The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of changes in people's lives.
For most Singaporeans, the circuit breaker forced them to work from home or to take part in home-based learning.
Not spared from this new normal is 27-year-old Nur Nadirah Friday.
Six people in 2-room flat
According to a report by BERITAmediacorp, the Early Childhood Education student from Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) lives with five other family members in a two-room rental flat, no bigger than 45 square meters.
Like most families in Singapore, they too had to work and study remotely from home which, as one could imagine, can be pretty hectic.
However, limited space was just one challenge. They also had to make do with an unstable wifi connection, among other things.
While such challenges may be discouraging to others, these elements didn't deter Nur Friday from doing her best for her education.
Makeshift study corner along corridor
Determined to continue with her studies, she set up a small desk, a chair and a small portable fan along the corridor right outside her house.
This makeshift study corner is where she would do her revision for up to 10 hours a day.
She shared with BERITAmediacorp that the circuit breaker period felt especially difficult for her and her family as they felt as if they were trapped in their own homes.
"I'm the type that will study better if it's not too noisy. I find it difficult to prepare for my examinations. If my siblings aren't noisy, then it would be my neighbours. My neighbours would quarrel often. It's not an ideal situation for everyone."
Her siblings have also voiced out their frustrations during the circuit breaker period.
That was when their mother suggested they discuss what works best for the family.
Nur Friday would usually start studying along the corridor from 12pm up until 3pm.
She would then charge her laptop for a while and continue studying up to 3am to 5am.
Curious as to how her peers were faring during this tough period, she asked them how they managed to study during the circuit breaker period.
And it seems like they too were stressed from the unsuitable environment of studying at home.
SUSS open rooms for students
She said: "I thought of other students who were facing a similar situation as me and the difficulties they would have to go through. So I went ahead to write into the university to represent the other students as well in an attempt to get a space for us to study during the circuit breaker period."
Her efforts weren't in vain.
Thanks to her email, she was given a room on the university campus for her to study.
SUSS also prepared such rooms for around 20 other students.
In an interview with BERITAmediacorp, Nur Friday said:
"When I wrote into the university, I didn't expect them to provide a suitable space for us. They got to know of my situation and worked hard to give us that convenience."
This initiative made her realise that she has to work harder and is grateful for the university's efforts in providing a suitable environment for her as well as her peers.
While SUSS has continued to offer the space for her to study beyond the circuit breaker period, she didn't take that offer up.
"I didn't take it on as there are limited spaces. Since my siblings have already gone to work, I'll just study at home. I'm ok with studying at the corridor, anyway. I want to give the chance to other students as well... Others who may need it more than I do."
Motivated to help others
Nur Friday lives with her mother and four other siblings.
Her father passed away from lymphoma close to 20 years ago.
In 2009, her mother was retrenched due to the global financial crisis.
As a result, she and her siblings have been working part-time since secondary school to supplement the family's expenses.
While she may have gone through many hurdles in life, it motivates her to be the voice of others who are of a similar or more unfortunate position than her.
"What I can do now is to be the voice for others who face a similar situation as me because even though I have these challenges, I have the university management to support me. Meanwhile, my neighbours who stay at these rented flats may not have the same access as I do."
Top image from BERITAmediacorp.