I’m proud to be an NUS student.
I know a lot of people think that it’s best for all students to start looking for caves to hide in (preferably those without any Internet cables) so that we can avoid contact with the outside world until this whole thing completely blows over or something. And, I mean, they have a point, since the school’s name has been unceremoniously dipped and dragged across many puddles of mud before being hung up on a flag pole for the rest of the world to see, the past few days.
But hey, it’s not like this is definitive of the school on the whole (if you think it is, then you should probably stand in a corner and reflect).
This is a university after all, and the last I checked, universities are basically scholastic institutions where research is conducted, and places in which students are offered courses leading to various degrees. Orientation camps (and most other student-organized activities, in fact) are pretty much optional, though there is no doubt that they can definitely add more splashes of colour to one’s university life.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another saga-related rant on the Internet. Like yeah, I do have my own set of views, but silence is golden sometimes *clears throat and narrows eyes at certain comments hanging under certain Facebook posts* and with so much negativity floating about in cyberspace at the moment, there’s no point in harping on the issue anymore, I think. It’s probably best to focus on what kind of torches we can dig out from the back of our closets amidst this terribly dark time instead–and I’m glad that a bunch of seniors have already taken the first step 🙂
When I first entered university, I was wholly dependent on Google because I didn’t really have any seniors who’d entered the same faculty as me. Everything was pretty intimidating–it was almost like attempting to learn Microsoft Excel based on really unhelpful tutorial videos that only reveal all the steps properly if you sign up for some salsa-dancing class that their company co-owns, or something oddly specific like that. Plus, I mean, while Google was great at providing me with information, it was pretty bad at giving me advice on whether I should consider taking a minor in something.
It was pretty neat watching the seniors jump in and offer interesting advice and useful tips (and links) to all the incoming freshmen as a way of making up for the absence of all freshmen orientation activities. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because it was so heartening to note that there are actually a lot of pretty cool people here 🙂
My sense of pride increased tenfold on Flag Day too, the one event I’d signed up for as part of my New Year’s resolution to be more actively involved in school… stuff (“stuff” being a testament to me doing nothing productive except sit behind my laptop at Starbucks at least four times a week, since I evidently have no idea what to call these… event things).
I mean, it was a pretty uncertain time, because there was a lot of backlash and cases of people harassing students who are using NUS shirts and everything. Like, I was surprised when I found out about all these too, because I figured Singaporeans weren’t an exactly confrontational bunch (unless, you know, there’s a screen and user-friendly privacy settings), so knowing that I was at risk of being on the other end of a public meltdown was pretty fucking scary, to say the least. In fact, while I didn’t get shouted at (the most I got was a lady rolling her eyes while muttering “NUS”, but that could mean anything, I think, like maybe she was frustrated at the way you spell “bonus” or something like that), some students were actually harassed by reporters and a few members of the public…
In any case, what tugged at my heartstrings was the outpouring of care and support from other NUS students, like even those whom I barely knew! 🙂 Yeah, that’s an exclamation mark and a smiley face right there, because it was that heartwarming, seeing so many come forward, giving us lowly flaggers words of encouragement and all; one student even gave us candy with “Jiayou!” plastered at the back. A couple of NUS alumni wished me good luck and told me not to be bogged down by the recent drama as well, which was pretty sweet (holla, wherever you are, kind souls).
And all these are in addition to the messages from my friends and schoolmates after news of students getting harassed broke out too, telling me to be careful and not be discouraged 🙂
Yeah, it was just all very positive and very less than three, I’m so glad I managed to experience the sense of solidarity firsthand. This is probably what school spirit is all about, I think; (and this is going to sound incredibly ugh) being there for one another, especially during a time when streaks of pewter appear across our school’s canvas every hour.
It’s no surprise that this aspect of NUS students wasn’t featured on the front page of newspapers, I suppose. *takes a long sip from my teacup*
Either way, I’m proud to be an NUS student, I really am.