Using the Social Media?

I'm sure a large portion of internet users use a Facebook, Twitter or Skype. These are what we call social media. Mostly anyone can give a list or even an essay of the great advantages of using the social media (especially facebook). So, here, I am going to highlight the drawbacks of using them. Not that I fully disagree on its use. Just to give a heads up and something to ponder.

Here's an article about a research done regarding social media usage:

December 13, 2010

A recent study says that a five-day blackout of social media at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology helped reduce student stress levels and allowed them to focus on their studies more.

The campus blackout, which was widely reported in September, blocked access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The survey found that as a result of the exercise, one-quarter of students said they could concentrate in classes better, and 23 percent said they found lectures more interesting. One-third of students said they were less stressed, and several professors said their students understood concepts better through conversation with faculty than after trying to grasp it using social media.

"The results suggest that a healthier, more productive lifestyle was practiced by a significant portion of the students during the blackout," said the study, which was quoted by Reuters.

Moreover, six percent of students said that during the week without social media, they ate better and exercised more. About one-fifth said that they used the time usually spent on Facebook to do homework, while 10 percent used that time to read online news. And forty-four percent of students and 76 percent of professors said that they learned something from the blackout, such as the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook and the importance of face-to-face conversation.

One student, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education, told the university's provost, Eric Darr, "that he had to actually talk to his professor during the blackout."

Many students who at first resented the blackout later changed their minds. On the first day of the exercise, 5 percent strongly disapproved of it, 32 percent disapproved, 40 percent were neutral, and only 23 percent of students approved. But a week later, the students' feelings changed: Sixteen percent still disapproved, 42 percent were neutral, and 42 percent approved.

"Even though people initially were angry...even the most cranky student had to admit some good came out of it," Darr told the Associated Press.
This article was taken from the website, My heartfelt gratitude to them!

Here are links to more coverage about the news:

And here's another research done about the relationship between the usage of Facebook and exam results:

So, be careful of getting addicted to facebook and the like or spending too much time on it. It might affect your study and your life. Live life to the max~

SPM is Over...What Now?

For most of the Form 5 Malaysian students of 2010, SPM (Malaysian Education Certificate) is OVER! I still remember that feeling. It's like a long-fought war that finally's just that the results of the war will be out a bit later..anyway~

After SPM, there will be about 4-6 months of holiday for the average student, excluding those going for fast-track courses and going to private colleges. So, there is so much time to spend! Now, here, I'll be giving some suggestions on what to do during the holidays, who knows if you'd like to try one of 'em.

Wait..why should you consider your activities during this holiday again?'s like this. One day, you might have an interview, a JPA or MARA interview or UiTM interview for instance. They might ask you, what did you do during the holidays? Or, you can always use any experience you gain during the holidays for application purposes in the future. Nonetheless, you should always be sincere in doing things and not just because of applications, interviews and stuff only. Now, here's the list.

1. Get a job

This is quite a typical option. Many students will want to work to get more spending money. Though that can also be a good thing as you learn to be independent, it's much better if you find a job for the experience. Say you'd like to be a doctor, you can try get a job in a hospital or clinic, even a receptionist will do. That way, you'll get the valuable insight experience and that might even influence your final decision of your future career. Besides that, you can also do something that's part of your expertise like tutoring or teaching. If you're super good in Mathematics, why not make a private or group tuition for the primary and secondary students? Some of them can really use your help. You can also just ask your school teacher, primary or secondary school, if they need any extra tutors or support teachers. Not only you get some experience and allowance there, you also help the students and teachers as well. If you're so free and able, why not give it a try?

2. Volunteer

This is actually quite similar to getting a job but you usually don't get any salary. There are tons of activities out there that require volunteers. If you want to meet new people, help others, and gain valuable experience, this is the thing for you. Just be careful that you don't go finding the wrong group or activity. Check out the validity of any activity and tell your parents just to be safe. Safety is very crucial here because you wouldn't want to go to college or university in pieces do you? As they always say in the adverts, "Remember your loved ones!" A good and easy place to volunteer is in uniformed bodies like the Scouts or the Red Crescent and the like. You can also opt for the religious bodies, they're always nice and willing to accept volunteers.

3. Attend a seminar, workshop or short course.

Even though your school days are over (hopefully), it doesn't mean you should stop learning. You can go to talks regarding career or your field of interest e.g information technology or business.  If you think you want a more formal and prolonged education, you can take the short courses (which are some quite expensive) that may include language courses, computer courses, cooking maybe? Because it might be pricey and a bit time-consuming, be sure to check for the quality and the validity of the courses. You can check the newspapers like The Star and New Straits Times for seminars and workshops. For short courses, universities and colleges usually offer them so check them out too.

