Dec 2, 2013

Applying to Yale-NUS? A disclaimer

In the first few weeks of school, when the aircon repairmen entered my room when I was in class, three people on my floor messaged me to warn me about it, and one confronted them to ask why they were entering my room. When Al, whom some of us might not know since he's only starting college in 2015, got Jon Ho's (or was it Jon Tan?) permission to borrow his clothes, he got told off by Jon's neighbours for entering his room.

Yesterday a lovely person (who shall remain unnamed for angel-mortal anonymity) gave me a candy apple. Carissa had also made sweet potato brownies and was giving them out to anyone she saw. An hour ago, Janel gave me a little bag of the granola she was making in the kitchen. (ref: first picture) And Carissa made her mortal, Janel, a hand-sewn Good Morning towel drawstring bag.

We make one another tea. We leave little gifts, notes and snacks outside one another's rooms. We knock on one another's doors to sing them songs. When someone inconsiderately took Josh's instant noodles, he came back to his room to find four bowls of instant noodles at his door, given to him by loving classmates. Students stay up late to give remedial lessons to other students. Students who don't collect their clothes in time when they're done in the washer might even return to find that someone else has already helped to dry them.

(The second photo is a picture of my wardrobe door: some of the notes that my classmates have left on my door etc. this past semester. I have many more in my drawer, on my wall, and on the side of my shelf. Yes, I feel very much loved, and this is simply an example of the love that goes around this beautiful school.)

Students make an entire pot of barley (Adlin), or a whole cake (Liz Chan), or bread pudding (Reuben), or a massive amount of orange juice (Kei), and bring it to our student-run kitchen or leave it in the lounges for everyone to share. And they gain nothing from it. Except a lot of love.

We are a tiny college with just one tiny cohort right now, and we only need to hear someone's voice to know who it is. We can tell who's in whose room by the slippers they leave outside. We make random signages and posters and stick them wherever appropriate (or not, even). We have too many inside jokes, because we're all inside, together. Say "everyone's so beautiful" and we all think of Annette. Say "peace and love" and we all think of Shanice. Say "Canadian". Say "European". (also, say "annoying alarm clock" and they'll think of me lol)

Shenanigans. Shake Shack. Petrus Liu. Andrew Bailey. (Yes we love our profs just as much as we love each other!)

If you are applying to Yale-NUS simply because it's a fantastic school with incredible people and talent, if you're applying because you are a high achiever and you want to beat everyone, if you are selfish about academics or anything else and are not willing to share what you have, please don't bother.

One thing you must understand about Yale-NUS is that it is family. We definitely disagree a lot, but we all love and will go out of our way to help one another. We are not selfish with our skills. We want to teach and we want to learn. We give one another things, time, effort and our hearts. If you are selfishly elitist and are bent only on your own success without a regard for others', this is not the school for you.


Wahid Khan said...

I really enjoyed reading this blog. I have applied to Yale-NUS and hope to see and experience this all.

Abdul Wahid Khan

Hannah Karen Ho said...

That's great!!! Hope to see you soon :)