• Katherine Pan

Untold Tales of My Freshmen Year (College Stories)

My fondest freshmen memories include board game nights, my ex-boyfriend, and mental breakdowns. I moved away from my strict Asian parents and lived on campus without their influence. School was tough but coming back to my friends and partner made the day a lot easier. I have discussed in detail about facing imposter syndrome (click here if you want to read it!), but I never spilled the tea about my freshmen year.

Unlike other students, I did not go clubbing or drank excessively although I wanted to participate in these activities :( (Source)

Insects and Nasty Neighbors

Oh boy, I have seen the weirdest and nastiest insects in my dorm. Located near a deeply forested area, numerous insects populate the region. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, with the largest I have seen about half the size of a pen. Many times, these insects would decorate the walls of hallways and stay there for days. I wonder if they are still alive because they do not move from their positions and I am way too scared to find out.

The window is wide open but bugs fly everywhere except out. (Source: memes_you.need on Instagram)

My ex-boyfriend and I were hanging out in my room one morning when my neighbor knocked on my room. She was frantically looking for help because there was a massive cockroach in her room. We went over to her room and to our horror, the cockroach was the size of an air pod pouch. Weathering the storm, my ex-boyfriend went into her room while we stood outside giving moral support. There were moments when the cockroach flew in our direction and we screamed in fear. Thankfully, it did not fly to us and it remained in the room. Sensing how distraught my neighbor was, I tried to comfort her.

As the cockroach tried to escape capture, it flew into my neighbor’s pillowcase! We were mortified because the cockroach was crawling all over her pillow. At this juncture, another neighbor opened her door. She screamed at us for being obnoxious and affecting her ability to concentrate on her schoolwork. Before I could explain ourselves, she slammed the door in our faces. We were utterly shocked at her lack of manners and disrespect. I was not mad at her screaming at us, but her anger does not justify slamming the door in our faces. I have not seen that neighbor since then, but I do hope that she faces a cockroach infestation problem.

With the cockroach nested within the pillowcase, my neighbor decided to throw out the pillow. We followed as my ex-boyfriend took the pillow out to the trash to dispose of it. At the disposal area, we were bewildered to find the cockroach missing when we removed the pillowcase. We guessed that the cockroach escaped while we were on the way to the disposal area without us noticing. We were hoping that it did leave my neighbor’s room if not our efforts would have been for naught!

How I Met My Ex-Boyfriend

This was probably one of the most frequently asked questions that I get. We got to know each other through a hall event called Not-So-Secret Partner. The event would pair two strangers in hopes that the pair would develop a friendship.

Interestingly, I almost did not sign up for this event. I was skeptical because of the low chances of being paired with a compatible friend. I questioned whether I wanted to invest the time and effort in someone that may remain as an acquaintance. Eventually, I caved in and signed up for the event because curiosity got the better of me. I mean, the worst-case scenario is just me wasting my time and I do this daily anyway.

Jokes aside, our relationship was mostly great and I do not regret it. (Source)

The sign-up form required us to indicate which gender we would prefer our partners to be. I wanted to select females because I had the impression that women would put in more effort to sustain the friendship. Ultimately, I chose both genders and because I wanted to keep my options open.

One week later, I got my match! He was the first to reach out and we agreed to meet at the foyer. Although the meet-up was short, it gave us a good gauge of our chemistry and compatibility as friends. Little did I know that he thought I was from China! My text messages had an awkward sentence structure which formed that impression. Well, starting this website has improved my writing and I hope that my English has improved.

We exchanged gifts a week later and I did not want to spend on an acquaintance. Thus, I gave him free gifts that I got from other people! Yes, I am a cheapskate, and this is embarrassing to admit. I did tell him about it later and thankfully we laughed it off. Meanwhile, his gift was thoughtful and personalized. He got me school supplies and wrote a card that contained puns because he thought I liked them. His gift sparked my feelings for him because of his sincerity and thoughtfulness. Although women may like bad boys, I think it is more attractive when males show effort and consideration.

Riding GrabWheels Before It Got BANNED

My friends would meet on selected weekdays as we were part of a board game interest group. One night, my friend suggested that we try the rental e-scooters from Grab. She thought that the e-scooters were a convenient way for us to get around on campus.

For context, the campus shuttle buses were always fully packed as students rushed to the next venue for lessons. There were numerous times when I could not get on the shuttle bus because there were simply too many people. A molestation case even took place on the shuttle bus! (Click here to read the news article). Although I can walk the distance, it would take me 15 minutes and I will still be late for class. Hence, rental e-scooters were an attractive alternative.

The number of sexual harassment cases in NUS is ridiculous. (Source)

After the board game session, we went to the bus terminal where the rental scooters were at. The scooter prices were reasonable, charging $0.50 every 30 minutes with a speed limit of 10km/h. Riding e-scooters are meant to be intuitive and I think it is easier if you know how to ride bikes. Unfortunately, I never learned how to cycle so I struggled to balance on the e-scooter. My first 30 minutes were spent achieving my balance. Well, I did not want to lose control and crashing into the sideway or collide with other vehicles on the road. With 30 minutes of experience under my belt, it was time for us to take the e-scooter to the road.

To start, we began on flat terrain by riding from the PGP bus terminal to business school. The ride was relatively smooth and there were few vehicles on the road as it was midnight. Although I did struggle to control my e-scooter, there were no major hiccups. With the first challenge complete, we decided to try riding on slight terrains.

NUS is built on a ridge thus many roads on campus are built on uneven terrains. The road from PGP to Kent Ridge Station has probably the steepest incline on campus. I estimate the incline to be 30 degrees, and it feels like a rollercoaster ride while on the shuttle bus. My friends that could cycle conquered the incline easily without losing their balance. Meanwhile, the rest of us dismounted to push our e-scooters instead because it was too difficult. There were moments when I was able to ride down the incline and it was super fun feeling the adrenaline and midnight breeze. We continued our journey to NUH and decided to turn back as most areas on campus were closed.

Before the e-scooter ban, GrabWheel often held roadshows on campus and gave out free bubble tea. I am a huge sucker for bubble tea, so I participated in the roadshow whenever I saw it. I mean, who can resist free food?

I estimate that I drink about 100 cups of bubble tea every year and that is $600. (Source)


My college stories are much tamer in comparison to others. Drinking and partying are heavily intertwined with the college experience and part of me does feel that I missed out. Puking in the toilet bowl and getting hangovers do not sound attractive but college may be one of the best times to experience it.


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