Kent Ridgeans: Why they Come, Why they Stay, and Why they Keep Coming Back
It is no secret that Kent Ridge Hall holds a very special place in its residents’ hearts. The times spent here will live on to be some of our best memories, and the friendships forged here are some of the best friendships we’ll ever make. In fact, they will be some of the few friendships that can stand the test of time. But what is it about Hall that attracts freshies every year, makes FYFs want to stay till Year 4, and keeps the alumni coming back? To find out more, I decided to interview some of our Final Year Friends (FYFs) as well as some alumni, and this is what they’ve shared.
Our relationships are Say Real No Jus
KR is a community that not only gathers like-minded people, but is also a place where, over time, residents come to share similar beliefs and values. It is a place where people share the same interests as well as face similar problems (in school). In a way, this creates an environment where we can connect with one another much more honestly and openly, and do so much more quickly as well. It is a place where we meet friends who are there for us when we are at our lowest, and a place where we stay up late into the night, sharing the problems we face in hall or in school, and discussing these issues with those who truly care. It is through these genuine interactions that real friendships are forged. The outside world has too many people of varied backgrounds and value systems, and while it is not impossible, it is definitely more difficult to open up so quickly, be yourself, and connect with others on a deep, genuine level.
We go through thick and thin
In university, most of us are at that age where we are trying to establish and define who we are, and KR gives us an opportunity to do just that. When we come in as freshies, we are given the chance to try any sport, culture group or committee we want, regardless of our experience, and with this comes the opportunity to go through the highest of highs and lowest of lows with the friends we know and love. We put in buckets of sweat and aches and injuries all over our bodies, all for that one chance to do KR proud on the court or on the stage. We endure countless late nights to make KR the place it is, by coming up with the best Open Day booths, running the best orientation camps, or simply taking care of each other’s welfare and interests. When we look back, it doesn’t matter if we clinched that IHG medal, put up the best performance on stage or raised the most funds for charity. What matters is that we did what we loved most, with the people we love most, and for the people we love most.
These experiences are exclusive to us and give us a sense of solidarity, and are what keep residents and alumni coming back year after year to continue contributing however they can to their areas of passion.
We hit our “peaks” and we don’t want to come down
Living our day to day lives with the many people we meet in hall means that we make lots of friends, many of whom seem close at first glance. However, as time passes and paths diverge, we learn that many relationships can be fleeting, and this teaches us how precious the few people that we actually form a real and deep connection with really are. KR gives us the opportunity to eat, sleep, train and HTHT every single day with these friends we hold so dear, and it’s a lifestyle that is hard to let go of. To quote Lexine, an FYF from D Block, “It’s like you get high, and you don’t ever want to come back to reality.”
We Give because we Receive
Being a dedicated member of KR is no easy feat. Having to attend hall events, block events, be involved in a number of CCAs, and support our friends during IHG, performances and orientation activities takes up plenty of time. Try to balance this with our schoolwork and internships and we often find ourselves sacrificing lots of sleep. So why in the world do people choose to stay until they’re Year 4? To quote a certain anonymous FYF, “I had a really good Hall experience because my seniors provided an environment that I really loved, and I would love to be able to do that for the rest of the Hall as well. Every year, Hall goes through the same old things, but for the freshies, everything is brand new, and I feel it’s the responsibility of the seniors to carry on that sort of suspense and excitement.” He went on to share how KR is a community where we support each other’s events, and organise events knowing that our friends will come support us as well. Making KR the exciting family it is isn’t easy for anyone, but we all do it anyway because without some other senior putting in the effort, we wouldn’t have the chance enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Sometimes, we forget how fortunate we are to be able to spend our daily lives with our best friends, pursuing the things we are passionate about. For many of us, university is a transition period from students/NSFs to full-time working adults, and this is a time filled with uncertainty. KR gives us a sense of safety and belonging, and more importantly, molds us and shapes us into the individuals we will become in the future. It is for this reason that many alumni choose to come back even after graduating – to reminisce the times that played a big part in making them who they are, and to watch their younger friends blossom the same way they did. We all know that time flies in uni, so before it all comes to an end, let’s stop and appreciate the opportunities we’re given, and consider the legacy we could leave behind. KR might be a home for us now, but it is a home that we all eventually have to leave, and we should cherish it while we can.
Special thanks to:
Soh Chui Pin
Ho Wen Jun