By Lynn Hong (18A13A)
(Obviously to the lecture theatre. Don’t skip lectures, kids.)
A certain Orwell once said, “All lecture theatres were created equal, but some are more equal than others.” Indeed, this hallowed adage is true of our own institution. Today Raffles Press presents the definitive score card of the most important places in the school (second only to the canteen), the nexus of school life around which we all revolve – the lecture theatres.
We of course begin with the big brother of them all: Lecture Theatre 1. A 400-seat LT, it clearly exemplifies the maxim “go big or go home”. You are not, in fact, allowed to leave the school compound before 12.30pm, so we turn to the former.
Almost the whole student body has lectures at LT 1, so it presents a good opportunity for you to maintain awkward eye contact with your once-OG-mate-now-passing-acquaintance, to scream and wave at old friends or to stare creepily at random people. In all seriousness, lectures in LT 1 can help you build some visual recognition of the rest of your batch, especially for those taking the less common subject combinations.
Sleep rating: 8/10
Its large seating capacity makes it one of the easiest places for you to blend in – one more speck of white slumped unconscious amongst a sea of sleep-deprived Rafflesians – but it does also up the stakes of being called out. Your moment of glory will probably also be immortalised on Panopto, in the form of your lecturer passive-aggressively identifying you through the microphone. This writer was also reliably informed that certain subject lecturers ask students questions during lectures to keep them on their toes, so you might want to think twice before nodding off.
However, with full consideration of the fact that Rafflesians tend to be an overcommitted bunch running on a highly worrying combination of insufficient sleep and too much caffeine, this is one of the better opportunities for a quick power nap if you absolutely must. Just be honest with yourself – you aren’t going to review what you missed on Panopto.
Chances of getting a functioning seat: 7/10
Working LT tables are like good friends, supporting you in all your academic endeavours. LT 1 is one of the better maintained lecture theatres, so that means tolerably functional tables and chairs.
Additionally, the sheer volume of human traffic through LT 1 means it accrues some of the most interesting table graffiti, the one true conduit of student discourse. Before the tables were mostly wiped clean last year, this writer was witness to a conversation about certain individuals’ romantic pursuits and an advertisement selling a classmate.
This is the lecture theatre nearest the canteen. However, only one of its many exits commands this advantage, so be prepared to elbow your way to victory and shorter queues.
Student consensus points to LT 2 as the best lecture theatre, and it is not difficult to see why. If LT 1 is the domineering older sibling, LT 2 is the gentle and nurturing family favourite with its general cleanliness, more pleasant lighting, and moderate dimensions. The accolades bestowed upon LT 2 are numerous, from its designation as the showcase LT for visitors to the school, to having two of the only working pianos in the school.
Sleep rating: 7/10
LT 2 boasts Goldilocks proportions: big enough to afford anonymity should you need to nap, and small enough to be conducive to concentration. Lectures are available on Panopto.
Chance of getting a functioning seat: 9/10
A combination of lower usage and consistent maintenance means that LT 2 boasts an admirable proportion of functioning seats and tables.
LT 2 offers easy access to the canteen, Blocks A and B, and the amphitheatre (for those inclined towards recreational physical activity).
Without mincing words, this LT is rather dubious. From the outset, its entrance is partially hidden at the end of a corridor sandwiched between classrooms.
Upon entering you are greeted by the sight of a broken piano, before taking a seat on what is, inevitably, a squeaky chair with a wobbly table. The projector mutinies. On bad days, it is filled with strange smells.
Alright, perhaps this is a slight exaggeration. It’s not all doom and gloom. In defence of the piano, Laura Ann Chan (18A13A) says “You can’t hate on it because it’s broken. I’m broken.” Others take a similarly charitable view towards it, calling it “filthy, but cosy”. Further, it has been said that occasionally, the strange odours are replaced by the overpowering scent of air freshener, which might be marginally better.
