You’ve just come out of a lecture and you’ve swooped straight down to the Study Room to secure a seat for yourself. A research paper, a tutorial and a set of readings to complete in two days. Every second is precious.
Your eyes survey the study room. You spot an empty table and pounce.
What you don’t realize, is that you’re in for a frustrating afternoon, as you encounter certain mainstays of the Study Room. Doesn’t matter what year you’re in, or what year it is, these people, like my stunningly good looks, never seem to go away.
Yes. It’s the 6 (Annoying) People you Meet in the Study Room!
The coast seems clear today though, and you dive straight into your readings. 5 minutes in, a man carrying a plate of “cai fan” from the Summit strides down the aisle and plonks his ass on the chair right next to you.
Oh dear, it’s the Man Who Can’t Eat at the Summit. As you struggle to digest your readings, the man right next to you seems to have no trouble at all with his digestion, wolfing down his food noisily, oblivious to the fact that little bits of tofu are flying across the table, grains of rice are stuck to your chair now, and you can even spot a teeny bit of spinach caught between his teeth. Which shouldn’t really be much of a distraction, but somehow you keep looking at it. Repeatedly.
You’re distracted. Right now, it’s not just the vinegary smell of sweet and sour pork that fills the room, it’s the smell of a D+ that you pick up. You know you have to change seats if you wanna have a chance at finishing your paper.
And so you move. You spy an empty seat at a table occupied by 3 sweet-looking girls. Usually you’re wary of doing this, because you really don’t need the distraction of eye candy, but hey, you’re desperate. Not that kind of desperate, I meant the paper.
You move your stuff there, and begin on your readings. That’s when the 3 sweet-looking girls turn into your worst nightmare. They are the Inseparable BFF’s.
They start looking at their computers and giggling. Nervously, you check your fly. Nope. That’s not it.
You return to your readings, trying to block out the giggles. At the back of your head though, you wonder, just what on earth were they giggling about?
It’s like they’re psychic, because at that very instant, the girl on your left turns her laptop around to her BFF’s seated opposite her and shows them a photo. They erupt into poorly-muffled laughter.
“So UNGLAM! Why you tag me?”, one of them exclaims.
“Yours is 10 times worse!”, the other retorts, and all 3 giggle as if they were a bunch of teenage girls. Oh wait…never mind.
You shoot a rude stare at them for talking so loudly, and they get the message. They start doing the irritating whispering-yet-still-bloody-loud talking thing. Your hair follicles brace themselves for what’s coming. You’re on the verge of pulling your hair out, but you decide to give it another 5 minutes.
5 minutes later, you feel like you’re good friends with the girls, but only because it feels like they’ve told their life stories in that short time. Experts at the whispering-yet-still-bloody-loud talking thing, you now know what they’re eating for lunch later, which one of them has a boyfriend from Medicine, which of them has put on weight (all of them, they claim), which one of them really doesn’t like Mentos (turned down despite being offered it thrice), and who they all agree on is the cutest guy in Law School.
Deciding that you’ve heard enough of this (and slightly peeved that they didn’t think you were the cutest guy in Law School), you pack your stuff once again, flash them a polite smile (hey, they ARE sweet-looking after all…), and move to the next table.
This looks promising. It’s a guy with his readings sprawled all across the table, so perhaps he’s just like you, rushing a paper. And he is.
So you sit down, comforted by the knowledge that finally, nothing is gonna distract you this time.
Well, not really. What you’re about to encounter is the Keyboard Godzilla.
As you try to focus on your readings, you notice the water in your water bottle is quivering. Mini-tsunamis in your very own water bottle. Nervously you look out the window, half-expecting to see Godzilla outside. Then you chuckle at your own stupidity — even Godzilla hates walking up the hill.
But the waves in your water bottle have not ceased. And then you see it, right across the table, Keyboard Godzilla. His furrowed face full of concentration, his fingers stomp on his keyboard furiously. It reminds you of Jay Chou playing the piano in that ridiculous scene from that ridiculous movie where he plays on and on, while everything in the background is being destroyed. Except this time, it’s not a piano, it’s a keyboard. Not the kind that looks similar.
