Shared by: Henry Tang Ji Rui, Singapore Management University, Year 3
More than a year ago, I wonder what I would like to achieve in my remaining 3 years in Singapore Management University, School of Information Systems (SMU SIS). This thought came into mind when I realized that I was just caught in a rat race like many others around me, whom are chasing after grades, internships and what not (typical life of a SMU student).
So considering that I was a sleeping member of a couple of CCAs, I decided to find more purpose in my University life rather than just studying. And then there was the usual advice from seniors where you have to join this CCA or that CCA and hold positions so that it helps in your resume. Hm.. Sounds familiar? Being the naive and eager freshman that I was then, it definitely made perfect sense to me, and so I started to look around at the more impressive CCAs in SMU. Along the way. things changed.
But what really gave me the strongest motivation to run for student leadership in SIS, was because of the tremendous opportunities that I had in SIS, and the faith that my fellow friends (few of which became my comrades in SMU Information Systems Society) had in me then. Having seen friends around me going through late nights, and having lives relatively tougher than that of the other schools, I would really hope to improve the student lives and environment that we have. I started thinking of ways to give back and one fine day, one of my Profs asked me, “Why don’t you run for SISS?”
This question came out of nowhere, leaving me with no time to come up with a response other than,“I’ll think about it..” And so I started thinking, and thinking, and thinking.. Many a time, we often doubt our own capabilities as to whether we are up to the task or fit for the role etc. Trust me, I’m no different from you. And after I got over that hurdle, this other part of me raised the alarm, “Will my grades suffer? Will it be worth it?” I’m pretty sure this comes across many of your minds whenever you think of running for student leadership positions. But eventually, after much deliberation and thoughts, I told myself that school is more than just grades (no doubt that grades get you somewhere). Having said that, it was a conscious decision that I made, knowing that being in the Management Committee of a school CBd will definitely allow you to meet and know more people, within and beyond SMU itself (part of networking once again).
So I grabbed a few friends and started proposing this idea of running for SISS, and I guess the rest was history.
Throughout the year when I was holding the portfolio, it was a constant rush to meet deadlines after deadlines, and going for meetings after meetings. The journey wasn’t easy, and it was made tougher by the amount of red tape involved, as well as the kind of people that I have to deal with. But I can safely say that, 2013 was definitely my most eventful year in SMU. Looking back, I gained more than just friends and network, but also valuable experience where if you choose to be like any other student, you will never get to experience such. No doubt, behind all the fame and glory (or shame and confessions) – grades will suffer, friends will say you always pangseh them, and you will keep saying that people bo jio! Truth be told, student leadership in SMU could be better appreciated, but even if the system stays as such, your journey is best defined by how you choose to walk it. So for those whom are contemplating stepping up to run for portfolios the next round, hesitate no more and do your part in making SMU a better place.
So after all these, many have asked me what my take on leadership is, and what makes a good leader? And my response, as well as my greatest takeaway about leadership was from attending an address by Daw Ann San Suu Kyi.
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