Things I wish I knew before… taking up more commitments

Written by: Soh Iwin (20-E5)

Designed by: Leow Jia Wen, Jolene (20-E1)

As we progress into the school year, many of us may start to receive more offers on commitments, such as school or external programmes, competitions or leadership positions. Some of us may wonder whether we should take these responsibilities on, while others may question its implications. Hence, this is a quick list of the things I wish I knew before taking up more of these commitments!

Passion over Prestige 

Cliche as it may seem, this is undeniably true. When considering whether you should take up a commitment, I implore never to take it for the sake of your portfolio! While showing your future university applications or job interviewers your previous  leadership positions (for example) in multitudinous prestigious fields may seem highly tempting, signing up for commitments against your own interests may make the process of committing ever more painful. This is because passion sustains you in tough times. For instance, should you ever become stressed out from your homework, your commitments can become an avenue for you to relieve your stress and have fun! Now, you may ask, “how can I tell if I am passionate about something?”. Well, in my opinion, passion is when you really love something and would happily contribute to the growth of it, even if you do not have a stake or leadership position in it. The development of that “something” and its positive impact on others also excite you. If this is you, go for the commitment if you have the time, energy and interest to handle it! 

Maintain Friendly Relations with your 3-4H2s

Now that we have discussed how to decide on whether to take up a commitment, what are some things that you can then expect? A rather obvious implication is having less time for your academics. This is where it may be tempting to neglect some subjects just because they may deceivingly look easier to tackle later on. Such subjects may seem like they have less homework, or may be skills-driven instead of being practice-driven (e.g. Literature versus Mathematics), enticing us to put them at the back burner, potentially abandoning them. However, do try to ensure that thorough revision is still done for these subjects, especially if they are H2 subjects! This is because most, if not all subjects require effort and consistency to do well, and chucking them aside in midst of an extracurricular commitment may result in future struggles in keeping up with lectures and tutorials. This is especially so when your tutors teach other chapters that require fundamental skills from the chapters previously neglected! One example is Literature, where poetry skills in JC1 should be well-mastered before one is able to truly understand a poem and skillfully compare and analyse them against another, which is required inJC2. 

New Rigour… Who?

In my experience, I often took a few weeks to adjust to the new rigour of my new commitment. This is because upon taking a new responsibility, I will have to take some time to adjust to its workload and consequent stress. It also takes a few weeks of observation before I am able to judge the workload frequency and estimate the amount of time I need to complete the tasks. Thus, do not be discouraged or surprised if you ever feel a little overwhelmed or haphazard during this transition period! A little patience and faith will go a long way as you manage your time and build new habits to adjust to the rigour! 

Be your Own Ball of Sunshine During Adversities!

Finally, facing adversities in the course of your commitments is inevitable. This is where positivity comes into play with its paramount importance. While juggling commitments and a hectic schooling life may be a tiring journey, being positive in light of such obstacles helps to mitigate the “depressing” nature of life! When I get stressed out by my commitments and school, I often enjoy writing mini encouraging messages to myself on my lecture notes and journals. I know this may sound silly, but it renewed my confidence in myself as I continued with my task at hand. After all, it’s the mantra of “I may fail or not know what the outcome will be like, but I will still continue trying and be proud of myself!” that counts, right? 

As we near the end of this article, it is notable that different people may face different implications of taking up commitments, and these are just some of the lessons I have learnt! If you are intending to take up commitments, all the best in your management of it! You can do it!

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With great power comes great responsibility.

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