Expect the unexpected

Creating TikTok content is probably the last thing a non-communications major would expect to do in class, but that is exactly what first-year students Ismath Sultana and Nathanael Seng were challenged to do. “I learned much more than I thought I would,” Ismath shares about her Interdisciplinary Collaborative Core (ICC) Courses she had taken. “I was under the impression that ICC modules were courses I just needed to clear to graduate. But that changed after the first lesson when I saw how engaging the tutorials were!”

No wonder, given the pains tutors and professors take to address real-world subjects in their classes, from critical thinking to career development to health and wellness. But it does way more than simply help students become the best version of themselves. It challenges preconceived notions, and gives them a fresh appreciation of their abilities, as Nathanael found out.

 “I thought I would have dreaded Inquiry and Communication in an Interdisciplinary World because it’s about writing and presenting,” he admits. “GP wasn’t the most enjoyable subject for me, so I thought it would be an extension of GP and something to get through. But the process on the whole was quite interesting. You get to form an argument, brainstorm and come up with something to write about from nothing.”

Getting real for real

Designed to address real-world issues from multiple perspectives, ICC courses aim to go beyond traditional modes and boundaries of learning to hone students’ “hard” and “soft” skills. The best of both worlds, in effect, since many jobs nowadays require this mix of technical knowledge and interpersonal abilities.

Merging theoretical and applied learning, students will pick up practical skills such as entrepreneurship, as well as tackle global challenges like sustainability. The reward? Lessons that no textbook can teach, and a foundation that paves the way for learners to thrive in a world where change is the only constant.


Ismath echoes this. “I was intimidated by the Arts and Business students who have very good writing skills,” she confides. “As a Science student, I thought I would not have much of an upper hand but because the assessments were very flexible and open, I could write about something related to me. It made me realise that it’s not just about trying to score, but to gain the soft skills, such as how to write better, or research better, instead of being fixated on ‘oh my god, I’m not a good writer.’”

This can-do attitude helped her in her other courses. “We were taught how to decipher nutritional labels in Healthy Living,” she explains, sharing how she now tries to apply what she’s learnt in her daily life. “I’m not an expert in it, but I’m now a lot more cautious before I venture out to buy something. Something else I’m also trying to do more of is sleep. As uni students, we do lack sleep, but this can cause your overall health to deteriorate. Learning that woke me up a bit. I decided to take my sleeping habits a bit more seriously and researched more about the REM cycle: how it affects the way I sleep and how to prevent sleep apnea in the future.”

“This is especially useful for young people like us,” Nathanael agrees, “because we’re dealing with a lot of stress.”

Not surprisingly, they’re both looking forward to picking up more life hacks.