Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tips for the Future USMers

Back then, right after accepting the offer for a degree in Communications in Universiti Sains Malaysia, I had absolutely no idea what to do next. What do I prepare? What do I do? What about accommodation? What do I bring? What do buy? Am I supposed to fill in any form or whatnots?

Simply said, I was confused and lost. 

As they say, Google is your best friend. I googled USM, what else.
I searched particularly for blogs, as they would give a more personal idea on how is it like to live there in Penang, in a hostel, in a university. As would any never-left-a-finger-at-home-kid, I focused on information on the conditions of the hostel there. I came to a blog which showed such promising wide clean new rooms and felt relieved (cheated max, but more about it later). Then I widened my search and came upon Maureen’s blog, she was witty and funny, so I did not hesitate to email her and started asking all sorts of things. She was ever so kind to answer all my queries and it really helped a lot. I hated not knowing what I was getting into and with her help; I manage to gather some kind of a concrete picture of what I was getting into. That was a relief. 

Which is why I’ll be doing a couple posts of what life is like in USM, Penang and the little bits of random information I wished someone had told me before, in hope that when some new lost freshie did the same thing as I do, he/she would find some comfort in knowing exactly what to expect. This would be perfect come university-registration season, which will be in about two/three months. I wish them all the best. And yeah feel free to comment/contact me to ask anything at all. :D 

Today’s topic will be about the hostel. After all, one spends most of their time here, and this was my top worry back then. I’ll list it out just to make it clearer. One thing though, I have the memory of a fish so if I had forgotten to include/exclude anything, then that’s just too bad. 

#1: DON’T THROW AWAY that piece of paper included in the package they sent you that says either:

Aman Damai
Bakti Permai
Cahaya Gemilang
Indah Kembara
Fajar Harapan
or Tekun. 

Those are the hostel names that you’d be staying at for a whole year, mind. I got Aman Damai and I thought it was some silly public-service leaflet and promptly tossed it in the bin wtf. Also, read the offer letter and all those nonsense properly. Heck I didn’t know which hostel until a couple weeks after receiving that letter. I just saw that I was accepted and tossed it aside. This is not a very exemplary attitude, by the way. Oh and keep the hostel name in mind just in case you need to ask for directions when you come into USM. Its pretty huge-ass. I didn’t knew my way around until months later wtf.

Here’s a brief (ok maybe not brief brief) description of the pros and cons of certain hostels and the stereotypes they bear.

Aman: My hostel. One of the oldest haven’t-been-renovated one and I think it kinda sucks but many seniors loved it, much to my confusion. Everything in there is old old old. There are 2 cafes but I’ve only eaten there twice. Enough said. However, it’s close to the Bt. Gambir gate which is where I usually (90% of the time, really) have my dinner. Ah and aman people pretty much do their own things, I call them us zombies

Nobody bothers other people so yah it’s good. One complain I have is the fan, it’s like those revolving wall-fan stuck to the ceiling and practically serves no purpose. I highly recommend getting a table-fan. It may seem bearable during the last-half of the year but come January, may God bless you. You’ll wake up every morning all sweaty and the cool effects of showering will only last you like 10 minutes. GET A TABLE FAN. 

Bakti: One of the two hostels with Chinese food! Chap fan whoots! No pork, obviously but they have fake charsiew which is really good as well. I love having lunch there, we go there 50% of the time. There’s such a variety of food, tongsui and kuihs there. If you got bakti, you’re really one lucky bastard. Though I think it’s the most expensive hostel, it’s damn near to the dewan kuliahs and library (just across the road wth) and oh they have basketball courts too. However the boys there are famous for well, not really being boys, if you know what I mean. Their rooms are pretty nice though, big spacious and clean, as opposed to aman’s *bitter oh yeah did I mention, all busses stop in bakti. gahhhh. benci.

CG: Ah the “forgotten” one, as it’s all tucked deep inside the campus, rather uphill, away from all the other hostels. Complains have been made about how difficult is it to go out for meals during the weekends but the major plus of living there is that you can leave the room 5 minutes before class starts (for most courses, I reckon). It’s right in the heart of campus, super accessible to so many buildings and offices. I have friends who said they like it there, despite how far is it from the gates, all three/four gates.

