Yearbook : Day-Scholars vs Hostelites
By Areej Saqib
Photo Credits: Muhammad Usama, Kamil Munir
The Never-Ending Debate
Becoming a NUSTian means you automatically join one of the two parties at NUST: day-scholars, or hostelites. If you are a hostelite, you probably felt something trigger inside you by the former sentence, and are on the edge of your seat. If you are a day-scholar, you probably rolled your eyes because you don’t really understand what the fuss is about. Well, no matter which side you lie on, gear up your mind, and wear your thinking goggles, because we are about to cover every aspect of the never-ending debate!
A Day in the Life of a Day-Scholar
I wake up before my alarm sets off, because of my sister. It is not her fault completely. Her school starts earlier than my classes at university, so naturally, she is always awake before I am. I was a heavy sleeper before I had joined university, but now I feel agitated all the time, and so I wake up to the smallest of noises.
My sister slams the door behind her as she leaves my room. I take it back. It is her fault. I try to salvage on the few minutes left before my alarm goes off, but what’s the use? My alarm goes off at 6:30 am, and a few minutes later, my mom yells my name from the kitchen.
“Mom, I am up already!” I yell back, as I groggily get up from my bed, and head to the bathroom. There are used makeup tissues everywhere – in the sink, and on the floor. I sigh. I hate my messy sister.
After taking a shower, I head to the dining table. I grab a piece of toast, and hurriedly swallow it, followed by my cold chai. My mom gives me a so-done-with-you look and says, “There is no point in eating if you are just going to choke on it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. They were even saying it on the news the other day,” she adds, as if that seals the deal.
“Mom, I just can’t. My van is here,” I argue, nevertheless, for the hundredth time.
“If you are so worried about being late, then stop staying awake so late at night!” she says testily. “Don’t you know you have to get up early the next day?”
“I would, but then when would I get time to study? Stop using it against me!” I say over the top of the van’s horn.
“Get going already then! You have no time to eat, but plenty of time to bicker with me,” she exclaims. “Kids, these days…,” she mutters under her breath.
I want to point out that I wasn’t the one that started the conversation, but I realize that I really don’t have time for it, and there is really no point in arguing with Mom, so I just say goodbye and leave.
The driver uncle looks at me grumpily as I get in, then drives off. There are so many people in the van today, and I am still standing, so I sway and stumble. I luckily stop myself from falling by holding the surrounding seats’ edges. I guess he got his revenge.
I try to go through some of my notes in the van and reach the class about fifteen minutes early. I couldn’t cover much, since I dozed off on the way. About half an hour into the class, a group of hostelites enter the room. I shake my head. They live five minutes away and get to sleep so much more, but they still never show up on time.
At the end of our lecture, Sir asks us to hand our home-assignments. I put my hand in my bag, only to realize that I forgot my assignment at home, and my life instantly flashes before my eyes. I take a minute or two to calm my nerves, and then talk to the sir about my problem. When he asks me to reprint it, I tell him that I haven’t emailed it to myself since I have a printer at home. With a stern look, he asks me to submit my assignment no matter what at the end of the day, or it won’t be marked.
After class, I rush to the little canteen in our department for bit of lunch, because I don’t have time to go to the Concordia. I then run to the computer lab to redo my assignment. I try to remember what I wrote last night, but my mind is blank. With a sigh, I just wing it.
The lecturer of the next class leaves us a little after 5 pm, despite us repeatedly telling her that we have to go, or we’ll miss the van.
Since we usually do miss it, I run to C2 as fast as I can to catch the van along with my classmates, and we fortunately make it in time. The van is nearly full, and as on most of the days, I share half of my seat with someone else.
After reaching home, I go straight to my room and feel grateful to see my bed. I am about to lie down when my dad calls me from the lounge to come join the family.
I answer back saying, “I’ll be there in a minute. Let me freshen up.”
I end up Instagramming a little before I sit with them. When I see my sister, I ask her, “Can you please stop coming into my room when I am sleeping? I rarely get proper sleep.”
“It is not my fault that my bathroom doesn’t have hot water,” she shrugs, unbothered.
“Fair point, but you don’t have to slam the door every time you come and go,” I retort.
“Oh my god! You exaggerate so much.” It is ironic how dramatic she sounds. “I closed it carefully like a good sister that I am, but what can I do if you have ears like a bat?”
“Cut it off, you two!” My brother pipes in. “We are trying to watch the match.”
My stomach starts grumbling after a few minutes into the match, so I decide to have dinner early. I feel sleepy, but I am determined to not flunk tomorrow’s quiz so I make myself stay awake and study.
I read all the slides at least twice, because my mind is not taking in any info on the first go. After an hour or so, I end up closing my laptop and setting an alarm for midnight to study. Even though I am 99% sure I won’t get up, I still do it anyway as it is worth a try. If I don’t wake up, I’ll just wing the quiz too.
My back aches appreciatively as I lie down on my bed. Despite knowing tomorrow is just going to be like today, I am glad today is over.
A Day in the Life of a Hostelite
I wake up before my alarm sets off, because of my roommate. It is not always her fault. Her classes start earlier than mine, so naturally, she is always awake before I am. I was a heavy sleeper before I had joined university, but now I feel agitated all the time, and so I wake up to the smallest of noises.
