Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset: Enduring Raja Block Stairs

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By Aiko Yeo (23A01B) and Justin Cheong (23A01C, Peer Helper)

Your resident Aunties and Uncles are back with our Ask Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset column, this time as a collaboration between Raffles Press and Peer Helpers’ Programme (PHP)! Ever wanted to rant about that someone you just can’t stand? Overwhelmed with too many feelings? Submit your confessions to https://tinyurl.com/riadvice and we’ll give them our best shot. This column will be published at the end of every month. 

No cuz why does 7th floor of raja block exist??? Every morning, you have to venture into the faraway land that is the Y1-4 Campus. THEN, you have to climb 7*2=14 flights of stairs. Each flight of stairs have 12 steps! We have no business climbing 12*14= 168 steps at EIGHT IN THE MORNING 😤 Not to mention having to carry ~30 (science class things) lecture notes up 7 floors and we aren’t even allowed to use the lift!

Frustrated Frank

Dear Frustrated Frank,

We completely understand how you feel. As a former Y1-4 student, one of us also had to experience the pain of having to make the daily pilgrimage up to his classroom on the sixth floor for a year. Be it Raja Block or any other block in school, every one of us has to face the dreaded flights of stairs every single morning, hauling our sleep-deprived bodies up seven stories right when we’re at our weakest mentally and physically. 

Of course, Raja Block is probably the worst of the lot: like you mention yourself, dear Frank, the unfortunate J1s assigned there have to climb so many steps while lugging the heaviest of backpacks, just to get to their classroom and suffer for hours more. Everything is made worse by the presence of the lift (so near yet so far), tempting us to step into the comfort of its four walls, before we realise we probably shouldn’t if we don’t want a conduct slip… 

Take your pick between the 2 Raja Block staircases.

Things are further compounded by how far away Raja Block is from just about every block in the school, as well as crucial locations like the canteen and Popular bookstore. Sometimes, when you take ten to fifteen minutes just to walk to the canteen and bring your food back to class, it inevitably feels like you are isolated from the rest of the school.

However, there is a certain comfort to be had in the fact that this suffering will not last forever. In J2, almost all classrooms (except for the Humanities Programme classes) will be located in A Block or B Block, much closer to other classrooms and key locations like the canteen. In these relatively central student buildings, rest assured that there’s also a lower chance of being late!

Just look at where Raja Block is: right on the edge of the Y1-4 campus!

Jokes aside, Raja Block being used for J1 students was an unfortunate side effect of COVID that is most likely here to stay. Thankfully, you’ll just need to grin and bear it for the remainder of this year. Come J2, the treacherous journey up Raja Block will be a non-issue—a forgotten pain of the past. 

Furthermore, is it really that bad to have to climb so many flights every morning? Well, mostly. But there are some hidden joys and benefits that you can glean from this seemingly gargantuan task.

For starters, it really helps with training your personal fitness, as the daily slog helps us build up stamina that will most definitely come in handy during PE lessons and the eventual excruciating 2.4km runs. 

Research has also shown that daily stair-climbing has many cardiovascular benefits, including but not limited to helping us burn calories and lose weight. With the extra weight of the thick Chemistry lecture notes on your shoulders (literally), you will be able to reach the pinnacle of fitness in little to no time.

If scaling seemingly unending staircases in the name of athleticism isn’t enough to persuade you of the blessing-in-disguise that is Raja Block classroom placement, how about finding solace in the shared misery of exercise? Rushing up over a hundred steps to reach your classroom makes for the perfect opportunity to chat with friends you’ve not met for a while as you ascend the highest peaks of RI student buildings. Who knows? Raja Block staircases may well be an unexpected contender for the best place in the RI campus to revive and strengthen friendships.

Not to mention the breathtaking view your eyes behold once you’ve completed your long and exhausting trek up the stairs. The unobstructed panoramic views of the Bishan-Marymount skyline, especially at sunrise, is certainly the rainbow at the end of the storm.

Grand Canyon, who?

And even as you may lament the difficult journey up to class daily, let’s not forget the facilities conveniently located within Raja Block that you may use throughout the day! 

Craving a quick bite during your 25 minute break? Fret not, for many delectable options may be obtained just beneath your classroom. Take your pick between the wide array of bubble tea and cafe meals prepared by the beloved Professor Brawn Cafe, or the dependable “hotbake 24/7” machine that churns out toasty and flavourful sandwiches in a short 90 seconds.

Let these toasted sandwiches warm the cockles of your heart!

Soldier on, Frank! To keep you going, just remember that there are only a few more months remaining before we transition into our second year in RI, and thus only a few more months before this pain will end. Hopefully our advice can make these few months a little more bearable for you, and together we can all become much fitter through our daily journey up the many flights of steps!

Sincerely,
Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset

If you need anyone to talk to about any issues you might be facing, do drop by My Rest Space near Marymount gate and talk to one of our peer helpers! We’re open on Tuesday from 2.30 – 4.30 p.m, Wednesday 11.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m., Thursday 2.30 – 4.30 p.m. and Friday 1.30 – 4.30 p.m. If you would like to meet a peer helper on a regular basis, do email us a request at rafflesinstitutionphp@gmail.com or fill in our request form at our website https://rafflespeerhelpers.wordpress.com

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One thought on “Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset: Enduring Raja Block Stairs”

  1. Raffles press, why are two HP students trying to convince the rest of us plebians that climbing stairs is good for us? This is not a problem that they have to face. As someone who *actually* has to go to Raja block level 7 every day, I feel that this is extremely condescending.

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