IK: Ah the closest to Bt. Gambir gate. High chances of going for yumcha/supper every night hehe and the boys recently moved into a new block, complete with 3 effing full-length mirror plus huge wardrobe cupboards EACH WTF it’s the only hostel where they have 3 person sharing a room for the girls but I think it’s going to be different this coming semester. Its less than 5 minutes walk to the DUP, which is where most exam papers are taken at and every bus stops in IK.

Fajar: Supposedly where all the religious people live at hahahaha its right in the middle of most of the hostels. Just average, not too far from classes, not too far from Bt. Gambir gate, not too far from Sg. Dua gate. However, the busses that pass through there go the other way, as in they don’t go to the schools and classes area, they come from there instead. So to take a bus one would have to walk a little over to bakti’s bus stop. 

Apparently the first hostel built in USM too. And haven’t been renovated so yah its kinda creepy old, what with the ceiling-fan locked up in a metal cage. There’s many windows though for each room and they have a lake at the back as well, just like Aman. Perfect for jogging and stuff. Perfect for people to yell out across the road for you as well. Teehee.

Saujana, Restu &Tekun: Also known as “RST”, which are the condo-type hostels situated OUTSIDE the campus, with a pedestrian bridge connecting both areas. Wide spacious new rooms, which makes them more expensive than the other hostels but oh-so-worth it. It’s going to be hell during orientation week though because there won’t be any bus service and it’s so bloody far from where the academic activities would be held. I don’t envy them that. Saujana is exclusive for girls and ohh they house the best burger ever, MAMU burger that comes in a van at night. SYIOK MAX. Since it’s so close to the hills, some buildings’ residents reported mist and “natural aircon” during rainy days. They have a guard house controlling who gets in and out and it’s very near to the major meal-places. Food would never be scarce but it just depends on whether you’re hardworking or not to come down. I don’t quite know the average number of levels of one building but it’s definitely well beyond 15 levels each. Consider yourself lucky if you get any one of RST.

#2: CURFEW. NONE. At first I was so scared we’d be curfewed in by midnight and I would so hate it but turns out, there’s isn’t any curfew, really. You can pretty much come in or out your room/hostel whenever you like. Hence you could still see people walking around campus (probably going for a midnight snack or a booty call wtf) well past midnight. Apparently in other universities (government, obviously) they have a very strict curfew so yays USM. This is one of the major factors I started warming up to the idea of studying here.

#3: FACILITIES. Sadly, the facilities in the hostels differ so I’m just giving a very basic idea. All hostels have washing machines, dryers, water dispenser (hot/cold), pantry, tv room, iron and board, café, bicycle-renting services and a washing room. Bakti, being the bitch that they are (just kidding don’t sue me wtf) have a refrigerator and microwave for every building WTF how unfair. Anyways, I’m pretty sure all the hostels have Astro for every building and thank goodness, the bathroom and corridors are swept and cleaned every 4-5 days?

#4: STAYING AGAIN? After weighing in the pros and cons of living in campus and living outside, it’s still considerably more convenient to stay in campus. Yes we can’t cook our own meals, have individual bathrooms or throw a booze boys &girls party, but it’s just so much more convenient.

Living in campus, a bus comes every 15 minutes or so (they only allocated one bus for those living out campus, which comes every hour, so I’ve heard) and even without bus, one could simply walk to class which leads us to pro #1: don’t have to wake up so early. #2 would be the cheap fees, only RM200-400 for a whole semester! Ok I’m starting to sound like those late-night ads scams, being so overly enthusiastic. But, it’s true. We were all dying to move out and wanted to stay together and all, but came the end of semester two, EVERYONE wanted to continue living in the hostel. Hah its not easy you know (supposedly)

We have to collect these “desa units”, basically the more of these that you collected, the higher the chances are for you getting a room for the next year, and you might even get to choose your own room+roommate. Usually you can collect these by joining seminars, taking part in uni projects or representing the hostel in competitions (pantun, senamrobik, debate blablabla). Unfortunately I’m not that rajin a person and didn’t join anything for the first year, still got a room for next year teehee it’s actually more based on luck one lah. Of course, priority is given to those with desa units lah, doesn’t mean people who don’t have any diedie cannot masuk again one. There is another little secret but ah ask me about it, I don’t want to put it up here ;p

I’ve only did 4 parts but this seems like a really long post hahaha and so ends the episode on living in the university hostel. Stay tuned for the next part on, CLOTHES! 

Now applaud.


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