University hall: to stay or not to stay?
“University life is not complete without staying in a hall.” You may hear people saying that, especially when you just enter a university as a freshman. They promise you great friendship, great fun and a good reason not to sleep so early at night. The facilities are also awesome, with air-conditioners, TV rooms, pantries and more. It sounds attractive, doesn’t it? But moving into a hall may not be a small decision to make. You may want to pause for a while and think about some factors of considerations for you to make an informed decision. Let us take a look what they are.
Friends and sunshine
Living in a university hall is definitely once-in-a-lifetime experience. It may be your first time to live in a communal environment where learning and living happen in the same place. By staying in hall, you will know people beyond your classroom. In fact, due to the lecture system in university, it becomes much harder to make lasting friendship in a class of more than one hundred students. Hall compensates the loss of opportunity for you. The friends you make through various hall activities, ranging from competitive sports to relaxing BBQ by the sea, will come from all kinds of background and faculties. You will definitely have fun and the bonding you have developed may go a long way in making your university life a fulfilling one.
The island nation is actually not so small!
Moreover, halls are located around the university campus. They are great choices for you especially if you want to save travelling time. Though Singapore is a city-state, travelling from say Pasir Ris to any of the universities five days a week would still be a challenge. Why not choose to stay at a place within walking distance to your classroom? You will have one to two more extra hours every day to do whatever you want: study, school activity or just hang out with friends. When it comes to exam period, the benefit of staying in a hall is invaluable as you don’t have to read lecture notes on the train or worry about running late for exams.
Have you earned enough points?
Are you tempted to move into a hall? Wait. Let us then see what the potential downsides of staying in a hall are. As you may know, competition for a place in hall is very strong as the supply is always smaller than the demand. Most universities adopt a hall-point system where students are given a certain point for their CCA achievements and the hall allocation is based on how much point you have. Moreover, the CCA points are awarded according to certain criteria set by the university, such as the tire of the club you are in and the leadership position you are holding. However, it is not always the case that the activity a student likes the best is the activity that gives him/her enough points to stay in a hall. The mismatch between passion and practicality forces some to make a tradeoff or to join an additional activity for the sake of earning points. If you want to stay in a hall, you may want to be prepared for that potential tradeoff.
A life of independence
Moreover, by staying in a hall, you may spend less time with your family. For some students, they may take longer time to adjust to an independent life. Everything has to be done by oneself, ranging from trivial things such as washing clothes to more important ones such as seeing a doctor. Though they are not critical matters, the ability to completely manage one’s life still requires certain degree of maturity. It is not uncommon to see students who oversleep and end up being late for important appointments because they don’t have their parents to wake them up. Moreover, some students’ rooms are never to be shown to their parents: they are in a dire need of a cleanup! So living in a hall is not as easy as you may think. True independence is easier said than practiced.
Finally, money matters
Perhaps it is something you want to discuss with your parents. Staying at home is free, but staying on campus entails extra payment from your parents every month. The monthly hall fee ranges from S$200 to S$400 ranging from the type of room you are renting and the university you are going. But when considering financial matters, don’t forget to have a holistic assessment. Staying on campus also reduces your family’s payment for utilities and more importantly, your expenditure on transportation. Take all factors into account and make an informed financial decision.
At the end of the much analysis, we still believe that living in a hall is overall a meaningful experience. Perhaps everyone should try to live on campus for at least one year, unless there are compelling reasons for you not to do so. Living in a residential hall gives you the communal life that is important to your growth in your university years. It is a home away from home.
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