At time of writing, it's Recess Week of Y2S1. I count the weeks off like a prisoner scratching lines into the wall of her cell. I should be preparing for my Property midterm, but I see things in the longterm (haha), so I am thinking of what non-law mods I will take in Y3.
Just 46 weeks until I get to participate in ModReg, the institution that my friends from other faculties have been agonizing over for the past three years. Oh, how I yearn to say the following phrases, and oh, how I practice them in the mirror so that when the time comes, I will be ready to say:
- "Oh no, I missed Round 0!"
- "Why are all of my tutorials at 7am?"
- "Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of school and he's doing fine right...? Haha... Ha..."
For the uninitiated, Law students take core mods in their first two years, and can only begin to bid for modules they're interested in from Year Three onwards. They can be related to law, or they can not be. In the interest of their own sanity, many people opt to take at least one non-law related module, sometimes affectionately called Kent Ridge Mods for the reprieve they offer from the adorably compact Bukit Timah Campus.
I scoured NUSMods and interviewed some of my senior friends for this article, to get a sense of what mods would be good to take in Y3. Additionally, I got the opinions of friends from other faculties for opinions on some of the Kent Ridge Mods mentioned, and on ModReg in general – because maybe I'm suffering from grass-is-greener syndrome.
After all, for two years now, I've enjoyed having my modules and tutorials allocated to me, both a blessing and a curse – I can't get more desirable timeslots for my tutorials, but I don't have to think about registering for modules at all. Of course, the purpose of having core mods allocated to me is to instill basic principles of law into me before I'm allowed to ruin anyone's life with legal advice when I go out to practice. Plus, taking the exact same modules at the exact time as my batchmates gives a sense of camaraderie, like when someone says that their brain has shrunken into a little walnut because of Company and someone else agrees.
The first person I spoke with was YH, who mentioned: "There's this very 'meme' mod called 'Chinese Medicine: Theory and Practice' (GEC1044/GEH1070). At the end of the mod, they ask you to write an essay, and you get to write anything you'd like about your qi or your yang or yin."
Here's a description of it from NUSMods:
"The second half allows students to study the theoretical foundation and practical aspects of Chinese medicine, which is opened to influence from western medicine and impact from modernity. Students will examine the globalisation of Chinese medicine, focusing on transregional connections and cultural negotiations with the world."
Not sure what you made of that, but 'practical aspects' sounds like they're going to let me do that really horrifying-looking heat cupping on someone. I'm kidding, of course, but if they're willing to give me some creative liberties – I have a few people in mind I wouldn't mind cupping. (Yes, I'm Chinese, yes, my family members do cupping, no, I'm never doing it just because of how it looks, sorry.)
Many of the Chinese-related modules are conducted in Chinese, obviously, and as a self-described banana, I'm a little intimidated. But some other mods clarify that they're conducted in English – CH3294, Science and Medicine in China (in English), states in the name of the mod that it's conducted in English. Bananas, you can cautiously approach now.
All in all, Chinese Medicine seems like a pretty interesting mod for those who'd like to expand their knowledge of medication beyond paracetamol.
Interlude – Auditing Mods
A little-known fact (or perhaps it's simply a little-exercised option amongst law students) is that you can audit mods – that is, just sit in on the lectures or seminars, with no need to do any homework or to do the exam. You just… sit there.
All you have to do is to get into contact with the professor teaching the class and ask for permission. Most professors will range from neutral to exhilarated that you want to sit in on their class.
You can look at the perks of auditing a mod in one of two ways: Either you're making the most of your university fees by taking as many classes as possible, or you're learning as much as possible for the love of education. Whichever you prefer, auditing a mod seems to be good fun. A friend of the author's fully audited a mod, but that story will be left for them to tell.
In my first run of Y2 (sorry folks, you're going to have to remember that I took an LOA for the rest of my tenure here), I audited CL2103 – Chinese Grammar. I sat in on a few lectures, before realizing that my banana brain could not handle the intricacies of Chinese grammar, especially because I failed to realize it was being taught in Chinese. I'll conquer this mod one day. But not as a graded mod. Definitely not as a graded mod, lest I assist in boosting the lowest end of the bell curve.
More Language Mods
Language mods are immensely popular among the NUS populace in general, let alone law students. If I had to hazard a guess why, it's a form of escapism. Why harbour horrible English thoughts when you could be speaking Français? I managed to back this up with l'évidence – when asked which of her non-law mods she enjoyed, N shared: "Definitely language mods – I love my Spanish class (LAS1201 Spanish 1) and my prof."
Indeed, language mods and their profs are known for being particularly nice and patient – they're excited that you're presumably interested in their language and culture. However, it's an open secret that students will sometimes feign incompetence re: the language in question in order to be sorted into a lower-level class.
The author is personally unsure about other language mods, but knows that this is particularly prevalent among East Asian language mods like Korean and Japanese. Many a weeaboo has been caught knowing a little too much in Japanese 1. My friends from other faculties who've taken language mods have this advice for you (though I was going to give this advice anyway): Do not pretend to be bad at the language.
Not only will the professors sniff it out (they do this every year; you're not coming up with a new tactic to slide under their noses), but the consequences are severe, and like… c'mon. Just be a decent person.
Another mod N recommended was Design Thinking (DTK1234). My CHS (College of Humanities and Sciences) shuddered when they heard DTK1234. I've seen the practical work required for DTK1234, so I'm not sure if I can recommend this. I remember being in Y1, hanging out in my friend's dorm as she was working on her 'prototype' for DTK1234. But I'm just really bad at anything to do with my hands, so if you're good with your hands, you might want to look into DTK1234.
Finally, N said: "I’m taking the Art of Imaginative Sketching (ID2117) right now – it's just weekly drawing assignments and it's amazing."
Apparently, this mod teaches 'left hand sketch'. I don't know if it means you'll be taught to draw your left hand, or draw with your left hand. A cursory Google search suggests it's the former, which disappoints me greatly.
More Things The Author Thought Would Be Cool
GET1020 – Darwin and Evolution: This mod is one of the most popular mods in NUS, hands down, both because the professor is a cool dude, and because it's apparently got a ludicrously light workload. Plus, apparently you get to watch movies in class.
GESS1037 – Gender and Sexuality: A Singaporean History: This mod sounds interesting. I don't have any more comments.
CS1010: Haha. Just kidding. I'd rather run into a wall.
I'm going back to studying for my midterm now, but writing this article gave me some hope that I'll make it to Year Three. Please, God, let me make it to Year Three.