Saturday, June 2, 2012

The18th Student Leaders' Convention organized by Hwa Chong, together with Nanyang, was an amazing experience. It was beyond wonderful. 

To be honest, before I attended the convention, I was quite reluctant as I kept thinking that it would probably be a rather dry experience and I could perhaps use that four days (29 May - 1 June) to do more meaningful and productive tasks. Boy was I wrong. 

The Convention was a burst of various elements that really made the entire event a huge success. New friends, old friends, wonderful memories created and reminisced. In hope to retain these beautiful memories, I shall organize this blog post into one of a day to day schedule, so that it would also be easier for me to refer to if I have to give a presentation on my experience. SLC was truly amazing. 

Day 1
Day 1 started rather awkwardly as my dad sent me to Hwa Chong a wee bit too early and I ended up standing alone at the steps of their clock tower, unsure of what to do and waiting for Jaclyn so that I wouldn't need to register on my own. After we registered, we proceeded to the Auditorium where we were greeted by the Chairperson of the entire convention, followed by an introduction to the concept of the SLC. I thought that the concept was rather interesting and fresh, it was unlike anything that I've attended (perhaps I rarely attend such events, but still). 

In a nutshell, SLC was basically to instill a common drive in us, to serve our schools and our society. What we did during the convention was to think about pertinent problems, reflect about them, before brainstorming for solutions and lastly, to present our findings. There were two activities, the school-based one and the community-based activity. We were also split into Youth Faculties, with mine being the amazing amazing Stolzide. Three Youth Faculties were under a Youth Assembly and I was lucky enough to be in Youth Assembly C, which was headed by the one and only Gary Lim! (< Haha yes, one of my best primary school friends. It was so good to see him again. 

After the various briefings, we went to our faculty homeroom where we played ice breakers and did y'know, stuff you do when you first meet new people (: Our first activity was to draw something that represented us. This was what I came up with: 

I thought it represented me quite well. Crazy, fat and a brace face. I thought that the activity was quite cool as we would be seeing how everyone opens from their little shells and as we get to know each other more. My faculty probably saw how I morphed from a sane person to that crazy monster in a short duration of 4 days. One thing worth mentioning was that Gary drew that Gary the snail from Spongebob as himself because from what I remember, Emily and I were the ones who gave him that nickname and it felt wonderful knowing that he has kept it. Our faculty played many other games, which started out quite awkwardly but we slowly warmed up towards each other. Much faster than I had expected actually. 

Afterwards, we had a painting activity where all the faculties had to paint some boxes. The atmosphere was really good, with everyone going crazy and painting one another instead. Then we had lunch before starting Orientation Games at Resorts World Sentosa. 


Orientation Games were quite fun, but they were really really tiring. I thought that the station games were rather effective in helping our faculty to bond. We got so much closer after the OGs, in my opinion. Did I mention that I saw Shu Hui, Amanda and Vernise? SLC was kind of like a primary school meet up opportunity as well! Sheila was in my Youth Assembly and I saw Bibiana and Leonard too (: 

Sheila and me! (: She's still so pretty!

To be honest, Day 1 was the day of the convention I least enjoyed as we didn't really do anything that made us learn anything, but rather it was all bonding (which was also important, but still!) activities. When I heard that Day 1 and Day 4 were the best days, I felt a bit restless and sort of wondered what I had gotten myself into. But really, Day 2 - Day 4 were the days that I really enjoyed. 

Day 2
Learnt my lesson from Day 1 and didn't arrive as early, but it was still rather early. Brought a book this time, so that was an improvement (:

When everyone was there, we had an activity where we were required to draw our highest and lowest points of leadership. The activity really made me think, and I realized that I had many high points rather than low points, which made me feel a lot better about who I was. We didn't have time to share our experiences and had to proceed to the Auditorium for many hours of talks. 

We were honoured enough to have Mdm Halimah Yacob (Minister of State, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports) come talk to us about youth leadership. I thought the dialogue session was genuinely useful, despite being really tired myself. She mentioned how the society was really changing rapidly and the need for us youths to really keep up with the times. I felt quite inspired about how we youths can actually initiate solutions for the community and connect with them. Also, one particular topic I felt quite inclined to was one regarding CIP. Sometimes, I do wonder actually. Do people do CIP just to fulfill the 100 hours or do we do it willingly, because we truly want to serve? To be honest, I don't even have the answer to that myself. I guess the next time I do CIP, I should probably choose a cause that I'm really interested in serving, so that I will be passionate and put my heart into it, which is really what the core and motivation of CIP is all about. 

