By Bryan Ling (17S06C)
Take a stroll around Raffles at any time of the day and I’d wager you’d find at least one or two students who’ve had a recent visit from the Sandman. In lecture theatres or in classrooms, from the library to the windy benches, school seems to be the average student’s favourite place to sleep, outside of (presumably) their own beds.
For those who inadvertently doze off during tutorials or lectures, the reason seems clear – a combination of long nights and even longer days, cumulating in a coma of fatigue, that try as they might, they cannot fight off. But what about those who choose to catch some rest in the mornings before assembly? There’s a surprisingly clear divide present during the wee hours of the day.
In the canteen and around the parade square, OGs and friends gather, valuing the precious interaction time before the start of school. But one only has to wander a little farther from these popular meeting spots to find an entirely different side of RI – students desperately trying to catch some rest in preparation for the long day ahead.
Sleep deficiency is a serious problem among Singaporeans, with studies estimating that as high as one in three persons is getting so little sleep as to adversely affect their health. Among Rafflesians, the most common reason cited for staying up late was studying or doing homework. It seems that all the civics and assembly talks in the world still haven’t solved the eternal problem of student procrastination and inefficiency.
As a consequence of my myopia, I tend to look at things in the short run. If the root cause of late nights for students has yet to be addressed, what are the best places for students catch up on rest in school? I present
Sleep Go Where?
As a disclaimer, please note that overall ratings are subjective and are merely reflective of my personal feelings about each area. I go more into detail about the specific qualities of each area in the review, which is hopefully a bit more objective.
Headdesks – resting position where one places their head on a table
Fulllie – fully lying horizontally
Area: Canteen Main Section
Bright and vibrant, the canteen is where majority of the students gravitate towards in the mornings and after school. But its usefulness as an area of rest is dubious at best. For one thing, canteen tables are sometimes (understandably) dirty or wet due to their frequent and intended use as a place to eat, and thus headdesks might shy away from here. Benches are practically limitlessly available, which might be an attraction for fullies. For those sleeping in the mornings, the close proximity to the parade square will prove convenient, though this slight boon is offset by the large amounts of activity at this time.
Personally, I would avoid sleeping here whenever possible, as comfort and noise are my primary criteria. Besides this, I feel that there are more superior places to sleep relatively nearby.
Side Area: HP Canteen
HP canteen is slightly more conveniently located for morning sleepers, and tends to be less crowded. Benches are traded for backed chairs here, and the table are typically slightly cleaner, making it more appealing to headdesks and sitters. Comfortable side booths are also available which can be an extremely cozy place to rest. Overall, if you must sleep in the canteen, this seems to be the best place for it.
Side Area: Side Canteen (nearer to Gryphon Square)
This section of the canteen is again less crowded but still suffers from the problems of hygiene that the main canteen tables have, as well as being less convenient overall. A possible positive for it is that it’s located near the toilets, if that somehow matters at all.
Side Area: Umbrella Tables
Relatively clean and quiet. Retains accessibility of the canteen. Usually available. Only headdesks will be able to fully utilize this, unfortunately.
Area: Council Canteen (Locker Tables)
One of my favourite places to sleep, the council canteen offers a quiet and comfortable environment. It’s a little out of the way, but is about as accessible as the canteen, and the staircase right next to it allows for morning sleepers to rush up for assembly quickly should you happen to oversleep. There’s usually space available, though unlucky fulllies may not be able to secure a full length to lie down on, making this more optimal for headdesks.
In recent days there’s been a somewhat worrying trend of groups gathering at the locker tables in the mornings to have loud conversations, though overall the main crowd seems to be people doing homework, and thus in general it remains quiet. The tables nearer to the house lockers remains a safe haven, and is even dimly lit for better sleeping.
Area: Windy Benches
Rating: 1/5 (in mornings) 3/5 (in afternoons)
As the name suggests, the area is quite cooling, especially in the afternoon. A hotspot for studying, fullies will be hard pressed to obtain space required, though headdesks will find it adequate. Special mention to the charging ports available. A little too far out to be practical in the mornings, but some may find it ideal in the afternoons.
Area: Stone Benches
Top marks for privacy and quiet, but accessibility is debatable. Though technically situated relatively close to key focal points of the school such as the canteen, it does seem a little out of the way when compared to class/lecture routes. Only usable by headdesks. Some may find the stone table surface uncomfortable – consider using a jacket as a cushion.
Area: Rajaratnam Block
Practically unusable in the mornings. I must admit I have a soft spot for this place due to having spent many scouts camps out on the Raffles Green. Fullies will be pleasantly surprised to find that the curved seats allow for one to lie down fully across two benches. Charging ports available, and usually quite cooling. Late night users beware, for an almost unbelievable amount of bugs and insects tend to gather in the evenings.
Experience varies depending on your class, but the tables and chairs available make it extremely flexible for making makeshift beds to your liking. Air conditioning is a huge plus too. If it’s your homeroom, you can even stock up on pillows to maximise comfort – but again, you’re at the mercy of your class with regards to noise levels, and may find your class to be more remote than you like.
Rating: Don’t do this.
Look, I know how it is. You’re tired after a hardcore mugging session, and the peace, quiet, and air conditioning of the library are oh so tempting. But it’s not allowed. So don’t do it.
Area: Lecture Theatre
Rating: Don’t do this.
Pretty uncomfortable, given the cramped seats and tables available, but at the very least air conditioned. Lecturer may serve as a sleeping aid in dire cases.