The Ridge is proud to present the first edition of The Ridge Insider, a series of glimpses into the lives of those in the NUS community.
Centering on this month’s theme, Fall, we hear from our Editorial Board about a period when they were feeling down in NUS and how they got back on their feet.
We hope these short yet heartwarming stories will encourage you in some way, during this last few intense weeks of school. For those of you facing a time of adversity, press on. We understand it’s tough, but before you know it, the race will be over soon!
Shana, Features Desk Editor
Like most of my friends, I often feel sad after receiving mediocre grades. This year, it is my language modules that are weighing me down. It seems that learning new grammar rules, sentence structures and vocabulary just isn’t my forte, no matter how much effort I put into it. But as the semester progressed, I found myself enjoying these classes, not least because I made hilarious friends with whom I can attempt to crack jokes and puns in a different language. What I’d like to share with you is this: It’s not that grades aren’t important, but don’t get discouraged if you aren’t doing as well as you want. Sometimes, just taking it easy and enjoying the learning process can give you just as much joy. Press on!
Drishti, Co-News Desk Editor
Coming to Singapore four years ago was a whole new experience for me – a new country, a new school, a new life. I was uncertain how ready I was these adjustments: I panicked at the smallest of problems, and I feared that I would start changing in many ways, and grow apart from my family and friends back home. I was caught between holding on to the past and embracing change in the present. Over time, I realised that I could do both.
Gradually, I found the courage to start conversations, explore the city and try out new activities at my school. I was also able to stay connected with my family and friends despite being so far away (so thankful for technology!). This experience made me realise that a new beginning does not mean letting go of the good times in the past. True friends will always stay in touch, and our best memories never leave us. So if you’ve ever felt the same, go ahead and embrace the new changes in your life – and do so fearlessly!
Velda, Co-News Desk Editor
One of the downtimes I experienced was right after the most rewarding and fulfilling summer of my life in NUS. I was undergoing a quarter-life crisis (I’ve always felt older than my actual age anyway), and was trying to juggle between work, school and external commitments. Since then, I’ve learnt to toughen myself up and cut out unnecessary commitments. I started to be kinder to myself, to demonstrate the meaning of agape love, and to be unashamedly Christian. I’ve also learnt how to take my work seriously, but myself lightly, such as by not over-extending myself and always expecting perfection.
I strongly believe that people should empower one other, not tear each other down. Don’t do something for others just to say you did it, but do it because you want to. I’ll always be grateful and appreciative for the friends I made in NUS who were there for me when I was down.
Varsha, Opinion Desk Editor
As a freshman, it feels as if the hardest time of my university life has yet to come. The setbacks I’ve encountered have mostly been related to adjusting to university life, particularly socialising. Starting over in a new environment, with a vast number of people whom I barely know, has made it daunting for me to make new friends. I’ve somehow ingrained the mindset that I’m struggling with a process that should be easy – after all, the people around me have been grouping off faster than I can say ‘hello’. Being a pretty strong introvert hasn’t helped. However, in recent weeks I’ve been slowly venturing out of my comfort zone. It might take a while, but it’s a welcome change all the same.
Angelita, Entertainment Desk Editor
A wise man once said, “What does not kill you makes you stronger.” But how do you know that it just doesn’t kill you slowly?
One major fall I experienced was when my grades fell at the end of my first year. Because I had barely fulfilled the requirement to retain my scholarship, I was kept under probation. My mediocre grades were only a symptom of the larger issues I was battling in NUS: I could not adjust, and the stiff competition amongst my peers did not help. So I started honing my soft skills, such as by strengthening my mental state and finding a support system. It took me another two semesters, but I eventually managed to get out of probation.
I’m not trying to make this sound like a success story – I still struggle every single day. But take solace that while it may very be killing you slowly, you are still alive today, and that means something.
A few months ago, I was really looking forward and excited for a concert I was going to participate in as part of NUS Dance Blast. Unfortunately, I was hit by a very bad eye infection, and could not perform after three months of intense rehearsals and vettings. I was really discouraged. Honestly, I would have felt a lot worse if not for the constant support and words of encouragement from my friends. That was what got me back up on my feet.
Maya, Creative Desk Editor
When I was in my first year at NUS, writing essays was a big challenge. I found it very difficult to grasp the skills required to write an academic essay, and as a result, I was often disheartened by the subpar grades I initially received. Eventually I learnt that as a literature major, improving my writing is a continual process and so I worked hard at it. My essays improved after that!
Ching Peng, Wired Desk Editor
When I was already one year into my previous major, I began to realise that it really wasn’t for me. I enjoyed the field of study, but not the environment I was in – and that made me reconsider my options seriously. I still had a chance to switch my major, and it felt like I was standing at a crossroad in my life. I passed the semester stressed out and tired. In the end, I decided to take the leap. Now, I’m a lot happier where I am, doing what I like, in an environment more comfortable for myself.
Kelman, Head Designer
I never thought that a bad grade would affect me so negatively. The big fat ‘C-‘ circled in red on my essay script, accompanied with a ‘SEE ME’, screamed out to me. I already knew then that I was doomed for. It was a painful experience, having to be beaten down by mere ink on paper. Looking back, I never really liked the module, nor the professor, and I regretted deeply taking that class. I was pretty down when the semester’s results were released. Now, whenever a new semester is approaching, I make sure I know what I’m getting myself into for the months ahead.
Karen, Creative Director
This is the time of the semester where meetings and classes are back-to-back, leaving us with no time to even catch our breaths. In the midst of juggling an overwhelming amount of submissions and tests, it is only human to feel tired and make mistakes. But don’t be afraid to fall, because a setback is a setup for a comeback.
Fern, Deputy Chief Editor
I have bad luck – birds love using me as a target practice for their projectile poo, I’ve had a car door slam on my thumb (that is luckily still attached to my hand), and I’ve caused others to fall like dominoes on the shuttle bus. But I never expected someone to actually fall on top of me – I was walking up the stairs along AS1 when a girl in the opposite direction tripped and grabbed the nearest thing (me) to break her fall. Being a seasoned klutz, I managed to minimise my damage and stayed intact. The best thing to do right after a fall? Get up and keep walking forward. Sometimes, it even makes for a pretty good laugh afterwards.
Wendy, Chief Editor
My first year in NUS can be likened to one extremely long and excruciating fall – mentally, emotionally and physically. I couldn’t cope with the daily avalanche of schoolwork, and it began to take its toll on my health. Yet I’m thankful, because what helped me through it all was knowing that I was not alone – I had God by my side, and the support and encouragement of my friends and family.
No matter how dark a period you’re going through, know this: you are never alone, and it will get better. Talk it out, pray if you do, and don’t forget to listen and lend a hand to those around you – because they may have fallen, just like you once did, too.