English Freshman Survival Guide|| ELH Orientation Camp 2016

This is just a quick plug for the English Literature Orientation Camp for 2016. (and this is a relatively new thing: they just started offering orientation camps for individual faculties within HSS last year).

Yes, so apparently this thing is Sherlock Holmes themed, which sounds a-mazing. I don’t have any details at all about what will occur (I’m -not-  part of the orientation committee, nor am I being asked to put this up, so if you’re planning to find me, wellllll, let it be known that I will not be present), but I think that orientation is a great way to make friends + get to know seniors before school starts proper. Not that I think you will be severely disadvantaged by not going to orientation camp, but its nice to know a few people to have lunch with for the first few weeks of school.

Wanna know more? Look here: https://www.facebook.com/events/615037171984070/

And wanna sign up? Oh look, a form: http://goo.gl/ZVs1ur

NTU Freshman Survival Guide||Buying Books

Everyone thinks the school bookshops will definitely have the book that you need for class.

Well, in my experience, this is totally not true. In fact, I can’t begin to tell you how untrue this untrue assumption is (in one of the most shameful episode in out department’s history coughs). Sometimes, the bookshop won’t have your book, them pirates won’t either, all copies in libraries everywhere is borrowed– and you’re left trying to figure out what happened in a text you never read.

Seems like an exaggeration, but that might actually happen if you’re not careful. As such, I kinda compiled a list of common websites I (and my yearmates used) for you to get your books for the semester.

[Note: all websites listed are legal. Memoirs of a Literature Student does not condone illegal downloading of books and to that end, will not list websites where downloads are illegal]

Books in the Public Domain/that can be borrowed

1. Project Gutenberg

Where do I start with this? Project Gutenberg has been amazing to me, really. Especially on those days where I forget to bring a book to class, and I can just google to find it. Love. Love. Love.

2. Open Library

I’ve only used the Open Library a couple of times, but they have a pretty good collection! And even though you don’t get to keep the e-books, I think that it is better than nothing.

3. Poetry Foundation

And you know, if you’re into the poetry side of things, you definitely have to know the Poetry Foundation. I am always shocked at the sheer amount of poems that can be found on this site.

4. National Library

You may be excused for forgetting about the public libraries. That said, the public libraries are useful resources for those seeking difficult-to-find books or books which have already been borrowed from the school libraries *coughs*

Books that have to be Purchased

1. The Book Depository

Every English major should know The Book Depository. And if you don’t, well, now you do. They offer free shipping on all their books, and their texts can be significantly cheaper. The downside? It takes a month to ship– so this site is when you do order early.

2. Amazon

I must say, I love Amazon. ‘Nough said. With immediate delivery for ebooks (thanks Amazon for Feminism!) and reasonable prices for said Ebooks, I think Amazon is a good resource when you want something in a hurry.

3. Carousell

If you don’t need your books to be first-hand, there’s (most likely) someone selling it on Carousell, and you might even save a little money buying books second-hand as opposed to first-hand.

4. Your Seniors/The English Literature Book Garage Sale/Facebook

Seriously, just ask a senior who has taken the course if they’re willing to sell you the books.They might even cut the prices if they know you well or lend you books for the semester. And yes, we do have a Facebook group to sell on used books.


Giving thanks for the improbable

I just want to announce that after 4 years as a Literature student, I have finally graduated! While I don’t want to publicize my class of honours here, I did fairly well (figure that out yourselves, detectives!)

It is almost stunning (dizzying) to think that 4-5 years ago, I had not been admitted into English, was preparing to go into a course that I was not passionate about and was basically miserable all round.

It is dizzying to even think that I really was not very good during my first year (reasonable, expected even, given that I had taken like zilch Literature classes before then).

People would have told you that it is “impossible” to raise your cGPA by much after the first year. I disagree. I’ve proved to myself that I can do it.

Of course, it did not come easy (if you look back at my posts, you might be able to tell that I was often frustrated with myself and sometimes even at the work). However, I also had a lot of help from those around me. And all these people– every single one– helped me when I needed it the most while I was looking for academic excellence.

And everything came together in the best way. What were the chances?

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to each and every one of you amazing people (you know who you are) who helped me and made everything fun.