Sleep rating: 4/10
LTs 3, 4 and 5 can be more closely approximated to the seminar rooms, with the depth of roughly two classrooms. This naturally implies that slacking off undetected could be more difficult, but as per our FIRE value of Fortitude, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Do note that lectures are unlikely to be recorded on Panopto, so you will have to make up the lost ground on your own.
Chances of getting a functioning seat: 4/10
The consensus amongst students is that the facilities here are suspect to say the least, relative to the bigger LTs.
Embedded within A block, this is arguably the easiest LT to rush to, within sprinting distance of two staircases and the lifts. However, the combination of the hidden entrance and its distance from the canteen hurts its rating.
LT 4 and LT 5
No, the writer did not simply get lazy and combine the two LTs. These are like the middle children, or the Weasley twins – you can’t tell them apart, and can’t be bothered to. They are on par with LT 3 in almost every respect, but the writer would edge LT 4 slightly in front as it presents a refreshing change of scenery, facing the sculpture gardens and with windows which open into the Art Room.
LT 6: Yes, It Exists Too
You would be entirely justified in forgetting about its existence, tucked away in J Block, nearer the highway than to the rest of the school. Not much is known about this exotic locale, except that it is rumoured to be the nesting ground of the elusive subspecies of Rafflesian known as the Humanities Student.
Sleep rating: 4/10
This LT is comparable in size to LT 3, and lecture groups are small. You rely on the good grace of your lecturers (who can most definitely see you) to catch another five winks. As expected, Panopto will not be there to rescue you when CTs come around.
Chances of getting a functioning seat: 5/10
Choosing seats in LT 6 is like a game of Minesweeper. The teachers have nicknamed the first row of seats the “high achievers row”. It is usually left empty. The rest of the seats generally suffer the same ills as LT 3’s seats, with squeaky chairs betraying your listless fidgeting and the tempestuous tables deciding whether or not you will still have a functioning computer tomorrow. All in all, there’s no place like home for Humanities students.
Another striking feature about this LT is its one orange coloured wall, strangely out of step with the school’s green-black-white corporate colour scheme. Perhaps a sign of impending secession?
The movement of HP students from LT 1 to back to J Block after common Mathematics and Economics lectures can be likened to the great migration across the savannahs. At least this LT is rather near the canteen.
Bonus: Mini LT
“It’s just a glorified tutorial room”, came the damning indictment from Soh Ying Qi (18A01C). Its proximity to the D block classrooms furthers the case that it may simply be a humble tutorial room aspiring beyond its place in the school.
Sleep rating: 3/10
This might be the worst LT to sleep in. It is not only the size of an tutorial room, but also has wall to wall mirrors along the sides. All the better for studying, but tough luck if you’re aiming to catch a snooze.
This writer was surprised by the vehemence of opinions on the facilities. With such frequent reports of suspect IT equipment, this is perhaps IT support’s most frequented location in the school. Further, its dual function as an exam venue might be an inconvenience, as the tables do not come with metal grilles underneath for convenient storage of files and unread lecture materials. On the upside, all the seats and tables are functional, giving it a significant leg up over all the other LTs.
This LT commands a clear, strategic view of the pick-up point and boasts an unparalleled proximity to the parade square, but unless you have a first-block lecture there, it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
Despite its proximity to the parade square on Level 1M, it is technically situated on Level 2. But you can’t take the D block lifts to Level 2 to get there. You need to walk down the stairs from D block to Level 1M, before walking back up to Level 2. We therefore conclude that the Mini LT exists in a twilight zone, hovering mysteriously between these two levels.
As much as this article attempts to rank and compare LTs by their ease of sleep, functionality of facilities and accessibility, perhaps our perspective is the most important factor. The ELL students, whose lectures have been relocated from LT 3 to the Mini LT, were hardly singing praises of LT 3 last year. After the shift, in the words of Abigail Ang (18S06B), many of them have “never appreciated LT 3 as much as they do now”. To even have so many locations as to constitute a 2000 word long article must say something about the range of facilities we have.