Monday, February 20, 2017

Year 1 Sem 1 (Sheares Hall)

Sheares Hall
Funny story how I got to stay in Sheares. I was feeling really bummed about not being able to study overseas because I didn’t get a scholarship when Hansol told me she was going to stay in Hall and suggested I do the same, because what I really wanted was a bit of freedom/the “Uni experience”. I never knew there was such a thing as staying in Hall in NUS HAHAH I thought it was just for foreign students with no other accommodation in Singapore. I did a bit of research and was actually really contemplating Prince George’s Park Residences (PGPR) because they had air-conditioned rooms! In the end, I applied for Sheares because 1) PGPR was too expensive ($3k compared to $2k in other Halls); 2) Hansol was going to Sheares; and 3) I wanted to stay in a “lively” hall but not as socially-demanding/materialistic/upz/rabak as Kent Ridge Hall (disclaimer: that impression was based SOLELY on hearsay). So I sent in my application for Sheares literally at the deadline and didn’t think much about it thereafter.

I didn’t really expect to get in, because I didn’t attend the Sheares Exposure camp (SECC) where apparently every camper would automatically get a place in Sheares, unless the seniors particularly don’t like you or think you’re a good fit for the Hall. I also didn’t know anyone who was in Sheares so I couldn’t exactly count on a good recommendation/pull strings either. But all that didn’t bother me too much because then, staying in Hall was just something that would be “nice to experience” rather than a be-all-end-all kind of situation for me. Not surprisingly, I was rejected on the first application. But I sent in an appeal any way and got in in the appeal rounds!

Now, the decision to make was whether to accept the offer or not. I remember discussing with WFKW and Bo Geng (because I learnt he was going to stay in Sheares as well!) and that really helped ground my conviction that I really wanted to stay in Hall. It was just a matter of being able to persuade my parents to fork out $2k for me to stay in a Hall where I would be 30 min away from school (BTC) as compared to being 15 min away at home. There were a few discussions and I even came out with a proposal-ish thing but IN THE END, they let me stay for an agreed “1 semester”.

The heading is quite misleading because in the end, I didn’t go for SWOC (Sheares Welcome Orientation Camp). It was a 9-day camp that cost $120 and it was right in the middle of Rag practices. The thought of having to ask Serene to be excused from pracs (I was super scared of her then HAHAH) and travelling back and forth from BTC to KR Campus and having to pay $120 was extremely unappealing. Remember that then, I was still taking driving lessons and paying for them with my own measly tuition money so I really didn’t have ca$h to spare. So I didn’t go for SWOC and had no FOMO at all. Obviously then I hadn’t learnt from my (non-)experience at Law Camp….

Before SWOC started, there was a kind of induction programme thingamajig?!?! Can’t remember what it’s called but its acronym is SHY. I didn’t go for that because it clashed with Rag, but I joined my block for the outing to IKEA after! (Starting to sound really similar to my experience in Law School right…that pre-Matric Week dinner with part of the OG LOL.) Anyway, I didn’t join them for dinner before so bumping in at IKEA was a tad bit awkward as well. You can probably tell by now that I have SEVERE SOCIAL ANXIETY. But I shamelessly (as usual) put myself out there and introduced myself to different groups of girls in the block and tried to make friends. It was a bit difficult remembering everyone’s names but one name stood out: WISIA. I kept pronouncing her name wee-sy-uh and she seemed visibly annoyed HAHA. I asked Wis about this some time later and she said it was very weird cos no one ever called her wee-sy-uh. She also told me her first impression of me was “Who’s this girl she keeps trying damn hard” HAHAHA which is true la, but also necessary I felt. I actually think that was how I ended up much closer to the Level 4 girls because most of the girls I talked to during IKEA were from Level 4 i.e. Emelia, Min Yi and Grace. I didn’t notice any of the freshie guys during IKEA cos I couldn’t distinguish them from the seniors so I just didn’t bother. Also didn’t want to come across as being a flirt or whatever so ya, stuck mostly with the girls!! I remember toward the end I was quite comfortable with Emz and Minz and actually felt a bit excited to properly move in and stay in hall. J Very different experience from the OG dinner. OH YES I also think it’s worth mentioning that IKEA was also a socially challenging experience because they were all shopping for room furniture/SP gifts for SWOC, both of which I could not relate to because I haven’t moved in and I wasn’t going for SWOC. And everyone seemed tight from SHY/dinner and walked around in pairs/groups so yeah, it was tough but I think I did okay. That was my very first interaction with Sheares.

