It is a truth commonly acknowledged that a student studying abroad is in want of cosmic help from even the most marginal of sources. I am one such academic in a far off locale, and my sentiments are consistent with the above. Being in East Asia brings with it a host of opportunities to ‘grasp at strands,’ or more likely ‘make poor attempts at picking up the last kernels of rice with one’s chopsticks,’ the most popular of which is known as 风水 (Fēngshuǐ).
According to the teaser website for Feng Shui for Dummies, the most advanced guide in which I should be dabbling, Feng Shui is an art concerned with manufactured direction of energy flow through a space. Most concisely, Feng Shui is “the simple interaction of humans and their environments.” Rather than hinder the flow of the natural world’s essences in inefficient layouts of one’s own choosing, one should attempt to revert the concrete world to a state as easily navigable for Energy, and indirectly for oneself, as possible- efficiency of movement is key. Therefore, if my roommate Keeli and I want to exploit the positive vibes inherent within the pocket of the Universe in which we currently reside, we have to keep our room in tip-top shape- which might explain the passing of a few situations as messy as our desks.
If Keeli and I were to construct our room in the fashion most advantageous for college students, our Student Feng Shui （学风水，xuefengshui) would go as follows:
1. Place fire hazards near hole in floor.
Reasoning: In the words of Rich Schmittgen, “In the event of flames, you can stomp the electronics through the floor, making them no longer your problem.”
2. Mirror Imaging.
The sun rises at 5:30 a.m., at which time so does a body that’s light-sensitive. In the event that neither you nor your roommate remembered to close the blinds the previous night, position all reflective surfaces in the room such that the first ray of light will bounce along a path that ends at your sleeping roommate’s face; consider the blinds closed.
3. Let the Clothes Line Chill Out.
Run a clothes line along the bottom edge of the 空调（air conditioner) in an attempt to dry clothing in less than three days. Make sure the clothes line parallels the same wall as the air conditioner, else you inadvertently create not only an energy-hindering room divider but a walking-hindering booby trap for tall friends.
4. Place kettle equidistant to our desks…
…thus minimizing the amount of time and space we each need to cover in order to acquire hot water and hence coffee.
5. Push beds together, and place in corner of room.
This decreases wasted space and, when one comes home after a late night of doing homework/crocheting/bocce/whatever the kids do these days, all a student needs to know is the general area of the room occupied by the bed and they have a pretty good chance of stumbling in the right direction. As the bed is larger than usual, and in the corner of the room, if they happen to just sort of jump towards that corner in the dark, there’s a smaller chance that they’ll miss the bed (but they might not miss the wall, or their roommate- Student Feng Shui is an imperfect science). Also, this layout promotes roommate bonding through cuddle time and girl talk which are both emotionally advantageous.
6. Exploit available energies by turning the curtain into a fort.
One person’s yard of light-reducing fabric is another’s ghost story habitat. While the pillars/rulers stuck to the floor with glue necessary to keep the curtain from falling back towards the floor are energy-path-hindering, the increased light energy flowing into the room (until it’s time for rest) and attracted energies of every student jonesin’ for storytime will increase the chance that some energy will reach the necessary regions of the room, albeit with some tension; for the sake of Student Feng Shui, it’s not always the specific energy’s path that matters, but sometimes the collection and homogeneous dispersion of energy throughout a space. Only invite cool people so you get quality energy over quantity energy, and also less particle overcrowding. Like all good sciences, Student Feng Shui accepts apparent truths i.e. things it can’t prove in total as basic laws. Totally unrelated: http://news.yahoo.com/particles-recorded-moving-faster-light-cern-164441657.html (thanks Kylstron).
7. Don’t play Chingy.
Bad music= bad emotions= bad energy. Don’t let this be you.
8. Place garbage can at roommate’s bedside, if giant bed plan is foregone.
Encourage a clean habitat through convenient receptacle placement.
8 is a lucky number and thus a good place to stop.