This is just the beginning, but it has had an improbable start. I bet it’ll just get better and the years and degrees roll on 😉


Firstly, I’m glad that everyone finds my advice useful. 🙂

Secondly, this post is titled #buried because my internet access will be limited for this week to the next. AKA I’ll try my best to answer ASAP, but sometimes it may not happen and I don’t want people to feel jumpy if I’m not replying at my normal pace.

2016’s FAQs on Literature || University Admissions 2016

Every year, I do a FAQ for people looking into taking Literature compiled from questions that I have received in the previous year. This year, some of my friends were super-nice and entertained my list of questions that I have gathered through the year (which I will answer as well!). And yes, I’ve actually referred some of them for previous posts, but this is the first time that I’ve actually posted their responses wholesale without adding my own opinions.

J is someone who I have known to be an excellent student. Or more excellent than I am, in most metrics at least. J’s academic interest is in medieval literature and gender relations (if my knowledge is anything to go by). But of course, she also has time for those spiffy Gundam references.

A and yours truly often chat (and rant) about Japanese pop culture and Literature. Academically, A is interested in the long 18th Century, Irish Literature, Ecocriticism, Japanese and Chinese Literature. But, most of the time, we end up ranting about how critics use almost un-understandable academic writing anyway.

S is someone who I know to be interested in feminism and 18th century literature. Right now I’m pretty sure she does NOT want me to talk about fashion.

And lastly me, Michelle/M in the Q&A. (I’ve never really spoken about myself, right?) I am interested in the Gothic, 18th century, Ecocriticism, Medieval Literature, Japanese pop culture and Chinese Literature. Yep. I am the one annoying person that will always recommend more Vocaloid songs. Pity Poor A who has to deal with me ^^;.

Also this FAQ is SUPER long, so I’m saving it under a read more tag.

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Getting an Internship as an English Major?!

This post was inspired by a few things:

1) Apparently, I heard that the career counselors at a certain school laughed when they heard that my peers wanted to give them a resume to look at. Nope, not cool at all bro. 😐

2) I’ve also heard that the juniors have had problems securing internships.

So I thought that I might as well share my internship search experience and what I would’ve done differently if I had to do it again.

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We are not teachers-to-be || Musings

Most of the Literature students I know will tell you that they “don’t want to be a teacher” when they graduate. This is probably a reflexive response to the automatic assumption that all English Literature graduates wish to become teachers, but I completely cringe inside even as I have to correct the assumption that I will be a teacher.

Yes, I find the assumption that all Literature is good for is teaching frankly ridiculous. Likewise, a degree in English Literature does not a teacher make.

Nowadays, when people ask me if I want to be a teacher, my automatic response is to point out that they’re communicating in English and tell them that I can be whatever I want since I can manipulate their language and thus what they think. Normally that tends to shut people up pretty quickly.

When my brother points out my FYP was easy *hintmyFYPwasthestuffofnightmareshint*, I point out that I had seven texts and probably read each of them a hundred times, so how would he like to read some materials seven hundred times. Normally that shuts him up very quickly too. (If my brother is reading this, please also note that I had strong moral support, but moral support does not write an essay either. Science projects were comparatively easier precisely because you had experiments.).

But this isn’t just a rant about how I have to justify the “usefulness” of my degree. This is mainly a rant about how people think studying something automatically qualifies one to be a teacher.

No, an English degree does not qualify me as a teacher. Being able to write pretty decent essays that do not make people want to faint also does not qualify me as a teacher. Being able to write essays about video games and society is (subjectively) cool, but it does not make me a teacher. I’m pretty sure I’m not a teacher even though I teach. In fact, I pretty much view myself a failure a work in progress as far as teaching is concerned because I feel like I failed to inspire the wonder and the magic that my teachers did in their students. Sure, I probably did manage to avoid the biggest traumas (eg. telling someone they can’t do something) but in the same turn, sometimes I feel like the work I do is utterly forgettable, that people won’t remember it after they leave school, which is such a pity. There is a certain skill to it, and a very specific form of knowledge that all teachers must acquire. Much as I wish my English degree helped with that, I have to admit that I do not have the least idea of how to impart these ideas.

(This might just be the most roundabout way of thanking the great teachers that I’ve had the pleasure of coming across for putting up with this bullheaded idea that anyone with a degree can do their job.)