Sunday, June 05, 2005

Die die must read NUS guide for freshies

I have graduated from NUS! And I thought to myself: why not be a nice soul and blog about NUS? Not purely about my personal experience in NUS; more like things I wish I know about NUS when I first joined the big university. There's the shortcuts for school mail, the IVLE, the digital library and many more!

School Mail
You may receive mails from lecturers, tutors, administrative staff and senior students looking to sell their textbooks. These are all available at, not Remember to clear your "Deleted Items" folder regularly as these will not be automatically removed. If you don't, you may miss the love confession from that yandao/chiobu classmate! Explore the "Folders" and "Shortcuts" buttons on the top left corner. This is where you find the disappearing "Log Off" button.

The first time the lecturer mentioned that his notes can be found on the IVLE, I was stumped. What is an IVLE?! I searched high and low for this in the school: perhaps it is a room or the bookshop? After two weeks of treasure hunting (and consequently, a fortnight of handwritten notes), I finally swallowed my pride and asked the freshie beside me about the elusive IVLE.

Ah! IVLE stands for Integrated Virtual Learning Environment. It is an intranet for students, lectures and tutors to communicate with one another. This is the place to go for your notes, the latest updates, your grades and checking if that hottie is in your class roster (You shouldn't need this! You are in NUS to STUDY!).

On the left column is where you can find the very useful links to previous years' examinations questions (for certain modules only) and the link to NUS's digital library.

Digital Library
This is the house for online journals and newspapers. Especially useful for people who love to do last minute work and has no time to go to the library (or that the library is closed to you.). Remember that there are people who will "chop" books as soon as the assignment questions are out so it always pay to decide on the books you need and get them asap. If the book is loaned out, you can use the online LINC to request for it.

Failing that, the digital library is excellent source for academic references that are all the more important if you are from Arts. I think many of my friends did not know about this online haven until they are in their last semester.

You paid for these services; use them!

NUS library is supposed to one of the best in Asia (according to a senior librarian) and it has some pretty interesting places. Central Library is quite happening. There are discussion rooms, tiny cubicles for you to talk on your mobile and refreshment corners to grab sandwiches, have discussions or sleep on the floor (Please also remember that these places have glass walls; if you fall asleep inside, do not be shocked to see people viewing you like you are some kind of exhibit.).

Refreshment area is also the place to take photos with Alicia!

There is also the RBR section where you can loan books. Most of the readings stipulated by the lecturers are from this section, so you must know how to use it. Don't be like me and wait until don't know when then start using RBR. Firstly, check the call number of the book from the online catalogue. Searching by course number may be easier (If you remember it lah!).

Beautiful Central Library at Arts. Flat panel leh!

Then fill in the tiny slip of paper for RBR loans (These should be available near the computers for searching online catalogues). Approach the RBR counter and drop the slip inside the box or give to the librarian. Stand around and wait for the librarian to call your name. Each loan is for 2 hours only. Have your matriculation card ready!

Co-Op is the bookshop name. Although this is the place to get books, you can find tibits, drinks, candies, photo-developing shops, souvenirs and clothes here. Co-Op staff are extremely friendly. There is a counter where you can order books that have sold out or have not arrived.

If you cannot find your text, it's better to ask the staff. During the first few weeks of school, it's war in here. Texts are pretty much thrown all over the place and in all corners of the shop. I once searched for a text for 10 minutes only to later find out from the staff that it is on top of a box and not on the shelves. +_+

CORS - Bidding for Modules
I know many freshies are not yet in the mood to read anything but bidding for modules is serious business and it is very intensive. So do yourself a favor and read and reread the instructions for CORS.

You need to know whether you have fulfilled the pre-requisites for the modules you want to take and whether there are any clauses that prevent you from taking the modules. Also, you have to arrange your timetable so there will not be any clashes. Don't think you can bid for Lecture A that is in the same time slot as Tutorial B and be able to skip the lecture. The all-knowing CORS will call your bluff.

Then you have to anticipate the many people who do last minute bidding. So timing is very important.

Language Courses
If you have always been wanted to chat up a French girl or a Japanese guy, Arts offer some language modules. It is a good idea to plan your timetable so you can take the different levels of the language during your time in NUS in order to become a polyglot.

If you are looking at Student Exchange Programme (Highly recommended! Go if you can afford it!), you may need to fulfil the requirements of taking certain language modules.