Moving In
I moved in the Sunday night before the academic term officially started (I think). I was in Block E and Hansol and Naasyidah, the only Shearites I knew at that time, were in Block B. I remember feeling really anxious the night I moved in, after my parents drove off. I had no idea where anything (e.g. Lounge) was and had no idea who my neighbours were (WhatsApp introductions don’t really count). I texted Hansol to ask her to come over, and remember feeling disappointed when she chose to hang out with her (Sheares) Rag friends instead. :---( To be fair, this was the ~orientation~ ~bonding~ period so I guess making friends from Rag was important to her too. So, I shamelessly texted the Eekslusive FrEshies group asking if anyone was in and wanted to hang and YIN LI IMMEDIATELY REPLIED “IN LOUNGE” HAHAHA. I suaku-ly replied “Where is the Lounge?” and yada yada I ended up talking with Yinz, Jeffrey and Ernest for quite some time that night in the Lounge. Woon Aik (Wang) and some other seniors came in a little later and started gaming. I was so overwhelmed because I wasn’t used to older guys and didn’t really know what the culture in Hall was like – do I say hi? do I pretend to be interested in DOTA?! HAHAHA but thankfully, Hui Juan came to the Lounge as well and, having remembered her to be quite a friendly girl from the IKEA night, I talked to her a bit but she was kinda tired from Adventure Cove with her SWOC OG mates earlier and just wanted to chill and watch cartoons. We didn’t talk much and I hung around until a bit later. I also remember thinking and calculating in my head when would be the best, non-awkward time to leave and what I should do before leaving – do I say bye to everyone?! even the guys?! will they ignore me and just continue playing their game?! LOL. I had nothing to worry about though, because everyone said bye back and it was very very non-awkward. J Good first night?

One other thing that’s worthy of documentation is that I closed and locked my door every time I left my room, even if it was to go to the toilet (which was literally 2 steps from my door LOL). You have to understand, to lock your door, it means swiping your matric card when you leave and then again to unlock it when you come back. So it’s terribly inconvenient, especially if you’re just going for a short pee or to get a drink. But that was me, locking my door cautiously every single time I stepped outside, even if it was for 5 seconds. Contrast that with me mid-sem – left my door wide open with my laptop and everything spewed across the table for hours at length. I don’t think this can be categorised as a good/bad thing per se. On one hand, I know that I definitely hadn’t changed and become a “throw all caution to the wind” kind of person, because I still don’t dare to leave my stuff lying around in BTC. I guess what this means is that over time, Sheares has grown into this huge bubble of trust and familiarity that I felt completely secure in literally opening up. :’)

Inter-Block Games (IBG)
The very first thing that went on in Hall when I moved in was IBG. I was quite excited to try some sports I never got the chance to BUT night LARC lessons were really a cockblock because most of the sports I wanted to try were on Monday/Thursday nights. Amazing coincidence right? But cheering as a SHupporter was quite a good initiation to Sheares/Block E as well! I was really heartened by the continuous support everyone gave to their blockmates. Nowhere else would I dare count on (most of) the entire block coming down to support a completely optional and time-consuming event. “Don’t mind don’t mind!” “E E E E so easy!!!” and all the other blocks’ cheers were all damn fun to cheer and shout. There was also no judgement at all when people didn’t play well!! Rather, people were full of encouragement and were just rly nice about it la. Rly loved it and it gave me a very good impression of Sheares.

