleep!

  16. ember said

    You bet they are lol. Engi­neer­ing cer­tainly isn’t the eas­i­est stuff out there. =(

  17. cdason said

    i love that stun­ning pic of swin­burne.. may I have it??

  18. ember said

    No prob­lem! =)

  19. Luminoth said

    Best of luck in your studies!