Passion and Sacrifices
The SEA games are just around the corner. ( have started by now)
As the media covers more amazing stories of athletes preparing for the games, one particular article about the Singapore Dragon Boat Team really got me thinking. Both the male and female teams decided to take a 6-month break from school and work to focus on training. The team also stayed together in the same apartment to foster team spirit and trained 2-3 times daily. This was the commitment they were willing to put in to bring glory to Singapore and the sport. They were doing what the sports school was doing but on their own time and at their own cost.
Taking a 6 month break is no easy feat for working adults who have responsibilities and students who are dead focus on their studies and in using every minute to further themselves by either taking on internships, summer school or going on overseas community service trips.
Reading the article, I asked myself one simple question. Would I be willing to make this sacrifice for the sport that I loved?
Would I be willing to press pause to my hectic school life and neatly drawn school program to do something that my parents and peers would probably balk at.
Learning from the Past
I spent 3 years in polytechnic and my studies were my priority. The result was that I made it to university. But it also meant that my entire 3 years were a blur. All the knowledge was handed back to the lecturer and good memories were few and far between.
Now in university, I felt that I have been given a second opportunity to go through this journey again and I was hell bent on ensuring that I would not make the same mistakes. Being active in school means creating memories and experiences that add value and meaning to your school life. When you don your gowns at graduation and see your friends, you should be saying, wow what an amazing 3-4 years this has been. You should not be saying what I did 3 years earlier, where everything went by so quickly and I did not really get to enjoy the full experience.
My perspective has certainly changed about the importance of studies and the importance of being happy.
Looking to the future and building your human capital
Learning from past experience, my answer to the earlier question on taking a 6 month leave of absence to pursue my passion is – in a heartbeat. I have a lifetime to work, a lifetime to start a family and a lifetime to climb the corporate ladder, but I only have one shot at my youth and spending that youth in university with friends.
If you want to chase that paper grade, it is perfectly fine, but do have a balance and participate and engage in CCA and school activities to create moments that would last you a life time. I was lucky that because of polytechnic, I have a second chance but for some of the students from junior college, this might be your one and only tertiary/university experience as a youth. I encourage you not waste it but instead exploit every opportunity and every event to further your human capital. This unquantifiable human capital is what will get you far in life.
In fact, these unique experiences is what will set you apart in interview sessions when hiring managers ask you to describe yourself, your passion, your hobbies, your toughest decisions, your best memories. These experiences add colour and character to your portfolio and profile.
Melvin Paul Singh
SMU Floorball President