So far, I have taken part in 5 Running Hour sessions. During these sessions, everyone is paired up with an intellectually or physically challenged person to either walk, jog or run around the national stadium track or pedestrian path from the national stadium to Marina Barrage. Each time, I have been paired up with a different person, mostly those that have a form of autism.
This is a different experience for me as I have not previously done local service with people before, but mostly with animals. Therefore, this was an unfamiliar environment that I learned to adapt to and in doing so, I developed the social skills necessary to interact with intellectually or physically challenged people. I have also developed friendships with some of them and so I can feel more connected to locals in Singapore with various personal challenges. In the photos below which was taken during the sessions, guides (non-challenged) and those with disabilities are all posing together which shows that the ability to adapt to the new environment to connect within the group.
By talking to those that I was helping, I have also increased my understanding of their situations and how they are affected by their disabilities. For example, I now understand more about their education and how different schools in Singapore are specially adapted to helping the intellectually and physically challenged. I also recognise the ethical issues that they face when finding employment as most of their options are limited to retail and service jobs. This contributes to my understanding of global issues as well since this isn’t only the case in Singapore.
In terms of Running Hour itself, the positive effects of volunteering to help those with disabilities are clear. Not only does this service give them the opportunity to do exercise in a secure environment with people looking out for their safety, but it also gives them the chance to connect with other people who have disabilities and even people who don’t have disabilities. One thing to take into consideration is the mental health of the disabled, especially if topics are brought up during conversation that are particularly sensitive to them. However, I believe that the advantages to them outweigh the possible negative effects.
Throughout this volleyball season, I have developed my volleyball skills greatly through training and game play. These skills not only include volleyball techniques but also collaboration and communication skills within the team.
At the start of this season, my two main goals were to improve my setting technique to increase my accuracy during game play as well as my serving percentage as many of my serves did not land in.
During training, we practiced serving so that we could improve during game play. By taking advice from my coach, particularly about aiming very high above the net, I managed to improve my serving percentage. In the photos above, it can be seen that I am aiming quite high, showing that I have learned from my coach’s advice and applied it in game play.
Although I now have the correct technique, I believe that I can further advance my serving by putting in more power which is now one of my weaknesses that I intend to focus on.
From the video above, it is clear that I have improved on my setting technique and as a result, I am more confident with setting and my accuracy is quite high. Setting is now one of my strengths in volleyball although at the start of the year it was a possible challenge for me.
In the video, communication between the team is clearly evident. In volleyball, collaboration is extremely important. During games, there is a lot of communication to help the other players on the team know what to do. For example, shouting “free” lets the people at the net know to move backwards and be ready to take a ball that is coming over. As can be seen in the photo below, we also say “here” to help our teammates know where to pass the ball.
In addition, collaboration includes motivating team members. For example, we congratulate our teammates when they have a good serve, set, bump, block, tip or hit. This increases the moral of the team and improves play as well. These are therefore valuable contributions to the team.
Collaboration in volleyball isn’t only important during games but also in training. In my team, everybody has different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, we can take advice from each other in order to improve our game play. For example, serving is one of my weaknesses; however, one of my teammates is a very good server. She was able to help me improve my technique by giving me tips. I was able to help one of my teammates as well by helping her to understand where she was meant to be positioned during game play.
As a local service this year, I have joined Running Hour. This is a service that partners with intellectually or visually challenged members to engage in light physical activity and conversation. I am new to this service this year so I am not entirely familiar with the goals of this service. However, my expectations are that I will be able to develop an understanding of how being intellectually or visually challenged affects the lifestyle of individuals in the Singaporean community.
I have not done local service with people before, my only other local service experience was at an animal shelter. I have noted this as an area that I may have been lacking and so one thing that I am looking forward to is participating in a service that clearly impacts the local community in a different way than what I have done previously. I see this as an opportunity for me to grow in my understanding of social issues and develop my skills in interacting with people that I don’t normally interact with. With this, I can also gain insight into global issues as there are many similarities between challenged people in Singapore and overseas.
From July 16th to August 3rd, I did an internship at a company called Red Shoe Communications. They specialised in training senior executives in communications skills ranging from how to answer media interview questions to presenting to a boss or customer. My main supervisor for most of my internship was Kathy O’Brien (email@example.com). Although my internship was only three weeks, it was a great learning experience and I completed many tasks that helped both the company and my own personal growth.
My goals were to gain insight into work life, how skills learnt in school can be applied, and develop skills that I can use in the future. I think that most of the tasks that I was given matched these goals. I made sure to think about what I would gain from each task while I was doing it.
