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Liminal Spaces: A Personal Break from the Public

Written by Goh Zhen Kang & Cheong Je Yong

Image by Patrick (BOP)

Whether it be missing a bus or seeing your favourite food sold out, sometimes it simply isn't your day. That 2359 submission seems insurmountable and you are always rushing to your next lecture (it isn’t recorded). You need a space to decompress and release your tears, but in the heart of our bustling campus that seems nearly impossible. What if we told you that amidst the chaos, there are serene oases just waiting to be discovered? Hidden away is a world of tranquillity—a realm of liminal spaces. These spaces, while often overlooked, are ideal for respite, reflection and relaxation. For those seeking a retreat from the constant hustle and bustle of university life, these places are for you.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM)

Image by Yoyo (BOP)

Just a stone’s throw away from Raffles Hall lies a well known oasis of reflection - the natural history museum. This area is above a gentle incline of stairs near the Museum bus stop. Nestled between two wings, you will find a water feature designed in the likeness of a mangrove swamp. The ornamental fish in the ponds are also quite playful, so they bring liveliness to the secluded garden too. Reconnect with nature as you take a moment to step back and recharge before heading off to class.

Central Library–Wan Boo Sow Chinese Library

Images by Patrick & Yoyo (BOP)

You might think snuggling in the labyrinthine stacks of our campus library would be the perfect place to get away from it all. But with throngs of muggers hogging the carrels, you might find yourself waking up at the crack of dawn elbowing your way through the doors. Instead, why not rise above the others for a much-deserved rest? Take the elevator to the 4th floor and you'll find a flight of stairs outside the library, which leads to the hidden 5th floor where you can find a wide, tranquil corridor. Take a break from your leg-cramping cram sessions and walk up and down, pausing to reflect.


Images by Yoyo (BOP)

Amidst the concrete jungle, a serene valley awaits—COM 3. Intuitively, it’s hard to believe that the School of Computing could ever be a place to escape from stress. However, the 6-storey building itself was conceptualised as a liminal space: a physical link as well as a social connector. Pockets of green space line every floor, providing a breath of fresh air between classes and heated group discussions. Plus, if you ever want an afternoon tea or snack (or maybe, coffee to wake yourself up), The Terrace is always there to serve you.

Raffles Hall Kuok Foundation House Level 8

Image by Yoyo (BOP)

Now here’s one for fellow Rafflesians. Atop Kuok Foundation House hides the Block 7 balconies - the hidden gems boasting breathtaking panoramic views. Accessible to only those in the know, it offers a bird’s eye view of the surrounding campus. Wander into the place and you will immediately be captivated by what lies before your eyes. Next time, whether you seek inspiration for projects or just want to soak in the beauty of the skyline, this spot will be your ideal gateway. Spending a few minutes to gaze at the picturesque scenery will amaze you.

Honourable Mention

Images by Patrick (BOP)

While the spaces we’ve listed above are indeed peaceful getaways, they shouldn’t be used as one-size-fits-all solutions to all your needs. Sometimes, the days might prove too much to bear even for private reflection. Never be afraid to reach out and seek help. Even a listening ear can do wonders for the soul. As such, we wholeheartedly recommend the University Health Center (UHC) as the ultimate space to decompress. Feel free to contact the friendly on-site mental health professionals here for counselling sessions!

For those who want to visit the spaces yourself, here's a map to get your journey started!

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