PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 May, 2004, 12:00am

Home & Away

May is a month dreaded by most students at my university.

We are forced to evacuate our residence and clear all the debris, posters and rotting food in the refrigerator.

It is for this reason that I find myself stuffing random knick-knacks into cardboard boxes at three in the morning.

Having already spent 15 hours packing, it feels like I'm drowning in a sea of brown boxes.

Naturally, a question comes to mind: 'Why?' Why do I have so much to pack? I'm not that materialistic, after all.'

The mounting pile of boxes - like dirty laundry glaring ominously from a dark corner in the room - looks ridiculous when I try to quantify what I own.

Clothes don't take up too much space; they can be rolled or folded into any shape you like.

Books, unfortunately, do not have the same flexibility. Class notes are similarly bulky when it comes to storage but arguably disposable.

Adding to my packing woes, of course, are the odd ingredients that spice up any dorm room, such as my Union Jack, Woman-Flower Picasso poster, and decorative fabric that my friend from Kuwait gave me.

Some day, when I have my future mapped out, I plan to have my own house where I will be able to arrange my possessions properly and not be forced to throw anything away.

The problem is that I am beginning to form the bad habit of throwing things away. Tossing something into the bin gives me pleasure - I don't have to think about these things anymore.

The more ripped up these items are, the better.

Indeed, the process of destruction and elimination is somewhat therapeutic.

However, when I get something new, I'm back to square one.

They will be sitting on my shelf again and one day, I'll have to get rid of them.

It's a vicious cycle.

Ms Yeung is a student at the University of Pennsylvania