It's also worth noting that Block E came in really close to being overall Champs, and our Guys were Champs for the guys' sports!! This is noteworthy because Block E is known as the suuuper chill block that doesn't really have a niche (Block D is supposedly the Sports Block) so us winning many IBG games gave us MASSIVE cred! Not that it matters.

Sheares has this thing called SNDC where a junior has to ask a senior out for a formal (ish…LOL I mean it was in the comm hall) dinner. The point is for intra-block bonding and you’re supposed to do nice stuff for your SNDC to earn their YES. Things like buying bubble tea/leaving snacks/cooking breakfast/buying supper/doing door deco ET CETERA for your SNDC, and then the recipient of these nice nice things would post a photo of it on the Eeker Facebook group. On the surface, objectively, it sounds very narcissistic and self-gratifying but it isn’t really the case. Personally, I really enjoyed scrolling through the Facebook posts because the things people did for their SNDCs were really quite cute/accompanied with punny messages/downright ridiculous. I don’t know if there really was intra-block bonding from SNDC but I suppose I did get to know my blockmates a bit better, as well as their likes/dislikes and idiosyncrasies. IMO, SNDC brought out the retard in everyone.

My SNDC was this Y2 called Ying Liang and he was really nice!! I’ve never actually seen him around before though, but that’s because he’s usually at his girlfriend’s room in Block D HAHA. I found out who his girlfriend was and asked her what he liked, and did a bunch of stuff relevant to those. I don’t think I was a very upz SNDC as compared to the other freshie girls HAHA I kept wanting to do something really cool and all but as usual, expectations vs. reality……. BUT I got to say, Ying Liang’s door deco for me was REALLY NICE. [Spoiler] I loved it so much I brought it home with me after moving out.

Bfast I made for Ying Liang!! Super lot of effort went into this I'm glad it looks damn good (even if it tastes otherwise...LOL actually I'm sure it tasted fine...)

The door deco I did for him versus the one he did for me HAHA I think I am really bad at crafts la....

Block E at SNDC dinner

Buaya was just after SNDC and honestly I was quite tired from all the expectations of doing something impressive for someone. Buaya is basically like Angel and Mortal, just that you are free to do both good and bad things and most times, people do bad things. I heard so many horror stories such as getting all your furniture moved to the comm hall (ew!!), or getting your room infested with ants (@Victoria lmao) and other really gross and horrible stuff which forces you to have to clean your room. I was honestly not looking forward to it. So THANK THE HEAVENS I got Tim Hung as my buaya. The very first night we found out who our buayees would be (through some overhyped ceremony in Wang’s room LMAO), Tim texted me and asked if I wanted any supper, that he was “asking for my buaya”. Then he revealed that he was my buaya, but of course then I didn’t believe him la. Oldest trick in the book/reverse reverse psychology gone wrong.

So anyway, Tim is the nicest buaya ever and he bought me pancakes, made me brownies, gave me a welfare pack and a mini bouquet of baby’s breath! NOTHING MEAN AT ALL. Throughout the whole buaya week, every time I came back from school and opened my room door, I mentally prepped myself for potential rekt disaster zone to greet me but was always relieved (slightly disappointed? Because I was, to be honest, kind of excited to see what sort of shit my buaya would do to me LOL).

My buayee, on the other hand, was Dillon and I did both nice and annoying stuff to him. I think I started off nice, but can’t really remember what was the nice thing I did HAHA. I only remember trying to tape as many things in his room to the wall as possible – mainly his pillow, bag, snacks, shaver/razor thingy. It was an afternoon when I made sure Dillon wasn’t going to be back for another hour or so. I spent some time trying to plaster everything up with copious amounts of masking tape, and even got Dilon and Ian to help me AND THEN SUDDENLY DILLON WALKED IN. HAHAHA it was the most awkward thing ever! He walked by his door, jaw literally dropped and there was a few seconds’ pause before he said “I’m going to get something I’ll…come back later”. HAHAHAHA it was so sad. So I quickly dumped some detergent onto his floor and left. The intention was for him to clean his floor but he actually bothered to sweep it all away. Wow, I would’ve thought it was easier to wash it away and get a clean floor through the process – thought I was actually doing him a favour.

