Home away from home

Ivan Sim shares his fondest memories of hall life and what makes NTU home.

Even though NTU is far away from my house, during my time in school, I can still feel the same warmth that I felt at home. During the first two years of university, I stayed in a student hall on campus, and it was the most meaningful experience of my entire university life

My roommate was my secondary school friend whom I had known for more than 10 years. I will never forget those fun times we had when we were roommates - staying up late together to study, waking up early to go for morning runs, having dinner together, and our late-night talks. Most memorable were the frequent supper sessions where we would cook and create our own version of healthy dry instant noodles.

I also had an enjoyable time with peers I met through my hall orientation camp. Staying in the same compound had not only brought us closer but also gave us the opportunity to create a closely-knit community - a “kampong”.

Luckily, before COVID started, my friends and I managed to enjoy some overseas experience as a group. We went for a day trip to Johor Bahru where we had 7 meals in a single day, and even a 3-days 2 nights trip to Batam. The one time that we all looked forward to the most would probably be the Christmas season, because that was when we would organise a get-together party with the Secret Santa activity being the main highlight of the night.

My hostel experience was unique, enjoyable, memorable, and warm. My roommates and hallmates are more than just friends I met in school. As time passed, a sense of camaraderie was forged, and they are no longer just my friends, but more like my family. Not only did we have fun when we lived near one another, we also took care of each other, and helped one another when in need. Although I no longer stay at the hostel during my final year, the friendships forged were deep and we are still close. Regardless of our busy schedules, we still try to meet and catch up for meals or bonding activities.

Another key reason why NTU felt like a home to me would be its accessibility to amenities, food, and facilities. NTU is like a town on its own with everything you need from hair salons and grocery shops to sports and leisure facilities. It is as though you are living in a small town with all the other students.

I may have only stayed in hostel for only less than two years, but the friendships I have forged will last me a lifetime.