Shared by Joseph Soh Jun Ming, Nanyang Technological University, Year 3
Unlike many other students out there, I am slightly little older than the rest of my cohort. I came a long way to the university through a polytechnic route and was in the Normal Academic (NA) stream before pursuing my diploma at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Through my 3 years of hard work with minimal sleep and deprived social life, I graduated as the 2nd most outstanding student of my cohort and earned myself a place in Nanyang Business School (NBS).
I won’t really say that I am happy or proud of my achievement back then because I really missed out a lot of life. I enlisted immediately upon my graduation and there goes my 2 years of service to the Army. I didn’t allow myself take life any easier mainly due to my personality of being achievements-oriented back then. Life to me was just excelling academically. I had a strong CCA portfolio and had clinched several scholarships over the years but I wasn’t really happy at all. I practically had not time to reflect and the next moment, I am standing in Pulau Tekong as a newly enlisted recruit.
2 years of National Service passed by really fast with 1 year or so as an Officer Cadet Trainee. Life became pretty much slower and I started to regain my social life and appreciate everything around me. I started catching up with friends. I spent most of my Saturday with my friends hitting the club or having supper at East Coast Carls Junior engaging in army talk. Sunday was reserved for my family. I booked in at the end of the week with a lighter mind hoping to see my friends and family the following weekend. All the past accolades and achievements seems to be something that I will only fancy in the past. It wasn’t as important as it seems to me in the past anymore. I started to take it easier on myself.
I started my studies in NBS with not many friends but my orientation group, Nemo. I did not participate in any hall activities or CCA. I just want to be the normal student who will attend class and finish up his assignment on time. I do not want to be labeled as a “chiongster” or “mugger” anymore. I started my university with the intention in mind of spending more time with my friends and family who I have neglected in the past. I still meet my polytechnic or army friends who are not in the same school for a drink or a meal almost every week even during my exam period. I have a stronger sense of what is important to me after all. I finally understood that academic achievements are not something that will stay with me for life. Kinship and friendships will. I prioritized my time well and will never allow myself to exceed the time I allocate to finish my schoolwork. I focused on what I have to do on hand and spent the rest of my time with my girlfriend, friends and family. I always believe in planning ahead and allowing yourself to take a break in between. Academic result and CCA accolades are not my priority now anymore. I would rather get the best out of life with people around me.
If time permits and if the company is right, I would usually hope to do something different every weekend or plan a trip to a nearby country. #YOLO. Why not? Last semester, I went to Bangkok over a weekend after finishing most of my assignment during school term.
I participated in my first run with my girlfriend that I never thought I would find time to do in the past.
I spent time to go back to my former school to meet my friends and teachers during my exam period.
After my last paper, I flew to Ho Chi Minh City with another friend on a backpacking trip that I ventured into the northern provinces of Vietnam and spent about a week there experiencing life out of Singapore. I strongly recommend that everyone should try to explore the world out of Singapore while you are young because this is the only time you can do so freely! The best thing about travelling is that you get to meet people from all part of the world.
I spent about another week in Taiwan with my girlfriend and friends before returning back to school.
I will be going Hongkong with my family during next month am already starting to plan for my trip to Hanoi towards the end of the school term.
As I am graduating at the end of this year, I must say that I made the best out of my university life that is different from others. Nothing wrong with no CCA/hall activities. Life is just too short to be wasted. Take a chill pill in life! Do not be afraid to spend lesser time for schoolwork. I wasn’t doing that bad at all for spending lesser time than before on schoolwork. Life is more than just that. See the world and experience life in another place. You will appreciate your life even better. Hold on those that standby you because they are the one who will be there for you. (Not your medals or book prizes)
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