Not yet satisfied, I played one last buaya prank on Dillon by placing my alarm clock, set to ring at 4am, under his bed. But something went wrong and my alarm clock didn’t go off. Instead, he found it in the morning and was very very confused HAHA. SIGH. I’m really not a good prankster. Anyway, he found out about my prank and that’s how he came to buy me an alarm clock as my buaya gift. That’s all for buaya week.

Dillon's calm before the storm

ty Tim the best Buaya

The funniest thing is that Aaron's buaya didn't do this to him. Some guys threw leaves along the corridors/into the rooms of Level 5 and 7 so the girls threw a fit and demanded the guys sweep it up (I think said guys are James and Ian tbh LOL) and anyway they didn't know what else to do with the leaves than...this.

Daily life
OKAY I AM REALLY TIRED FROM chronologically describing stuff that happened during my time in Sheares haha but SNDC and Buaya were two of the more hall-wide activities that demanded a lot of effort so I guess covering those would be substantial enough. For me, what made staying in Sheares so enjoyable was the familial community rather than the events per se. Hall was truly a home to me.

The typical day for me in Sheares goes a little like this: wake up around 7.30am and grab breakfast from comm hall (would be 10am and not even bother getting comm hall bfast by Week 11), do a bit of studying, gym with Christine and then lunch with the RTTs who are in, usually from Biz (undying love for BIZ BAN MIAN), then go to school, come back for dinner with RTTs and then try to study/Tetris battles in the Lounge with Wis and Leon/fight Ken for space on the Sofa Of Tilt, buy SHupper, bathe, crash whoever’s room and chill out before sleeping at an average time of 3am. Hmm, come to think of it, we really didn’t do much HAHA life was really comfortable and happy J I like that Block E people are generally very friendly and inclusive, so whenever we bump into each other in common corridors, especially outside of Hall, we would say Hi in a genuinely delighted manner and can strike up comfortable small talk that doesn’t feel forced in any way. I like!!!

Some things I’d like to remember for ever; getting loads of welfare during mid-terms (although I didn't have any) and finals period, hanging and talking in the Lounge, resting my head on Wisia’s boobs (she’s perfect height for me!! HAHAHA), singing together in the showers, hanging out and HTHTs in one another’s rooms, screaming and laughing maniacally at odd hours in the night, movie dates on the laptop, pulling all-nighters and having retarded debates with stubborn af James, BEING LIED TO by James and as a result thinking he was a "Cap 5 god" Y4 senior lmao, waking up at 10.30am on 9am crim Fridays, singing HSM with Vic, 3am badminton sessions, gymming with Christine, trying to do tutorials together with Christine and Bo Geng/Fernando (LOL FERN)…can’t think of more but then again it’s always inaccurate when one tries to put feelings and memories into contrived words. The fuzzy feelings I get whenever I think about Sheares really can’t be translated into words in a blog post. And yes, I am very aware that this is a hugely biased opinion but it’s my opinion, and it is gay af and perhaps overly-sentimental/attached but I suppose I’m just being very honest – living in Hall was the best decision I made in the whole of my University life so far. The freedom and friends I found there are worth everything (including the horrible Sem 1 grades…but then you see, that’s why I’m staying at home now – finals are going to be much better!!!).

I think words really don't do justice to the eclectic emotion I associate with Sheares haha so maybe some pictures would paint a thousand words better picture.

