Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's that time of the year again. 

With EYAs drawing near, there's nothing more important to me now than studying even though there's so many other things on my mind as well. I'm sacrificing a few other commitments just for the sake of studying. I know this sounds extremely mugger/ stereotypical-RGS-like, but I truly can't afford screwing up my end-of-years considering how badly I did for my mid-years (trust me, I did terribly for it) and I don't think I did particularly well for all the projects we've recently submitted. I can't stand seeing my parents disappointed and more importantly I can't stand regretting my own's actions (or inaction) after all that's been done.

September holidays is really just a week for hardcore studying, and I'm quite happy to say that I think I did pretty well so far in terms of sticking to my schedule and just feeling productive and good about myself. Except for Math, I really despise that subject but I'm starting to welcome it. Starting. So yes, from Monday-Wednesday, I was just stuck at home, alone, with my books and worksheets and academic material. Not just that, I had my refrigerator, my bed, and worse, my Internet connection! Yes, I did manage to be rather productive but I think I could have done much much much better without all those horrible distractions - putting on a few extra kilos, getting unnecessary snooze time and watching excessive Youtube videos. To add to that, I was feeling extremely bored starring at the white walls of my house. I needed to go out but I needed to study too. 

The perfect plan? To go out to study! I have never done this before but have always wanted to. I always feared that my productivity level will be really low and it would be a wasted trip out of the house. Also, although I absolutely loved walking around and going places alone, I constantly feel judged whenever I do that and that might possibly prove to be a large distraction if I were to study alone outside. But, if you never try, you'll never know! Studying outside might just be the perfect option for me. Before embarking on my study journey outside today, I did some research on the best places to study in Singapore and the popular choices were cafés, fast food restaurants, libraries and Changi Airport. 

Today, I decided to go to three out of the four places listed above (although I very much would like to go to Changi Airport - in fact, I've been raving about wanting to go there for the past month or so - it's a bit out of the way and extremely inconvenient) to find out which is actually the best place to study in Singapore. For those people who are facing the same dilemma as I did recently (not knowing whether to go out to study/ not knowing where exactly is a good place to study outside), here's my review of the three places I visited - a Starbucks Coffee shop, a Mcdonald's restaurant and a library - all located at the Bugis area so that it'd be convenient for myself. Bugis is about 8 MRT stations from my place, which isn't that bad considering the range of amenities it offers. 

Study Journey! 

Study Place #1 - Cafe! (Starbucks)  
(spent 2 hours 10 minutes there; 11.30AM - 1.40PM) 
Started the study journey with the Starbucks outlet located at Bugis Junction. I took special care to make sure that there weren't many people there so that I could get a nice table and seat to study and won't be a hated table hogger. I personally confess that I'm not a huge fan of Starbucks - the products are overpriced and overrated but it's supposedly one of the best places to study so I had to try it. Got a Grande Chocolate Chip Creme Frauppuccino and headed to study. The place wasn't very crowded, but all the seats inside the outlet were taken, so I sat outside, which was surprisingly good! 

Managed to get a table and chair which gave me a good amount of space to do my work as it could fit my notebook, my pencilcase and my drink with excess space. There were many seats left so I didn't feel particularly conscious about being inconsiderate. The ambience was actually really good - the famous Bugis water fountain made sounds that were calming to my ears and there was a nice cooling breeze. It was a bit awkward being sandwiched between two working men but that's a pretty minor problem. 

Cost: My drink was an overpriced $7 
Noise Level: Not a major problem, fairly peaceful with occasional phone-calling by other customers
Lighting: Light came from the sun outdoors so it was conducive but the interior is pretty dark, if you ask me.
Productivity Level: Wrote 7 pages of notes on French Revolution, started and covered all of the French Revolution topics that I needed to study. 
Overall: Very conducive and productive, would have stayed for a longer time if I didn't need to use the washroom so desperately!

