Staff Blog: Life Hacks That Insworld Institute Students May Find Useful

Staff Blog: Life Hacks That Insworld Institute Students May Find Useful

Life hacking – out of my many peculiar hobbies and interests, this one’s probably the most (and the only one that is) constructive and gratifying.

To those not familiar with the term, a life hack refers to any novelty method, procedure, shortcut or skill that allows a person to resolve situations or achieve a particular goal with just limited ‘resources.’ So, depending on what you’re trying to achieve, it may involve researching on ongoing discounts and promos, or figuring out how to best deal with some of life’s biggest challenges – like say, making bananas last longer (oh, the humanity).

Anyway. Since we have that commonality of having Singapore as our current residence and the fact that I am aware of the challenges that students normally face, I will be sharing here a few life hacks that I think may be useful to you young gentlemen and ladies of Insworld Institute. If that fails, well…I hope you’ll find this article amusing at least.

So, without any further ado, here they are: life hacks that Insworld Institute students may find useful (or otherwise). Have fun reading!

1. VENUES THAT YOU CAN STUDY IN (WITHOUT BEING CHASED OUT) 

OK, I’ll put on my ‘Captain Obvious’ suit right now and point out that if you’re looking for a place to study outside your own residence, the best option would be any of our public libraries.

Personally, I prefer going to the National Library at 100 Victoria Street – which is in between the Bugis and City Hall MRT stations. On Level 5 of this venue is a “Study Lounge” which is equipped with power sockets (so feel free to bring your laptop) and vending machines. It also offers a nice view overlooking part of the city, so that’s a definite plus.

I also like the fact that this venue has lockers, water coolers, clean bathrooms and a garden area which is ideal for group study. It is also home to the Central Public Library, which offers a wide collection of comic books that you can borrow or read right then and there – making it one of my most favorite places on Earth (what. we all have quirks…don’t judge).

Another cool library to study in would be the library@esplanade. It’s less crowded, quiet and also offers a nice view. Plus, it’s near the Merlion Park and other tourist venues – so that’s an add-on if you fancy strolling after your visit from the library.

national library

The National Library near City Hall is one of the most popular ‘go to’ places among students here in Singapore

If you’re not going to feel weird about it, you can also pack your bags and study at Changi Airport. Yep, you don’t always have to be leavin’ on a jet plane to be going to the airport  – not in Singapore, at least. And I totally get why it has become a norm among students here: it’s safe, it’s clean, it’s nicely-lit, it’s fully air-conditioned and it’s open 24/7.Also, food shops like Panopolis and Krispy Kreme Doughuts not only allow students to study in their venues but also provides them with free WiFi. Do take note, however, that these venues may have conditions or rules to abide by. Also, there are potential downsides to studying in these venues, such as distractions and noises…and putting on extra weight for snacking on Chocolate Ice Glazed Doughnuts (pats belly).

2. BOOKS FOR RENT OR ON THE CHEAP

Without question, our public libraries would still be the best source of references that you can borrow for studying. All you have to really spend on is the membership fee (which is just a small amount, to be honest) and you’ll not only have access to an extensive collection of research materials but also be able to take them home with you for a period of time. Also, the National Library has an “online reservation system” that allows you to book…well, a book in advance for just SGD1.55. This comes in handy when borrowing a “best seller” or a highly in demand material.

That said, it can still happen that the book you’re looking for is unavailable from our public libraries. On such occasions, you can turn to the the Internet and look for an electronic or ebook version – which normally would be much cheaper than its printed counterpart. In fact, you may not even have to spend a penny as some of these versions can be downloaded for free. Do make sure, though, that you download from a legitimate and safe source.

Also, you can download mobile apps such as “carousell” to look for 2nd hand books that other mobile users may be selling. Again, just make sure that you’re purchasing from a legitimate source.

On the subject of 2nd hand books, you can choose to visit local bookstores – such as those in the Bras Basah Complex. Other shops, in fact, offer rental services – though I’ve read that renting out books may be pricey.

3. VISIT MUSEUMS AND EDUCATIONAL VENUES FOR FREE OR ON THE CHEAP

One of my most favourite past times here in Singapore is visiting museums and cultural / educational venues. It’s fun, it’s productive and it doesn’t cost much. In fact, Singapore citizens or PRs can visit these venues for free: Singapore Art Museum, National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum, National Art Gallery (slated to open in November 2015), Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Malay Heritage Centre, Indian Heritage Centre and other venues managed by the National Heritage Board (you may click here to view the full list).