The noise he makes is deafening. He’s hitting his keyboard so hard you swear that either the keyboard or his fingers are gonna break. After a while, you WANT the keyboard to break, if only because it would stop the noise. It doesn’t break though, and his fingers don’t break either. Your resistance has broken though. Once again, you pack your things and move on to the next table.
Next up, a guy wearing his headphones, looking intently at his laptop screen, seemingly shut off to the outside world. Surely this guy’s fine?
It goes well for the first few minutes. He’s in his own world, your head is buried in your books, and for once, you progress past the first page of your readings. Then, just as you reach for your water bottle, you catch a glimpse of his screen. “Liverpool 3 — 0 Arsenal”, the scoreboard reads.
Oh gosh, it’s Gamer Dude and he’s playing Football Manager. You smile to yourself for a second, because you know the scoreline you just saw only happens in computer games, and that Arsenal is a better team than Liverpool. But then you frown when you remember that you have a paper to write, and this guy is distracting you.
You try your best to ignore him, but with every goal his Liverpool team scores, he half-rises from his chair and does a fist-pump. With every poor refereeing decision, you watch as his face contorts with disbelief and anger. Even though he’s not actually making any noise, you are highly distracted. And also highly envious. Why does this guy have nothing to do when you have a paper, a tutorial and a set of readings to complete in two days? And why does he have to do it in the Study Room?
As questions start popping up all over in your head, you realize you have subconsciously started packing, and you’re looking for another seat. Just when you think the Study Room could not possibly contain more annoying characters, you smell something in the air.
It’s not Summit “cai fan”, it’s something much, much worse. You look up and you see THEM. It’s the Jocks Who Don’t Bathe After Exercise. They plonk their shoe bags on your table, and proceed to sit opposite you. At this point, you’re holding your breath because they really stink, and you’ve been warned about the health effects of inhaling second-hand body odour. You fear for your lungs, and you think they might start decomposing if you continue breathing in this cocktail of sweat/mud/grass/who-knows-what-else. Holding your breath is not conducive for doing any reading, and so you hurriedly pack your stuff and move to another table.
There’s a girl seated across you, and she seems to be doing her tutorial. Good. Hopefully you finally found someone who won’t distract you, you think. Peace and quiet, at last.
Suddenly, two tables away from you, a senior tells off the Inseparable BFF’s, telling them to “keep it down”, not realizing that he himself is making a lot of noise. It’s the Angsty Senior.
Having been in Law School for a couple of years, he feels like he’s a fixture in the Study Room, despite not being put in there to enhance the value of the property (sorry Year 1’s, you’ll get this joke next year). He also feels he has the right to tell off anybody who disrupts the peace and quiet of the Study Room. To be fair, he does, but you feel he should not do it at a volume that would be equivalent to the very activity he frowns upon.
Just when you’re about to give up and head to the Library, the girl across the table offers you a sweet. You accept it, and smile at her to thank her. She notices you’re doing the same assignment as she is, and offers to discuss it with you outside. She then lends you some articles she’s printed for the paper she’s doing, and also e-mails you her muggers that her senior passed to her.
Finally, after enduring the 6 (Annoying) People You Meet in the Study Room, you come across the PERFECT LAW SCHOOL STUDY-BUDDY*. You smile to yourself, complete the paper, and go home. Maybe the Study Room ain’t that bad after all!
Note: The PERFECT LAW SCHOOL STUDY-BUDDY is a mythical creature and does not exist. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely impossible.
Article contributed by: Eddy Hirono (Law 3), thanks to Ho Pey Yann (Law 3) for helping me to brainstorm the characters because I hardly spend any time in the Study Room.
Photography by: Joyce Ng (Law 2)
*Special thanks to our annoying people: Year Ones: Darren Tan, Ian Matthew Shan, Anil Shergill, Kevin Chua; Year Twos: Thiam Jia Min, Valerie Koh, Tay Jingxi, Kenneth Kong, Alvan Quek; Year Threes: Neo Eng Hong Angus, Eddy Hirono.