Oh yes, one final thing: the night I moved out for reals, a whole bunch of Eekers, including some I wasn't very close to, came to send me off (and inadvertently got dragged into helping me move stuff down to the car LOL) and I had a sort of funeral procession-esque march out of Sheares :'( and this was smack in the middle of finals period. :'( Was a small gesture on their part but I was MASSIVELY TOUCHED omo omo omo honestly no where else will you find community like this. <3

The first night I stayed up till 4am playing Avalon in the Lounge. Not pictured is Gary Chan LOL this was when I actually believed I could study and socialise at the same time.

First time using Sheares gym! I started the Fit n Fab club hoping to find a gym buddy but I found RTT instead <3

Made the mistake of doing an abs routine with Wis. She's a monster.

Minz's bday!!

Yinz's bday!!

Gres's bday when she cried upon seeing us cos we all lived in the West-ish area and travelled to frickin Tampines for her surprise party hehehe

Kim's bday cum level steamboat!!

SHeares x NUS Law

The night some of us went for drinks, Yinz ordered 小笼包 and Minz got a mango smoothie HAHAHA amazing la.

 Legendary blossom fries (minus fries cos carbs are the enemy)

Spreading the love for biz ban mian far and wide

Children's Day block event with Level 7

Juniors Treat Seniors with Level 7!

One night we randomly went to the Sheares Beats room to jam with DJ MO$$ LMAO it's pretty legit, with the strobe lights, speakers and all.

MasterSHef team! I don't know what I was thinking volunteering for this but it was a fun experience. We made pretty legit clam pasta and banana churros!!!

Post-masterSHef tilt - that day we spent 9 hours in the kitchen (and 5 hours the day before)

SMB photoshoot

If law school doesn't work out, I can always do doggo tricks with Wis.

Lovely welfare packs for finals <3 for the law student whose finals are in January...hahaha.

We affectionately call this contraption Aaron's vagina.

RTT actually threw me a surprise farewell party WITH CAKE :'( in the midst of finals prep!!! ahhh was amazing never felt so loved in ma life <3

3am photoshoot the night of my farewell party

The day Wis woke up at 6am to go to NTU literally just to accompany me on SMB duties. :'( dunno what I ever did to deserve such amazing friends rly!!!

And if you just scrolled down without reading anything, this last video is something worth watching and probably sums up life in Sheares:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Year 1 Sem 1 (Law School)

I realised I have totally neglected this space since University started. Since it's the start of recess week, I'll (try to) recapture everything that has happened into one succinct blog post. I think it would be a lot easier if I separated everything by...context, so here goes!

Law School
I missed Law Camp because I was in America during that period so I didn't get to make friends from my OG or have an SP or go through Fright Night or suffer living in Eusoff Hall. Essentially, I MISSED OUT ON A LOT but it didn't occur to me back then. The only other person I knew who was going to NUS Law was Liz. We met in Y5 during the JC Law Programme thing and were acquaintances?friends? since. I can't remember what exactly transpired this conversation but somehow, we were texting while I was still in the US and she told me that sign-ups were open for Rag and they had already started practices! I heard of seniors talk about Rag and had a very very vague idea of what it was: a time-consuming but fun orientation bonding thing, so I thought since I missed out on Law Camp, I should join Rag to make friends, right!??! Turns out, not quite so.

The day I flew back to Singapore, I Facebook messaged some of the Law Camp seniors in-charge of Rag (Yew Boon I think??) and found out the final final auditions were the very next day LOL. So I decided to just go for it and see what happens. Me, who has never danced in my life and even had problems with the JC orientation dance HAHAH. Liz was nice and offered to meet me at Buona Vista to go for practice together because I had no clue where the "Dance Atelier" was. That same bus conversation also resulted in me being adopted into OG10.