If you’re not a citizen or PR, however, don’t fret. These venues offer discounts or special fee packages for students, you just have to present a valid identification card.

SEA aquarium

Did you know that you can get further discounts on your entrance fee to the S.E.A Aquarium if you hand over an empty plastic bottle upon purchase? This is allows you to save on your budget and the environment at the same time.

Also, these venues would sometimes run promos that would allow you to get further discounts on admission fees. For example, if your purchase a ticket for the S.E.A. Aquarium in Resorts World Sentosa right now, you would get a discount if you present your student pass – and a further discount if you present a used plastic bottle (you may click here for information on this promo).

Get to enjoy such promos this August, which is when the whole of Singapore is set to celebrate “SG5O.” Lots of public attractions (including cultural / educational venues) will be offering huge discounts then – if not free admissions altogether (you may click here to view one such announcement).

4. MORE FOOD FOR LESS…

Without a doubt, food can take a big bite out of your budget and allowance – especially if you’re a big fan of it (like myself). So what I often do is I buy food items from supermarkets rather than from shops, vending machines or food stalls – especially for small items like drinks.

I mean, if you don’t mind queuing or waiting a bit more to quench your thirst, you would definitely save a great deal or get more if you purchase from a supermarket. Like, how much is a can of drink from vending machines or hawker stalls, around SGD1.80? For that same amount, you can get a litre (or more) of drink from supermarkets.

You can also choose to buy from ValuDollar stores. Again, for small grocery items, ValuDollar stores would be on my list of go to places – particularly for chocolates! Like for for a 170g Toblerone bar (which is quite huge, you know), you only have to dish out  SGD3.25. And these items wouldn’t be spoiled or expired, as the common assumption is. I mean, think about it. These stores would have gotten into trouble with local authorities if they were, right?

Next…restaurants that offer freeflows (in no particular order)

  • Just Acia – if you order a set meal (the “Steamed Dumplings Set” is just SGD6.30), you can enjoy a free flow of drinks (coffee, chocolate, juice etc), float and ice cream
  • Keisuke Tonkotsu King and Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons – especially those who are bulking up on their protein intake, you can drop by either of these two ramen places to enjoy a freeflow of boiled eggs. I’m quite certain that there other ramen places  that are offering the same, but these two offers a nice selection of ramens that I personally like and would recommend
  • Song Fa Bak Kut Teh – I would categorize Bak Kut Teh (which literally means meat bone tea) as a “working man’s” meal or dish. It’s very affordable and it’s completely satisfying to have on a rainy day or if you would like to end a tough day on a good note. If you haven’t tried it yet, you may do so at Song Fa Bak Kut Teh – which offers a freeflow of Bak Kut Teh broth. Trust me on this. It’s “souperb”
  • Nara Thai – don’t let the fact that it is one of Bangkok’s high end restaurants intimidate you. The price range of their meals are reasonable (you may click here to view), plus you can enjoy a freeflow of toppings for your coconut ice cream – which is a must try. That said, I personally would just go here if I have extra cash to spend or if I’m bored out of my brains. I’m not into “fancy schmancy” stuff, to be honest. But…they had me at “free”
  • Yayoiken and Ootoya – arise for a freeflow of rice! These two restaurants would be your go to place if you want an unlimited supply of fragrant, nice-tasting, sticky-sweet Japanese rice. Their food selection’s not bad too
  • Kim’s Family Food – if you’re a fan of Korean food, this would be a nice restaurant to go to. Not only do they serve affordable dishes, but also unlimited refills of banchan (side dishes)

So, there you have it folks – life hacks from yours truly. Hope enjoyed reading this article, and that I didn’t come across too much of a miser than I actually am (but that may be asking for too much). Feel free to share with us YOUR OWN set of life hacks. Perhaps, we can even feature them for the next issue? Anyway, until next time. Cheers!

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DID YOU KNOW: You can check out other articles and videos by and about the school by clicking here

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Glen Oliver is Insworld Institute's Marketing Communications Manager.

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