Non-NUS Food Near NUS
Sick of canteen food? Fong Seng is where you can get cheese prata. This is the place where it all started and has been featured on TV for its ingenious idea of combining prata with mozzarella cheese.

From Kent Ridge Interchange (Arts), walk towards the red arrows to enjoy prata heaven.

Yandao and Chio Bu Bioing
Is Arts really the place where you can find the prettiest girls of NUS? Why not try some exploration? There are a few places where I think you can see some beautiful people:

Arts Canteen
This is where the Arts babes and hunks usually are. But they are not everywhere. You have to walk to the area where there is a pathway leading to Biz. Historically speaking, it was the place where students enjoy a smoke. Now, the legendary "Smoky Canteen" is a thing of the past as the patrolling have stepped up.

Someone also told me that the Arts people are "prettier" because they do not have labs and have more time to doll up unlike the very busy students of Engineering, Science, Computing, and Designing. Haha... Occasionally, you can also spot the fashion disaster in the canteen with over-the-top outfit for school. I have seen a girl in 4" stilettoes and a prom-like skirt. Drama mama.

Arts canteen (a.k.a The Deck). Go one level down from here to find the pretty people. Friend's face has been flowered because I am too lazy to seek her permission before putting her pic on my blog. At least I chose a flower to match her outfit.

Engineering's MacDonald
Dear ol' Mac draws people from all over the campus, so it's no wonder that this is the place to spot hunks and babes. You will love it here if you have a thing for Caucasians since they frequent the fast food "restaurant" pretty often.

Genki Sushi and Munchie Monkey At Yusof Ishak
On certain days, you need to queue for Genki. Then if you're lucky, you can see the atheletic sort heading for the track or swimming pool. Munchie's (Thanks to Ah Dan for helping me recall the name!) the cafe that operates until 10PM and they have Happy Hour for alcohol. So if you like the sweet-talking-when-drunk kind, you can try the place. The spaghetti arabiatta with crayfish ($6.95) is supposed to be pretty good as well. (According to my informant, Ah Dan.)

Super chio Munchie with wireless surfing. More pics here.

That was the section where you are most excited right? Haha... But here's a concluding warning:


Adrian said...

nice guide dear. heh.

YellowPony said...

This made me laugh because I have gone to three schools so far (a technical school, a university, and now I'm going to a university that used to be a technical school) and they have all had these things in common. IVLE? Yup, Ryerson has "blackboard" and the U of A had "WebCT". I was also so confused when starting school because I had no idea what these were...
Also, the over-dressed girls in arts buildings? Definitely an international phenomenon.

Fantastic guide.

Injenue said...

gawd, all unis are boring =p and they're nearly all the same haha.

The FABtastic One said...

Thanks for the guide, JL LT! Haha going to NUS this year. Wah I'm still quite puzzled by the bidding of modules.

So what if I can't get it huh? Does it mean I can just go home and sleep liao? :( Argh. This is so vexing!

jllt said...

adrian: I very nice hor?

yellowpony: And Arts short timetables are universal as well.

injenue: But our MacDonald nicer that your school's.

fabian: There are a few rounds for you to get the modules. If cannot get by the end of bidding, then you can appeal though first-years are largely unsuccessful in terms of appealing.

The FABtastic One said...

Oh.. shit. Thought I can go home and sleep. Haha.. but I guess Engineering doesn't allow me to do so.

I heard the school allocates modules to us! ARGH. I hate that. Haha.. my life is gonna be so gone once school starts in Aug.

Thanks for the advice and the links, though, JL LT! :D

Hai~Ren said...


I am SO going to link to this blog posts when telling my freshies at Arts Camp and Orientation Week.

You've just helped us out a lot haha...

jllt said...

fabian: You can access CORS from home leh. No need to go school. Engineering usually have fixed timetable for the first year. Maybe will need to slot in some cross-faculty stuff. Heh heh...

hai~ren: Will I be getting paid? Haha... I can add in some more points if you want. (: Just ask them to call me "xue jie" a.k.a senior can le. Muahahahahaha

Heavenly Sword said...

NUS Library is simply great! I would give it an A+!

jllt said...

Yep! But sometimes the amount of books get overwhelming. +_+

The FABtastic One said...

Wah, fixed timetable. Haha.. ok. Then cross fac modules, like...? Business? Singapore Studies? Hmmmm languages?

I'm kinda blur. Haha.. but I do hope things will turn out fine! Thanks again. Haha.. :D

Eva Shek said...

Well done, very interesting blog, good enough for me to know about nus. God bless you