With the STPM results recently announced, I figured that many students are starting to get excited by the prospect of entering university life soon. And for a lot of us who have never ventured outside of our comfort zones, studying in a different place (state, country, your cup, your coffee) is probably something that's quite exciting and also at the same time, quite scary. Well, my second semester is almost over at UTeM, and I would like to share with you about hostel life here.
When I first got here, it was quite literally a foreign place to me. All the roads are new, the shops foreign, even the people has a certain not-quite-from-home vibe. Also, I had no transport (except size 10 shoes) and not much friends. To compound the problem, our hostel is located a good distance away from our campus, a fact that would haunt a lot of us for the following few weeks.
I had the fortunate luck of living with 17 other people here. Being a public university, you expect a certain level of crampness, and most people will be searching for their jaws on the floor when I tell them how many people live in my house. Nonetheless, despite what you may think, it is really a blessing, because all of these people are from the same faculty and from the same year, and we became instant friends, bonding in ways only strangers in a foreign land could. Given one and a half semesters of this lifestyle, I find it hard to imagine a more exciting life.
Of course, not everybody has this luxury. The house opposite of us also had 17 people, but for some reason they didn't really get along with each other that well. I suppose in the end it was dumb luck that my housemates all happened to be really friendly and sporting people, and I am grateful to have met them.
Regardless, the first few weeks is probably the most stressful. Orientation is torture enough, then we had to start a whole new chapter of living with a roommate (or four!). For those growing up in an extended family, the transition might not be that hard, but I've always had a room to myself since I was young, and to be rob of my privacy is something that takes some time to get used to. You will encounter all sorts of people, some of which you will like and be your best friend on campus, some of which you will hate eternally and your life will condense into hell on earth. Fortunately hostel officials don't really care if you switch rooms.
In my case, I was extremely lucky. Our hostel room was supposed to be triple-sharing but one of our roommates dropped out after a few weeks, and nobody showed up to take the empty seat and our room became twin-sharing, which was perfect! My roommate is also quite sporting and most importantly, NOT a clean-freak. The Clean-Freak is a species that, unless confronted by a member of their own kind, will make life uncomfortable, if not outright miserable, for their roommates. These are the people who insist on making the bed every morning, sweeping the floor every day, mopping it every weekend, etc. I, honestly, am a slob, so thank (insert diety of choice) for assigning me a roommate that isn't so particular about cleanliness.
But seriously, roommates will be your next biggest challenge. Learn to pull out ASAP if you feel like the match is going to create problems in the future. The best roommate you can have is one who doesn't really care about what you do, not because he doesn't care about you (that'd mean getting a stranger), but simply because he's not really particular about anything that occours around him/her. You'd HATE to get somebody who has particular tendencies (Eg: can't stand the way you tap your pen, insists on having the fan turned off, etc) because it would lead to a battle of attrition; to see who gives in to the other person first. And having your best friend as your roommate is NOT really a wise choice. At the end of the day, I suppose the best roommate is one who matches your tendencies. Clean freaks look for other clean freaks, slobs other slobs. Mix the wrong types together and hilarity, followed by pain and anger, will follow.
I guess that's it from me for all. I'll pick this up next time. In the meantime, congratulations for all STPM candidates of 2006, and good luck with your 2 month wait until the intake in July. And if anybody is contemplating on coming to Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, I'm your friendly senior to look for advice. Cheers!
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