In a nutshell, I thought I wouldn't get into any of the Rag scenes because they placed priority on attendance for past practices and since the audition day was literally Day 1 for me, my attendance obviously sucked la haha. Also, the taped runs at the end of the practice was truly mortifying because I forgot all the steps HAHAHA - I distinctly remember at some point I was standing up and everyone else was doing some rolling thing on the ground lmAO. Anyway, I guess our seniors really believed in being inclusive and giving everyone a chance so they let me join the contemporary dance scene, which was cool. :-)

Rag practices took up quite a lot of my time during the July-August period. I think we had two or three practices a week?! Which is not that many but I guess it still is a commitment nonetheless. The people in the contemp scene were mostly from OG 2 and 7, no one I knew except for Najla (whom I only knew because she's Nic's cousin!), who also didn't really know anyone in our scene. It was really difficult to fit in and I always felt very shameless in introducing myself to people and striking up conversations. But I am really bad at small talk and get too comfortable with people too quickly, so I think I may have come off as a bit weird :( So slowly I receded back into engaging in small talk with different people and never developed any real, strong friendship from Rag. On the plus side, I got to make many acquaintances, including people from other scenes! In this aspect, Rag helped me ease into law school proper later on, because the faces I saw in the corridors and in lectures were somewhat familiar and we could at least exchange smiles/hi-bye. So there were both goods and bads. Something no one told me was that people usually join Rag/Rag scenes as an OG -- OG 10 wasn't very involved in Rag, and everyone else were already pretty comfortable with their own OG cliques so that's probably part of the reason why I felt it was difficult to fit in. BUT all in all, it was cool pushing myself out of my comfort zone and knowing I have survived Rag (the social anxiety is SO REAL) makes me feel a lot more confident in approaching other similarly scary social situations. Here are some Rag photos to break up the chunks of verbal diarrhoea.

I actually cropped myself into the picture because I wasn't around when this was taken lel. The ostracism is REAL jk it's just me being really really socially awkward.

Qing Kai actually came down at 8.30am to watch our 9am performance. :') Was really touched because 1) this guy doesn't wake up till like 11 and is always late for everything and 2) his house is really far away so he must have woken up really early to get to NUS early. :')

Matriculation Week
Matric Week is supposedly when the new freshies (those who didn't go for camp) come into Law School and also when I would be properly introduced to my OG. Funny story, I actually went for an OG dinner thing before Matric Week where I didn't know anyone except their names (from WhatsApp) thinking it would be a good platform to make friends. NOT SO hahahah it was so awkward, I literally approached Zhe Yi and Shona and asked "Are you guys from OG 10?" at the MRT station...lols.... ANYWAY, Matric Week was okay...managed to talk to a few girls from my OG, especially Juls and Su. Oh, another funny story: Su was also a new freshie in OG 10 and when I met her, she seemed really familiar and we spent half the morning figuring out where we had seen each other from, when Su remembered -- we met at the PA scholarship interviews where we were put into the same waiting group!! I remembered how we managed to somewhat click then and it was really very cool because from then, I found it very comfortable and nice to talk to her :-) cool cool.

Matric Week ended with PUTS, which by then I was a little more settled into law school and had a few friends. But I didn't feel entirely comfortable and "a sense of belonging" to NUS Law yet.

I joined volleyball as well because I liked playing the sport during PE in RJ, and I thought sports in Law was more of a recreational thing but no...these girls are good and are actual, legitimate volleyball players HAHA so Naj and I kind of noob around together.

School starting
To be honest, law school really went by in a blur. So here are some highlights:
- found a bunch of friends in Ragless (the irony, because I joined Rag to make friends (supra [2] LMAO) but my friends would be the people who didn't join Rag?!?!
- got closer to Juls and Shona who would later be really my pillars of support in Law School <3
- am on talking terms with people in my tutorial groups and stuff but we aren't that close
- ya nothing else LOL because I was a lot lot lot more involved in Hall (see below) was tough initially and still tough now. At least I think I am getting the hang of it, but finding focus and motivation to study is really a problem. I feel overwhelmed whenever I crack open the books muggers and slides to study...really counting on God for this one hahaha HAVE FAITH!!!!! IT WILL BE OKAY IN THE END!!!! is literally what I tell myself every day.

Ragless girls

Friendship with Juls and Su