Quite a few of the projects I had were research tasks on individual clients, their companies, and major events in Singapore so that the trainers would have a summary of the information they needed. For individual clients, I familiarised myself with LinkedIn in order to gain useful information for Red Shoe. This research also enabled me to learn about how LinkedIn works as well as read samples of profile and job descriptions; I have been able to apply this knowledge to my own LinkedIn page as a result.
While researching companies, I compiled information from many different sources including the company’s own website as well as articles on recent company news. This allowed me to explore different types of companies and learn more about how each business and action affects others. I also researched major events such as the SingHealth cyber attack, the new PropellAsia proptech accelerator program and Broadcom’s decision to buy CA Technologies to find general information as well as opinions on these events. Through this research, I learned more about the events, broadening my knowledge on recent news. Additionally, I gained an understanding of opposing perspectives and how individuals and companies respond to these events. Overall, this research enabled me to learn more about companies as well as apply my research skills from school to see how they can be used in work life.
During my internship, I was able to attend one of Red Shoe’s workshops to make sure it ran smoothly. Therefore, I was able to take on the responsibility of making sure the workshop was a straightforward and trouble-free experience for the clients. However, I was also able to listen and learn some of the presentation and elevator pitch skills that were being taught which I will be able to put into practice in the future. Attending this workshop also enabled me to see the type of work that Red Shoe does and what training sessions look like.
One of my last few projects at Red Shoe was to create visually appealing social media content for a company event in collaboration wth Children of Peace International, an NGO that helps underprivileged children in Vietnam. My task was to think of media content and design posts. This allowed me to practice design skills. I had another similar project to this where my task was to find quotes that represented the company well and create content that they could post on LinkedIn using these quotes as well as photos I found online.
I also helped with various administrative tasks around the office during my internship, some examples being revising the agenda during a team meeting, organising Red Shoe’s library, updating their catalogue, packing for training workshops, filing workshop materials and feedback forms, and updating equipment such as iPads and powerpoint slide decks. These tasks all helped me gain insight into the operations of a company.
In addition, I have developed a deeper understanding of work ethics such as punctuality, and professionalism, as well as learnt the boundaries at which certain behaviours are acceptable for all levels within an organisation – including executives. I learned about the aforementioned boundaries more from discussions with family members about the ethics of some of my colleagues.
Overall, I think that my internship was a large learning experience and I have developed many of my skills that I will be able to use in the future as well as see how some of the work that we do in school can be applied to work life.
This week in Tabitha, I took on a leadership role of sorts where I contributed greatly to the discussion and made sure to organise the ideas from the group onto the minutes document. I brought my creativity to the meeting as I helped brainstorm ideas for improvements that we could make to the Tabitha gift certificates and the upcoming Holiday Fair. I was also innovative and took initiative by finding the reflections from last year’s Holiday Fair and explaining the things that we needed to work on this year. In this way, I used my previous experience to lead a discussion about planning for the event. Additionally, I took charge of recording the discussion digitally on the minutes document, showing my leadership and organisational skills. This helped the group as I was able to consolidate feasible ideas and note down everything so that we would be able to come back to it in order to refresh our memories instead of having to spend more time remembering our discussion and generating ideas again. Furthermore, I wrote a brief agenda for the next meeting so that we will have focus and know what needs to be done; therefore, we will be more efficient.
Overall, this week in Tabitha I was able to show my commitment and positive contribution to the Global Concern by taking on a leadership role in the meeting and using previous experience to look for areas that we can improve as a service group in general as well as during the upcoming Holiday Fair.
My volleyball journey started in Grade 8 where I joined a volleyball club in UWCSEA Dover on the weekends. I personally took initiative to find a way to improve my volleyball skills outside of school.
In season 4 of Grade 9, I joined the U19 pre-season volleyball activity. This helped me improve my fitness and volleyball skills in order to try-out in Grade 10 at representing the school in volleyball. During the season, I developed my volleyball skills relating to passing, setting, serving, and hitting. My collaboration skills have also evolved as teamwork in volleyball requires communication. The overall team performance is determined by the attitude of each player and can be improved by either by encouraging and supporting other teammates, or becoming more confident and take more risks by trying to go for the ball.
In addition, volleyball pre-season has shown my commitment to learning new things, as well as shows that I am a risk taker for trying a new sport. The activity shows that I am committed as I hardly missed any of the practices and tried my best throughout the season.