August 22, 2011

Being a nomadic student

Before February 22nd, I used to have a study space at the College of Education. It was located on the fifth floor of the tower block, overlooking the college office and administration building. I loved coming in everyday because it was the only place I could focus on my work.

In addition to having a nice office, I also had a great  bunch of colleagues to work with. Every Tuesday, we'd gather at the lounge suite to catch up and talk about our work. These gatherings were therapeutic cos they gave me the consolation that I wasn't alone in this head-damaging journey.

One day, a violent earthquake struck Christchurch and caused significant damage to our campus buildings. This changed everything. The tower, where my office was located was deemed unsafe and labelled as a red zone area. Since all my data were still stuck in the room, I felt understandably suicidal.

Three weeks later, we were given access to enter the tower with a security team. We were told to retrieve important research materials and were briefed on the things to do should another earthquake strike. Since we were still having heaps of aftershocks then, we were given only 10  minutes to complete the mission.

Ready for the mission (Photo courtesy of Abdullah Nawi)

This is what I saw

A crack between two buildings (photo courtesy of Abdullah Nawi)

The post-grad lounge suite (photo courtesy of Abdullah Nawi)

My roomate's desk

My desk

My roomate Amir 
After seeing my office, I came to terms with reality. I had to find a new study space. My Dean suggested that I work at Otakaro 232. It's a  big computer lab equipped with over 20 Mac computers. At first, this seemed to be a perfect solution cos the room was not crowded. Somehow, in just a week, news about this room went viral on campus. The number of users multiplied, making the lab a not-so-condusive environment for writing.

You see, the lab was always full, so people tend to come early and sit on the same spot everyday. I always ended up sitting next to this  noisy-breather who snorted when he breathed. He didn't have a cold or anything. It's just the way he was programmed you know. Whenever he's around, my stress level went through the roof cos I couldn't concentrate on anything else.  I know what some of you are thinking. The problem is me, not him, right? But imagine this. Imagine the sound of someone whining and snorting while and and and out.

Now amplify that a little. That's what I had to endure. Hearing that sound in a totally quiet roomdrives me insane. I couldn't very well ask him to stop breathing right? That would be murder. I had no choice but to move on.

Days later, I found a place called the Post-grad Hub. It's a TOTALLY QUIET ROOM catered specifically for thesis students.  I left my whiny lab partner and quickly found solace in the hub. Things were going well at first but after some time, more people came in to use the PCs. Not to write, but to  chat, check FB status and watch videos. 

One day, while I was writing a difficult Chapter 3, a group of students laughed out loud at something they saw on YouTube. Annoyed, I made the SHHHH sound to get them to shut up. They did, as I expected. I heaved a noisy sigh and continued writing. Moments later they started laughing again. I could feel the atomic bom inside me ticking.  I heaved another noisy sigh. This time longer and more dramatic.

But it didn't work. They were still HAHAHA-ing like hyenas.

That did it.

I marched to their table, pointed to the sign which said "THIS IS A QUIET ROOM!" and read it out loud. Everyone fell silent. I went back to my seat feeling all crappy inside. It totally ruined  my mood.

I soon realised that the hub wasn't such a quiet room after all. Despite having a sign that said For Thesis Students Only, all types of students came to use the space. After a month of working in the hub and shhhhh-ing ignorant pinheads, I was finally offered a temporary office space at Wairarapa.

This is what it looks like.

My research assistant
I am contented cos my new roomate, Abdullah, doesn't snort when he breathes or  make other irritating sounds that drive me insane.  My new office may not have a big desk or a printer or a lounge suite for Tuesday afternoon teas, but for the time being, it is enough. All I want is a little bit of peace and quiet.

*The moment I finished this draft, I got an email saying that I could move into a new office early September :)


TaQuiLa said...

geee..look what the earthquake brought!

oh, that was so annoying when there were bunch of people who did not aware other people, i meant yeah..after you read for them the notice, they seems not understood. blah..bikin panas! this is one reason why i don't study in library :)

anyway, enjoy ur new environemtn ya!

Lizeewong said...

Taquila- Kann?? Kalau blogging I wouldn't mind at all...Tapi ini tulis thesis ba. Anyway, thanks ya moi. I hope the new office has a printer ^__^

Enniebelle said...

Moi, good for you to scold them unruly bunch of pinheads! BTW, congrats on your new office :)

Aemy Shamy said...

whoa..look at that cracks..scary! huhu. thankfully no one's harmed, yeah?

ah same thing goes in our campus library, it doesn't feel like a library when many students start to fill the space to chat and laugh instead of read or write..i guess they can't read the "be quiet" sign..huhu.

anyway, good luck in your new office :)

Lizeewong said...

Thanks Ennie ^__^

Aemy-Aha..frustrating kan when ppl can't read signs? ^__^ Thanks

JIPP said...

LOL! That's one of the reasons why music devices like iPod sell so well. :-D

Lizeewong said...

Yeah! It's a must if you're a student :)