A Look Back

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Four more days of RGS life left. 

It feels really surreal, thinking that I'll be leaving this place so soon. This place, which has provided me with so much more than I would have ever expected when I walked through those gates back in 2009 on Reporting Day, afraid and unaware of what was expected of me and what I was going to go through. This small little cozy compound and the people in it - all the experiences and memories have brought so much more tears and so much more happiness than I have imagined. Indeed, it was the place that I spent majority of my time in for the past four very fulfilling years. 

Truth be told, being a student of this school wasn't the smoothest ride for myself. There were so many obstacles in my way, some of which I'm still facing and honestly, I don't think it's something I should hide from others so yes, I had several terrible and horrible moments that I wished I didn't go through during my years here because this journey is in no way an easy one but admittedly, it's definitely been an incredible learning journey for me, as clich√© as it may seem or sound. 

And what's so funny to me is that recently, I've been noticing mostly through social media that so many of my juniors in school are going through the same things as I have (yes it only just occurred to me) and somehow they all appear to be taking everything so seriously. Of course, I'm quite sure I had the same emotions as they did when I was at the same stage as them - anxious, excited, worried, upset, disappointed at some points - but trust me, little ones, life will (well, it should) eventually work out. If it doesn't work out, make it work because only you are able to control your experience for the remaining of your time in RGS - be it three years, two years or one year.

I know, I sound a lot like a preacher just saying all these seemingly politically correct things but trust me, it's true. I have had my fair share of disappointments in this school as well but everything turned out pretty alright in the end, by my standards. Anyway, I feel like some of my experiences might be able to help someone out there who is currently facing the same situation that I did when I was younger so I shall share a few here, credits to my wise and old self (heh). 

To the Year Ones, if I'm not wrong, the Student Leader Trainee (SLT) names were released today and undoubtedly, it may be disappointing when you realize that you weren't selected if you had wanted to become one for a long time. Trust me, if you truly wish to hold a leadership position in this school, it's okay not to be selected this time round, it's not the end of the world. Even though I didn't go through this SLT system (we had something else that I personally preferred more), I remember myself being quite upset when I wasn't selected to become a Student Leader in Year One nor was I selected for the Leadership Camp at the end of Year One to choose Prefect-In-Trainings and Junior Peer Support Leaders. I remember being crushed because as a Year One, I had looked up to a lot of the seniors who were in leadership positions and who all seemed to be so amazing and inspiring and I just wanted to be like one of them.

Despite not being a Student Leader in Year One, I applied to be part of Waddle House Comm in Year One (unfortunately, the new system doesn't allow Year Ones to apply) and it was the best decision I made during my four years here. I got in and was part of a lovely new yellow family from Year Two onwards. However, sometimes it's not the title or position that matters and I just continued to do whatever I could do the best of my abilities through Year Two, though not going overboard to the point to impress excessively. I then ended up being nominated to become a second-intake Prefect-in-Training, before being confirmed as a full-fledged prefect in Year Three. 

My leadership journey in RGS grew from then on and I soon became more confident, confident enough to campaign for House Captainship and other crazy things that I never did regret doing. And all these without being a Student Leader in Year One. I wouldn't say that being a leader in the school is important because it isn't, unless it means a lot to you (it did to me, quite a bit) but the bottom-line is that if you didn't manage to get short-listed this time round, it's really alright because there are plenty of other chances to showcase one's leadership skills, be it in your CCA or any other programmes. Also, one may not necessarily possess the required skills in Year One - some of us just need some more time to grow and mature a bit :-) So look up girl, because there is a whole world, a whole life ahead of you. 

To the Year Twos, I guess the one thing that's on everyone's minds would be the Raffles Academy (RA) selection tests. To be honest, academics has never been my strong suit and I was one of those people who didn't really consider the possibility of being a part of any RA and it didn't bother me much at all. Alright, maybe it did bother me a little, especially since I had an elder brother who had two RAs when he was in secondary school but being a non-RA student for the next two years was something I was able to accept and it didn't exactly affect my experience as a student in RGS at all. 

Perhaps there are some people out there who feel like they are truly passionate about a certain subject and strongly believe that there is this immense need for them to be a part of a RA class to be able to fulfil their burning passion. However, again, I don't think one should be that devastated to find out that they weren't selected because the dedication for the particular subject shouldn't waver and I'm positive that there are so many other ways to broaden one's knowledge and explore, especially with the easy availability of information in this vast Internet world. 

Really, try to spend some more time with your Year Two class because it won't be long before you guys go your separate ways and if I were to be entirely honest, Year Two was the year that I enjoyed the most in my time in RGS and I truly miss the times I had as a Year Two - not too young but not too old to have to shoulder so many responsibilities; just right to experiment and test new waters. 

To the Year Threes, Year Four was the year where I became quite courageous and I think it's the same for all of you as well. There's a certain sense of excitement that comes with taking on new roles and responsibilities and the prospect of finally being the oldest and wisest ones in town. Contrary to popular belief that Year Four would just be a year of studying and mugging (well yes there's lots of stress involved), it's actually a year that you find yourself and somehow discover a lot of things you never really knew about yourself. It did, for me. 

Also, because it's your last year, don't be afraid to go all out. Become more daring, more bold, more loud. Celebrate your achievements, give yourself a pat on the back from time to time and most of all, support the people around you. Honestly, I wouldn't have survived this year without the constant encouragement I got from my friends. I don't really have any experience to share with you all because in Year Four, everyone's focused on their various different commitments and what I've been through this year doesn't really apply. I think that the experience you guys have gained for three years will be more than enough to tide you through everything and even enjoy it as you go along :-)

Everyone's growing up and it's time to move on. Have fun in this small school compound which we constantly complain about - because there will come a time when we grow to miss it. Also, all these opinions are entirely my own and don't take my word for it because everyone would go through their own unique experience here, almost fully determined by themselves but I just hope my little bit of advice can serve to help someone, somewhere out there. 

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