BTC in bite-size
The everyday routine in Kent Ridge campus can lull you into a steady, comforting rhythm of student life. You wake up in hall, take a short walk or bus ride to your faculty, have lunch in all the familiar eateries, visit UTown for a spot of studying, and then head back for dinner in the dining hall and repeat it all again the next day. But every so often, you chance upon an Instagram story of some friends studying amidst colonial buildings, tall wooden doors and grassy quads, and you think: how can I live that ✨ dark academia ✨ lifestyle too?
In 2005, NUS Law and other research institutes took over the Bukit Timah Campus from the former Raffles College, and have populated the halls of these colonial buildings since. Don’t be fooled, however, the orange-tiled buildings you see in pictures of NUS Law are merely the view and all undergraduate classes are actually held in Block B, a five-story modern building that faces the upper quad.
While classrooms in Block B are rather conducive, most students prefer to study in the many common areas along the corridors to study at, with power outlets at almost every table. This also gives easy access to the vending machines to satisfy all your peckish impulses, located at levels 3 and 5. As a general note, noise is not preferred in any of these common areas, but it is more acceptable to have louder conversations on levels 1 and 2 than the rest, at which most people are focussing intensely on their work. But beware, the saying that law school is ‘as cold as a mental hospital’ is more than just a nifty punchline – bring a jacket, or better yet, a fur coat.
Although repetitive, the convenience of the Summit canteen usually trumps in debates over where to get lunch from. Home to the famous Sin Kee Chicken Rice and a killer new Western food stall, the canteen is a fine place to lament over unfair grading, tiring workloads or your seriously messed-up sleep schedule – over pretty decent food no less! Other crowd favourites include the Zha Jiang Mian from the Noodles stall and, of course, the kopi and teh-bing from the Drinks stall (a.k.a. the lifeblood of those studying here). All this being said, I’d advise you to stay away from the Mala stall. Not only is it served with an ominously grey colour, it has been known to have given more than a handful of people a pretty gnarly stomach ache. You have been warned!
Feeling the post-lunch sianness? Not ready to get back to studying? Take a walk around the upper and lower quads! The grounds have a wonderful mix of outdoor and indoor spaces to walk and talk about, while maintaining the serenity of a closed campus with the buildings encircling the grassy patches. Strolls down to the lower quad often include encounters with the friendly black cat that stays outside the Oei Tiong Ham Building, around the bamboo area. This friendly face is frequently a welcome sight, after an exhausting day of sitting at your computer complaining about how much work you have to do, and not doing it. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, you can always stroll to Botanic Gardens, located just a stone's throw away from the campus. Just head down the winding paths near the Li Ka Shing Building to enjoy a nice saunter in the Gardens below while soaking in the greenery.
Credits: keropok.com (we don't plagiarise here!)
By day’s end, enjoy the warm glow of sunset on the white walls, and long shadows spilling across the quad. The good thing about being in such a central location is that Orchard or Bukit Timah are just a short bus ride away! Dinners at Guzman y Gomez at Serene Centre, or Hom Aroy Thai in Coronation Plaza, always hit different, just before catching the last BTC bus back to KR.
So, the next time you find yourself interested in heading over to the Bukit Timah Campus for a change of scene, keep these pointers in mind! And on a last note, don’t forget to dress up and take a couple of fit pics while you’re there!