Afterwards, we had another speaker from the National Youth Council come speak to us and that was rather enriching as well, with me feeling rather empowered after the talk. Youths can do so much, we have the platform and capability to do big things, really. 
Then, we proceeded to our Faculty homerooms and we started our School based activity (: We identified some problems commonly seen within our schools and came up with some solutions, before voting on the problem that our Faculty would focus on. Finally, the issue of discipline was the one that most of us felt the most important, the most pressing. To be more exact, the use of vulgarities by students. This problem isn't rather evident in my own school, but I can see how this is an issue, especially in all-boys schools. 

We spent quite a lot of time writing the proposal to tackle this issue before proceeding for a Youth Assembly meeting to share our ideas with Youth Assembly C and to gather feedback to further improve our proposal. The Youth Assembly meeting was a fresh and new experience for myself as the setting was extremely formal and the third party address had to be used, which really stumbled me when I asked another faculty a question during the meeting. It was just one question but it was quite awkward to phrase, I really applaud the presenters! Our Faculty had to field the most questions, but I'm so happy for our wonderful team spirit (:

After the Youth Assembly meeting, we had to quickly edit our proposals before submitting it to SLC OT for judging. The sense of urgency was so realistic, just like what we experience when planning for events, so I thought that was a job well done. 

We had debrief before heading home after a long day. 

Day 3
I'm one who really learns from my mistakes (; Reached Hwa Chong at a relatively perfect timing, not too early nor too late. Day 3 was our Community- based activity day!

The day started out with a briefing in the Auditorium once again, before breaking into our Faculty homerooms for our Community Based Activity discussion. I was the leader for this activity and Stolzide made it so easy for me, with everyone being so on and enthusiastic about it. They are such amazing people, and even though it was only my third day of knowing them, I feel like I've known them for an awfully long time (': 

The concept for the CBA was similar to the School based activity, except that instead of having a Youth Assembly meeting to share our ideas and solutions, we had to set up a Faculty booth for an exhibition at the end of the day. 

We were assigned the topic of "Abuse of Technology", and our chosen subtopic was "Internet Frauds and Scams". Guoyue came up with an extremely ingenious idea to publicize our booth during the exhibition, which was to scam everyone into thinking we had free candy, by flashing a powerpoint and making announcements. But when people came to our booth, we will give them a tip sheet, on how to avoid Internet scams. Stolzide really worked so well together (': We completed the proposal really fast and we worked on our booth really well too. Look at our pretty booth!

During the little snippets of time that we had, we practiced our dance performance for the Grand Finale, together with the other Faculties, making up Youth Assembly C. I really enjoyed everything. Although we might not be the best, we have really put in our all, and I really feel that we are such an amazing group of people.

We also had phototaking that day! :D
The sane.

And the wonderful crazy, which I very much prefer.

Day 4
Really the best day of the entire SLC (': Reached earlier to practice our dance performance for the Grand Finale. We had our closing ceremony and all that in the morning, followed by Fringe activities, which was quite terrible and I shall not elaborate on that, but I really like to thank Stolzide for being so wonderful (not to mention, being the Faculty with the highest morales and integrity)!

Then, we took polaroids (: It was really really fun taking 10 polaroid shots at one go.

Then, we had the highlight of the entire convention - the GRAND FINALE (:
The atmosphere was amazing, the company was amazing, everything was amazing. I felt like I was clubbing in Hwa Chong's Auditorium. Everyone was so high, everyone was just standing up and dancing and clapping along. I don't think this sort of atmosphere can ever be planned or imitated. All it really needs is a bunch of wonderful, passionate student leaders and I'm so honoured to be involved in this.

YAC's performance went so well, I'm so proud of all of us! Oh yes, and Stolzide got first runners up for our Orientation Games, and our prize was wonderfully delicious popcorn from  Cornery. It felt great to be part of this wonderful team.

When the Grand Finale ended, we had debrief, which was quite emotional, although there were no tears involved (': I really hope that I will be given the oppotunity to see these wonderful people again my my life. They have gone through a journey that I will never forget with me.

Yu Tong, Megan, Camellia, Kartini, Saloni, Yoyo, Guoyue, Ryan, Jia Qi, not forgetting An Lin, Gary and Su Yue, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for these four days. It has been  beyond my imagination and truly memorable.

18, 18, SLC! 

(credits to all the photographers of the photos featured in this post)

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