A choice of home or hall

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 July, 2005, 12:00am

The distractions of campus life may undermine study

TO LIVE OR not to live in a hall of residence is a choice that every undergraduate must face. Many students see living in a hall of residence as an ideal way to make friends, learn independence and establish a sense of belonging to the university. But there can be a price to pay.

Melanie Li Siu-chuk has just completed her second year at the University of Hong Kong. The English major disagrees with those who think it is difficult to make friends unless you live in a hall of residence.

'I made a lot of friends [in university] although I never stayed in halls. Halls are not the only places to socialise in university. You can meet people and make friends in tutorials and lectures, or by joining extra-curricular activities,' she said.

She prefers to spend the 45 minutes commuting every day from her home in Tsing Yi to living in a hall of residence because she wants to spend more time studying.

'When I entered university, I made a resolution to study hard.

'In my opinion, halls are not a great place for scholars as you need to get really involved in hall activities,' she said.

'I know from other friends' experiences that if you are not involved enough, other hall mates may put pressure on you. Moreover, people who live in halls tend to go to bed late, but I want to have regular study and rest hours.'

Janet Liu Hon-yi, who studies economics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, is a fan of halls of residence and has lived in them for three years.

She said living in halls could help you become more self-sufficient.

'I have become more independent since living in halls. In the past my mum would arrange everything for me and prepare nutritious food and soups when I was sick. But in halls, you are on your own.'

Ms Liu admitted that sometimes the enthusiasm to embrace hall life could turn into an excuse for going to bed late and even neglecting studies. Discipline was necessary to strike a balance between the distractions of hall life and studies, she said.

'That was why when I realised I was procrastinating, I started writing a to-do list every day and forcing myself to get things done each day,' Ms Liu said.