03 September 2006

My New Hostel Room

After what seems like an unbearable long wait, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Residential Services has finally sent me an email on Friday with regards to my application to the waiting list for hostel.

The waiting list is a list for students who failed to obtain a hostel room in the first round of application, which is allocated on the basis of CCA points. As demand for hostel rooms is fantastically high, the CCA points required naturally hit the heavens, and most, like me with fewer CCA points, get thrashed by the rest.

There is, however, a second chance: the waiting list. It is a list of those who still want a hostel room, and priority is given on a first-come-first-serve (which they put innocently as "availability") basis. The rooms for this waiting list are mainly from those who got it in the first round but rejected the allocation. The application for waiting list typically opens in the first week of the term, and that's probably the last chance for one to get a hostel room for the semester.

This year the application opened 21st August (Monday) at midnight. Knowing how hot the fight was, I set my alarm clock at 2345 - 15 minutes before the application opens - the rational being giving myself sufficient time to turn on the computer and log on to the site.

The good news is that I did wake up and turned on my computer at 2345. However, because I had a camp the night before, and was in a friend's house for the subsequent day, reaching home only by about 2100 on Sunday night, I effectively had only one hour of sleep for the past thirty-six hours. And the poor estimation meant that by 2350 I was waiting in front of the application webpage and staring like a zombie at the screen.

That was when I decided to lie down for a while and then it was 0530, when my handphone's alarm clock woke me up for school. I made a mad scramble to submit the application, half my brain trying to figure out what to fill into the online form while the other half trying to shake off the feeling that it has just came out of cryogenic storage.

It is thus not really unexpected when the email from OSA informing me that there were no more vacancies. And as if to soften the blow, the email also mentioned that 700 other people got also rejected. That number is, in my opinion, quite substantial, which leads me to wonder why they just don't simply build the residences thirty storeys high, but that's not what I'm discussing now.

OSA suggested off-campus accommodations, basically referring to renting flats from nearby HDB estates, but I'm not going for that, simply because I already have a backup. In fact, I've already been exercising that option since school started.

For the past few weeks, I've been sleeping in SPS room. Basically, SPS room is a standard seminar room converted to an activity room for SPS students, with its own computer cluster (mainly Linux systems), study tables (which lines the wall), discussion areas (a few chairs in a circle) and a lecture area, as well as a mini library.

Since I have one place for myself on the study table where I put all my stuff (books, teabags, clothes etc.), it's not really a ridiculous idea to sleep there at all. Of course, I do not stayover everyday, but only on days when I have 0800 lectures on the next (which, sadly, is four out of five). In addition, there are people who sleep there every single night (most are foreign students, SPS room being their hostel), so I'm certainly not the one and only. What's more, it's free, and in a convenient location (water cooler nearby, just above the canteen and central to most of my lesson locations). If that's not enough, the atmosphere in SPS room essentially yells "STUDY! STUDY! STUDY!", which is some rather good motivation for a student.

The only drawback is the lack of privacy, as well as slight inconveniences (I mean, I cannot, for example, start hanging my clothes in the room, or walk around half-naked). Nonetheless, I do not see any reason why I should not sleep there. Some can slouch on chairs and switch off, but I need and have a sleeping bag, which of course essentially makes it as good as a bed when on the carpeted floor.

So if you find my wandering sleepily late at night or early in the morning in the S16 block, do not be alarmed. And if you need to find me, don't head for PGP; you know where my hostel room is.

On a side note, I believe the demand for hostel accommodations will continue to skyrocket, and the CCA points required to secure one will get obscenely high. Blame it on the ever-increasing intake of students, if you wish.

On a side side note, this is my 200th post. Yay!

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