DON’T PANIC!: A Freshman’s Guide to the Tembusu Galaxy Part 3

This is part of our ongoing series, Don’t Panic!: A Freshman’s Guide to the Tembusu Galaxy.

Hello, Freshmen!

This series aims to give a glimpse into how Tembusu life is, and provide tips and tricks to get through the semester. The series of tips from seniors will run weekly during the first three weeks of this semester. We’ll publish special updates for recess week and reading week as we get closer to them.We started the series looking at houses and the daily life in Tembusu, then looked at how formal dinner worked and how to bid for tutorials.

This week, we look at how to start coping with tutorials, and what lies ahead in Tembusu.

Tutorials: When the real academic load begins

So, tutorial bidding is over and hopefully you got a decent timetable that suits your preferences.

For most faculties, Week 3 is the psychological marker where the real work begins, you have tutorials to complete and you start having to get ready for the midterms, which believe it or not, comes in just over a month. Time really flies.

For faculties with sectionals, the work may have started earlier as well. In that case, the step up won’t be that bad. That also includes all of us taking Junior/Senior Seminars and IEMs. Those would have probably already gone into full swing already.

From my own point of view, the key thing at this stage is to complete your tutorials and be well equipped for class. Cliched as it may sound, in NUS time waits for no-one. Start lagging and you may find yourself in a mad dash towards the end of the semester to catch-up. At least, that’s for Economics and Business, which are my majors.

Tembusu is a diverse community with students from all faculties, and understandably, each faculty has its own tips and tricks. Ask your seniors for help whenever you need them, I’m pretty sure they will be more than willing to help you out!

Also, some of your seniors have kindly taken part in the Notes Redistribution drive, and they have been lovingly sorted out by the GreenT Movement. Till tomorrow, 25 August 2017 evening, you can find these notes at the area beside the Common Lounge and Dining Hall. Please follow the instructions that are pasted on the walls there, don’t grab and run! You can find more info in the Unofficial Tembusu Facebook Group. (If you haven’t joined, ask your house comm to add you in!)

GreenT Movement

Screengrab from the Unofficial Tembusu Facebook Group


The Weeks Ahead: What goes on in Tembusu

So the semester goes into full swing, and most of the Interest Groups have already had their welcome teas. Missed anyone of them? Fret not, because most IGs accept new people whenever they are interested. Do contact the respective IG Heads (you’ll find their names in the Freshmen Orientation Guide) if you need more information.

There are also a couple of flagship events that Tembusu holds somewhere down the line, and you may have already heard them during inaugural dinner on Monday. First, there is the Tembusu Forum, hosted by our Rector, Prof Tommy Koh. The topics for this semester are rather interesting, with the first on whether there will be war on the Korean Peninsula happening in September. There’s also ASEAN at 50 in October.

Tembusu Forum (Cold War 2016 Panorama)

The Tembusu Forum is a flagship event that sees many Tembusians turn up. (The Historical Significance of the Cold War, Tembusu Forum 2016)

In between, there will definitely be loads of Masters and Fellows Teas. You’ll find information on those in the lifts, in the centre panel. Look out for those as well.

The three main student run events in the semester are most likely going to be Food Wars, Halloween and Tembusu House Games. Food Wars is an inter-house event where each house prepares a dish on a budget and time constraint based on an ingredient which is only revealed at the start of the event. There are also mini games, which involve rather hilarious tasks. For instance, last year, one involved searching for a sweet in a tray of flour (below).

Food Wars

Hopefully that’s not how you are feeling about the onslaught of tutorials…

For Halloween, the learn lobe will be transformed to a haunted house, with your fellow Tembusians as scare actors. It’s a University Town wide thing, with other colleges also having their own Halloween activities. For Tembusu, one of the lifts will be decorated Halloween style, so be prepared for it… Don’t worry, it was just decor, there wasn’t actually any spooky sounds or moving apparatus.


The Middle Lift during 2016 Halloween. Understandably, some people opted to wait for another lift to go down for breakfast, especially when they were alone.

And Tembusu House Games really needs no introduction (if you need one, this will do). It’s currently slated for Week 6 (including the weekend), so keep your calendars marked down for the various sports that will be played! It is typically intense, but it’s always a friendly rivalry no matter what. What matters is that everyone has an enjoyable experience.


Tchoukball in Tembusu House Games 2016

A Final word…

This will no doubt trigger people, but there’s still the matter of the fire drill that will likely happen sometime over the semester. You’ll no doubt be sort of experienced given what’s happened this week, but nevertheless, be mentally prepared for it. We had a real fire last semester (when the pantry water dispenser caught fire, they have all since been replaced), so you never know when you may need to evacuate. That said, please take note of the following in event of real fire:

  1. Do note that there are 2 announcements. Level 1 = do not evacuate as investigations are ongoing. Level 2 = please evacuate immediately. Your residential team member will evacuate your floor when level 2 is triggered.
  1. Gather at town green (if no rain) or town plaza (if it’s raining), and gather with your floor. We will need to take attendance per floor.

So that’s that it for now. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks for a guide on what to do during recess week, and managing the stress levels.


Pictures from tStudio archives – courtesy of Jarratt Ong, Gao Yiming and Nicole Marie.

About the Author

One of many Ryans in Treehouse, Ryan Quek is a Year 2 Business and Economics Double Degree (Still Surviving!) Student. He loves photography and food, and likes to delve into socio-political issues, tech and sport. Also has a passion for trivia quizzes.