This time, however, it is completely her fault. It is 6:30 a.m. and her alarm is going on and on. I try to sleep through it, hoping she would switch it off after some time, but who am I kidding? I know she never wakes up to her alarms.
With an internal groan, I call her out barely, “Faiza…” – she doesn’t budge. I repeat her name hopelessly, because I am too sleepy to get out of bed. Besides, it’s freezing outside my blanket.
After some time, her alarm shuts up itself, and for a moment I am so relieved, but then the horrifying truth hits me: it has probably gone off to snooze. “Faiza never wakes up to study, then why bothering to set an alarm?” I think, frustrated that I have to go through this every day for the sake of it.
Just as I had estimated, her alarm goes off again after five minutes and this time, I don’t wait for it to ring for long. I get up from my bed and move toward my roommate, shaking her slightly as I say, “Faiza, your alarm is going off.”
She looks up at me in confusion and mutters something, and then switches off her alarm. With a sigh, I climb back into my blanket and fall right back into sleep.
My alarm goes off annoyingly. I switch it off, but don’t get up. I don’t want to go to class with such a mood.
My alarm goes off again, and if it weren’t a mobile but a traditional clock, I would have definitely smashed it into pieces.
My alarm goes off again and again, and I don’t get up until I realize that the previous one I switched off was the last I had set. I usually set 8-10 alarms for the morning, because I keep shutting my alarms off. I never needed that many alarms in my life, but ever since I have come to hostel, I rarely get to sleep early at night – let alone get proper, undisturbed sleep.
Last night, like most nights, my roommate’s friend had come to our room to chat, and she stayed till 3 am. I don’t mind her coming, but I do mind the lights being on, and her being obnoxiously loud. I tried to tell her politely that I am trying to sleep, but she didn’t acknowledge that I was talking to her, nor did my roommate.
I get up finally when I realize that my class has already begun. I quickly head to washroom and wash my face. Ugh! The water is so cold. Will we ever get hot water?
I wear a shirt that I like, but then I can’t stop changing clothes because I feel like I have worn everything too many times. At the end, I borrow a friend’s shirt and boots.
I skip breakfast and head straight to class. I message in the group and request someone to mark my attendance, as I am on my way. I am half an hour late, which is not that late compared to my usual arrival time.
At the end of our lecture, sir asks us to hand in the assignments, and I realize that I forgot mine in the hostel. I talk to sir about it and he gives me fifteen minutes to go and fetch it. I manage to submit it on time.
When it’s break time, I try to guilt myself into going to the hostel’s mess, but the food is just awfully bland and hard to swallow. I decide to buy something from the Concordia, and end up not buying much at all, because I am sick of having the same thing over and over.
A fellow hostelite reminds me that today is the last date of paying the mess bill, so I get a print-out and go to the bank. I hate paying mess bills on the last day due to the long line there.
I end up missing my second class’s attendance. When I reach my hostel room, I lie down and plan to relax a little, but then a friend of mine comes to my room. She asks me to go to the NUST carnival with her, assuring me that she can get the tickets. Having gone through such a miserable day, I think why not do something fun for a change? so I agree to join her. The next hour or so, we are getting ready, changing into and out of dresses. I also end up doing my friend’s makeup.
We hardly spend an hour at the carnival when it’s suddenly our hostel’s curfew time. I go back to the hostel, tired, but feeling better about the day.
I motivate myself to wash my make-up before going to sleep. Finally, when I am ready to go to bed, my mom calls me. I had messaged her about going to the carnival, so she hadn’t called before, but since it is my routine to talk to her every day, she can’t go to sleep without talking to me.
I want to sleep, but she goes on and on and then when she says goodbye, she hands the phone to my sister instead of hanging up, and my sister starts to tell me about her day too. I want to tell her a bit about mine, but then without even realizing, I tell her all the details.
When my phone session ends, I set up my alarms and lie down. However, my stomach starts grumbling. I didn’t eat much at the carnival since it wasn’t really that good, but now I regret it. I try to ignore my stomach’s grumbling, but after some time, it gets out of hand so I microwave myself some noodles.
I watch an episode of the season I am currently in, as I eat. I finally switch off the lights and lie down. Just as I am falling into deep slumber, my roommate’s friend, different one from last night, comes to the room and starts discussing some assignment.
Here we go again…
Who is the winner of the never-ending debate? That, my friends, is a paradoxical question. The funny reality is that the debate never actually ends. You know why we can’t decide which team has it worse? Because none of them do.
You might wonder “why did the debate rise in the first place?” Well, naturally, differences lead to disagreements, and there is no doubt that the teams are different from one another. For day-scholars, NUST is a major part of their life – just like school was – but awfully more hectic. For a hostelite, one leads a separate life at NUST, and their family life is almost like a second life – a parallel dimension.
By looking at how a day of each passes by, we can conclude that we can’t compare the two parties, because both have their pros and cons. Yes, living at NUST is an experience in itself, with it has its ups and downs, but so is studying at NUST. One team’s difficulties cannot undermine the other team’s problems.
What does this mean then? What is the point of the debate? A quote from Albus Dumbledore can perfectly answer that:
“While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.”
P.S. Can you guess which side the writer belongs to: the day-scholars or the hostelites?