My Hall life in University: Ups and Downs
When I was entering university, I told my parents, “I will stay in hall for one year only just to get a taste of hall life.” But now, it’s been three years since I started living on campus. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Living on campus is like taking a roller-coaster, with its unpredictable ups and downs.
Before I moved in, my biggest worry was definitely my roommate. Are we going to be from the same high school? Would he have any weird habit, like sleepwalking at 3am in the morning? I was literally praying for a good roommate.
On the day when we met, he looked fine and chill. But a few days later, I realized the problem. He liked to sleep late, because he liked to play computer games. I had no issue with people playing games at night, but the sound of him clicking his mouse and hitting the keyboard was annoying.
“Omg, Should I tell him about it? But can I possibly ask him to stop playing games?”
Then I realize he might also be affected by me in the morning when I woke up early. My alarm went off 30min earlier than his. But he was already half-awake after my alarm rung.
So a solution came into my mind. I told him that I would set the alarm half an hour later in the morning so we could wake up the same time. And he may want to move outside to play his game at night. He gladly agreed. A potential conflict turned into a win-win situation.
And I realized many problems in hall life were caused merely by our differences with other people, not by an intention to hurt others. So the way to solve problems was to realize the differences and reduce them.
Life in hall seemed fun. Everything was new and fresh and there seemed so much to explore. But the fun died down a few weeks later when I started to miss home. I was so actively involved in campus activities and study that I found a trip back home was a challenge. A 3-hour MRT ride was just unproductive. The weekend call with my parents sometimes became the only way for us to get in touch. Who said that Singapore is a small country? When you are separated from your loved ones, even the distance from Yishun and Pioneer becomes a world apart.
Then came the hall application period. I bid for an even better hall, only to be disappointed when I was allocated to an even older hall. No air-conditioner in my room. The toilet looked like it was built in the last century. And of course, no more gym and other more advanced facility. It was like nothing was there!
But I stopped complaining after a while, when I realized I didn’t catch a cold as often as before. In fact, I had never visited the school clinic ever since. My vulnerability to cold wasn’t a problem anymore once I didn’t stay in an air-conditioned room. And though I couldn’t go for gym, I picked up a new habit of playing tennis because there was a tennis court right beside my hall. With the lower rental, I could enjoy a few more outings with my friends every month. Things were getting better again. But the better things were already there while I was complaining about the downsides. Only with hindsight I realize that happiness is not about having the best things possible, but looking at the bright sides of everything we face.
My happiness stayed high until I was disturbed by the hall activities. Unfortunately my room was just near an open space where many hall activities were conducted. Hall people being hall people, they were enthusiastic about everything they did; and they did it until very late into the night. My sleep could not have been worse.
I was a silent victim in my room. One day I really could not stand the problem. I opened the door, went straight to them. Should I scold them or beg them to leave? At that split second, I chose a middle ground. I explained calmly to them the situation and requested them to move to a functional room instead of an open space. Surprisingly, they were receptive to what I said and had never come back again. I wonder why I didn’t have the courage to do that much earlier?
There was a time when the hall officer came into our room and check for illegal residence. In my case, they knocked on my door at 4am in the morning. Yes, 4am. I literally dragged myself out of the bed as if I was facing a police investigation.
It was being rumored they were trying to catch people off-guard. But I felt that was not appropriate and considerate. While my friends were all complaining, I decided to write a letter to the hall office, appealing to them to stop the practice.
No one replied me. I thought they probably deleted my email, thinking who was this guy to teach them how to do things?
One month later, they got back to me. They told me they actually realized the problem of their policy and stopped doing that after a review. I was given credit for giving the feedback. You never know, probably it was my feedback that tip the balance in the favor of students. Things happening in hall life can get personal. I must stand for my opinions, how matter how slim the chances of success.
I have one more year to go before I bid farewell to my hall life. I feel I learnt a lot about how to do many things. It is like taking a roller coaster. After each down and up, I know I achieved something new, even though other people may not even take note of it.