Study Place #2 - Fast Food Restaurant (McDonald's)  
(spent 1 hour 52 minutes there; 1.51PM - 3.43PM) 
After my washroom break from Starbucks, I headed to McDonald's for lunch (and to study of course) - it's the Bugis Junction branch, directly opposite the Starbucks outlet. It was kind of crowded, but there were quite a few seats and tables outside vacant, so I got my Fillet-O-Fish meal and headed outside again (I was getting used to the ambience of Bugis, especially the water sounds from the fountain) 

The space wasn't too bad, the table was about the same size as the Starbucks' one, so it was huge enough to fit the tray and all my studying materials. My only qualm was that the seat was a tad too short, so it was a bit uncomfortable to eat in the weird position with my hands having to stretch higher to reach for stuff on the table, not to mention write and study. The location of McDonald's made it less breezy than the Starbucks area, but that can easily be overlooked since the weather today was good. Due to the nature of the food they serve, the area attracted a fair number of flies which was a bit irritating but they are quite harmless so I didn't bother about them after a while. 

Cost: My fillet-o-fish meal was $5
Noise Level: Well, it's a fast food restaurant after all, what do you expect? (: Fair bit of screaming, laughter and loud chattering. I'm the type who is able to ignore such noises so it didn't really affect me although I'd very much prefer a quieter environment. 
Lighting: Was sitting outside again, so the light came from the sun. 
Productivity Level: Wrote 5 pages of notes on Russian Revolution, was having lunch at the same time and getting a bit lethargic.
Overall: Not as conducive and productive in comparison to Starbucks, although in the same amount of time at home, I'd won't be able to cover this much because I'd be walking around the house or sleeping at this hour. Oh, and a plus point was that this place offered eye candy - hot ang moh sitting across eating a McFlurry! 8) 

Study Place #3 - Library (The National Library)
(spent 2 hour 10 minutes there; 3.58PM - 6.08PM) 
After leaving McDonald's because it was getting a bit too crowded for my liking and people were looking for seats so I didn't want to hog a table when I had already finished my food, I took a leisurely walk down the street to the National Library (yes that majestic building), the last and final study place I was going to explore today. By then, I was already feeling quite productive yet extremely tired. 

Headed to Basement 1 where the Central Lending Library was located. I expected myself to roam around without a table for a while but I was lucky enough to get one. It was a shared rectangle table with other library users - mainly studying teenagers and newspaper-reading elderly. The table was the best out of the ones I used today. It was spacious and very clean. To be honest, I should have just went to the library in the morning and studied there the entire day but it's okay, my experimenting was worthwhile! The ambience there was the most conducive, with air-con and everyone there had the same purpose as myself - to gain knowledge through some way or another. One thing I loved was that the library had an outdoor area with trees and other green stuff where there were stone benches so if people were getting too stressed out studying with work-centered white walls and white tables, they could take a breather conveniently. 

Cost: No cost, but no food too!
Noise Level: Pin drop silence, literally. 
Lighting: Brightly and purposefully lit, perfect for people to read, study etc. 
Productivity Level: Wrote 3 pages of notes on Russian Revolution, covered all of the Russian Revolution topics I needed to study, and completed a Physics Past Year Paper. 
Overall: Super conducive and probably would be extremely productive if it was earlier in the day cos I was feeling really tired by then! 

Overall, my studying trip went really really well, I managed to complete all that I've set out to do which was to start and finish revising all of History! The notes I made today totalled up to 15. Compare this to the 12 pages of Physics notes I made over two whole days and you can tell that studying outside suits me. However, History's my favourite subject, so maybe it goes to show something. If I were to do this again (which I probably will), I will head to the library in the morning first, followed by lunch and then lazing lounging in a cafe. Oh yes, and it also helps that I never ever remember my Wireless@SG password nor have 3G. 

To end off, here's a picture that Ragini made and posted on our batch's Facebook group:
Thank you Ragini, and to everyone out there having a hard time, you're not alone, and you will survive. 

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