CAS: Reflection on DSA – 29.11.18

It has been about 4 weeks since we started going to the DSA for our sessions and I’ve learned many things! Firstly, I feel fairly happy with my journey and making friendships in the DSA. Personally for me, it was a challenge to get to know them. But I managed to be acquaintance with a few of the members of the DSA.

So far, I’m learning a lot about leadership and the reality of interacting with people with down syndrome. Being a part of the group, you usually have to take the initiation to start a conversation, or prompt them to be part of the group too. While it helps with my leadership skills, I also learn about people with down syndrome at the same time. Being part of the DSA has made me widen my horizons and views of people with down syndrome.

I feel like I developed knowledge, skills and understanding, all in different areas. Firstly, I’ve been more knowledgable on what down syndrome is like, and how it plays in real life. Being around the DSA members gives me an insight and understanding of living life with down syndrome, even if it’s only 2 hours with them. One skill I definitely developed would be my conversation skills. Talking to the members of the DSA challenged my conversational skills. Initially, I couldn’t hold a conversation because I simply did not know what to say, or what to do. Though it isn’t significant, I’m glad that I managed to be friends with some of them and know what their interests are, outside of singing songs!

My initial goals were to be acquaintance and be familiar to some of the members, and now that I’ve reached that first goal, I want to create another one and strike for that. So, by the end of the 3rd term, I would like to take one a leadership role inside the school’s service itself. Be it logistics, communications, etc! I generally think I am capable of being able to be a leader, I just need to get out of my comfort zone.

CAS Reflection: LaunchX

I started LaunchX at the beginning of the year because I wanted to start a company. I didn’t have an idea what, but I knew I wanted it to help the people of Singapore, and create something that was never been done before. But it’s tougher than it seems, because it took a long time to brainstorm and get the idea. Nevertheless, we came up with the idea of setting up a platform that allows students in Singapore to easily find jobs. The difference between our platform and any other platform is that ours is specifically for students. It’s a platform that also allows them to find internships suited for them. I thought of the idea because it is personally a struggle for me to find jobs because of how messy the website is, or how ambiguous the jobs were.

It started off smoothly, however, as we progressed through the idea, we picked many flaws and misunderstandings, which was expected. Factors such as how we’ll contact the companies, wether they want to be a part of this, and even visual designs were a struggle.

In the picture above was our first ever discussion, and a mini Q&A session for any misunderstandings. We didn’t want to go into this business blindly and questioned many things about the idea, though a lot of questions could be answered, there were a few that I needed to research on.

“How do we profit from this website?” 

“Are the companies willing to pay for this?” 

“Can this be established before the end of 2019?” 

It got me thinking, I still needed to know so much about starting up a business. The pressure started adding up, and I figured I should take it slow and steady, instead of rushing out and stressing myself out.

One thing we absolutely needed to get down was primary research. Eventually, I managed to make a survey towards Singaporeans. Luckily, I had connections and I asked a few people to complete the survey.

I managed to get some information out, so at least we had substance. My next plan is to go out and talk face to face with students and start contacting companies about the idea. There are still so many aspects to think about with this platform, but with teamwork, it would work out.

I would say I wasn’t that successful in achieving my mini goals, it’s hard to balance LaunchX with schoolwork and activities as well. But I’m extremely determined and passionate to make this platform come true, because I believe many students in Singapore face this problem as ell, and given the support of LaunchX, the platform could become real, and that is, the biggest goal.

CAS: Music Therapy with Down Syndrome Association (Day 1)

Today was the first session for my service to finally initiate our class sessions with the people at the DSA (Down Syndrome Association). After many in-class sessions of planning, we had a plan to introduce and acquaintance ourselves to the people and to get to know them as well! After that, we’d start the fun bit: singing.

Deciding what song they’d like, mostly Disney songs.

 

Now, I’m not a singer. Nor have I ever dealt with people of special needs, as ignorant as it may seem, I was never given the opportunity to. So of course I was excited! But also nervous, one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t know how to deal with them or that I’d come off as rude. I decided to put that all aside and focus on my main goal: to befriend one person and come out having a better understanding of people with down syndrome. 

As we entered the centre, we were warmly greeted by one of the students of the association! His name was Allen. He was a student at the DSA since he was “very little” and seemed to know everyone around. Despite some misunderstandings, I felt like Allen was genuinely happy to see us, which is really nice! Before getting into a circle, I managed to catch some small talk with some of the other students. I noticed some of them were much more talkative than others which actually surprised me in a good way. If anything, they talked more than me!

Another interaction that made me think was when I saw two students doing a type of handshake, y’know, the kind of handshake that are special only to specific friends. Kinda like a secret handshake. Seeing them have such an interaction made me think that just because they have a disability, that doesn’t stop them from being just like us. I feel like people stereotype other people with a mental disability as someone who doesn’t ‘understand’ the norm. Only to a certain extent is that true, but it’s important to remember they are just as capable as us in doing anything. 

My partner that day was Micheal. Even though I managed to fulfil my goal of being able to come out with an insight of people with down syndrome, I didn’t interact with Micheal as much as I wanted to. I felt as if I was too quiet and didn’t quite initiate enough, and that left me fairly disappointed.

I got out of the centre feeling somewhat surprised, pleased, but also let down. I was pleasantly surprised that the people at the DSA were very accommodating towards us and really treated us as friends! I also managed to get an experience of working with people with down syndrome (I’ve always wanted to work with people with special needs!) But I was also let down because I did not manage to really get to know any of the students. I told myself the next time I come back, I would get to know Micheal –or any of the students- more. Talk to them, ask them about their day, or anything really. But I was definitely happy with our first visit to the DSA.