4. Hang out with friends

Yeah, I know..I don't even have to say this one. I just want to point out that it's great to cherish the friendship you have with your schoolmates. Maybe after this, you might not have enough time to go out with most of them anymore. So, go and spend some time with them. WARNING: Money loss due to overspending may occur.haha.

5. Spend quality time with family

You might have been busy studying before and now is the time to cover up for those lost times together. Ask your parents for a vacation or simply just go out for dinner, shopping or fairs. There's a possibility that after you enter university, you might not have as much time anymore for family especially if you're planning to study abroad. In addition, your parents might be able to offer great advice and insights about careers and the working world and even their university life (though it might differ greatly from now).

6. Fill in the UPU form and find scholarships

UPU, Malaysia's unit for public unversities' enrolment is already open and waiting for you to fill it out. Make sure you start early because there are some details which are hard to find and might require your teachers' help. Don't wait until the very last minute. For scholarships, MARA and JPA scholarships, and most others are usually open after the results' announcement. But there are some wide open right now, some not so famous but just as prestigious, from companies and private universities. Find them and check them out. You can google them or simply ask teachers, friends and relatives.

7. Relax and enjoy the moment

I've got to tell you that after this when you start studying again, you might not encounter a holiday like this. So, you might make a decision to spend more time home or somewhere else, enjoying the moment of holidays, play games, chat with friends, read novels and many more. It's like a time to calm down and have fun. Don't worry about the results, just pray for the best. Though I must warn you that during the long holiday, a great deal of knowledge you have will disappear. This can be a great loss because those can be of great use in the future. Besides that, too much sleep will also make you weaker and lethargic. On the other hand, the long holiday might be just the thing to re-energize you for university.

All in all,
Planning is good but plans are bad (a quote from my dad). I still actually wonder what that really means.. Howsoever, choose wisely what and how you want to spend your holidays. The above are just suggestions. You can make your own too. Creativity knows no boundaries. Just make sure you don't waste this great time of opportunity. Before you know it, your holiday will be over already. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ^^

Examination Anxiety

It's been a while. I've been caught up with examinations and that's the topic this time. It's a very big part of our education system no matter where we go. Malaysia? United States? United Kingdom? Australia? Indonesia? I've not yet heard of centers for education which do not have at all examinations, tests, or the like. Every time people have to face it, most of them feel anxious. You too? If yes, congratulations! You've proven yourself to be a normal human being. It's very normal so don't sweat yourself for being that way. But now, here's the challenge we're facing..what if we're TOO anxious?

A few weeks ago, during the start of the Malaysian Education Certificate (SPM), a boy died before the examination. Yes, he DIED. This is no joke at all. But I'm not mentioning his name here in favor of respect. You can always google it though. In the case of the boy's unfortunate incident, he was already actually facing medical challenges himself. He died after (or during) the briefing before the first SPM paper. It was a shock to me and my friends as well. And subsequently, there were some other news where a number of students collapsed before the exam. Yes, it's partly true, SPM is one of the highest determinants for a Malaysian student to pursue his or her dreams or just continue studies. But it's no reason to get too scared about it.

In the book, "How To Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie, it is said that when people get too anxious and worried about something, they become very vulnerable to numerous problems including nervous breakdowns, ulcers and even death (though might not be stated directly). Have you ever heard people coining "worrying to death"? It can be literal. I always take it this way, if you were to fail your exam, are you actually going to die? Does it mean the end of the world? Does it actually forbid you to live a normal happy life? There are people who don't even have formal qualifications from the higher education but have become millionaires and even billionaires. You do have to remember though that they also had their share of hard work and hardship beforehand. It's never easy to succeed in a larger scale. The point I'm trying to make here is that even if (in any case) that you don't really make it that far in exams, life still goes on and you'll always have a chance to improve or take a new initiative. Yes you do!

Aha! Again as before, I'm going to tell you that this is no reason to throw that maths book away and just fail your exam. Rather, if you actually study from the start, study with passion and enthusiasm, you can actually be more confident and less worried or anxious before the exams. It not only saves your scores, it saves your life! Scouts Malaysia tells us to "be prepared" and "do our very best". So, let's be prepared and just do what we can. Whatever happens, there's always another way. Good luck in those exams!