Written by: Sarah Cheng
Edited by: Shervin Lim
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn
Guided by capable leaders, you can be certain that we will achieve great things. Without such leaders, our hall merely possesses potential. In lieu of the upcoming elections, we met up with the JCRC President, Sritam, and Vice President, Jessica, to find out what they do, what makes them tick, and what they have learnt in their term as the most influential student leaders in KEVII Hall.
First off, would you two like to introduce yourselves?
S: Ladies first.
J: Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m the Vice President of the 58th JCRC. I’m from Business, Year 2, intending to major in Management and Human Resources. The CCAs I’ve joined, besides JCRC, are Squash, Touch Rugby, and Floorball.
At this point, we caught none other than Shu Chin, the Hon Gen Sec, trying to sneak into the room to eavesdrop, commenting on how this interview was like déjà vu, having interviewed them when they were still candidates for presidency last year.
S: I’m Sritam and I’m the President of the 58th JCRC. I’m currently in my second year in Computer Engineering. This year, I only joined Floorball, besides JCRC. Next year, I won’t be in hall because I’ll, hopefully, be going to Silicon Valley for a year. Jessica will be going to Copenhagen for one semester on SEP.
J: I hope they’ll take me back in the second semester!
The JCRC is already quite busy; how do you juggle heading the JCRC, CCAs, on top of school, friends, and family?
S: Let’s start with the basics: time management. For me, it’s relatively easier because my family’s not in Singapore. To spend time with them, I call them every day. I also go back for a month during holidays, although I only returned for six days during the December break because of JCRC. Regarding studies – if you regularly study, attend lectures, and go for tutorials during the day, that should be enough to keep you updated. Lastly, unlike Jessica, I’m not attached, so I have a bit more free time to fit in my CCA.
J: I’ll start with family. To be honest, I haven’t gone home in three weeks because of IHG and also because my house is far away in Tampines. I guess my mom has been quite understanding. But I also have three sisters at home, so the house should be a lot quieter without me around! Usually, I try to go home on weekends or at least meet up with my family for dinner on Saturday nights. For schoolwork, as a Business student, I think my timetable is a lot freer than others, so I have more time in the day to do my tutorials. My main CCAs are all sports, which can be quite tiring with training from Mondays through Thursdays. But it’s not that bad because I’ll try to get schoolwork done in the afternoon so I can attend training in the evening.
What are the perks of being the President and the Vice President?
S: I think there are A LOT of perks. I’ll talk about the material ones first: as JCRC members, we get a lot of free tickets to other halls’ productions. And the President gets a one-year membership to the Guild House! Yeah, there are many other benefits: free dinners and get-togethers with OSA… In hall, we get the benefit of choosing our rooms first in room draw and guaranteed hall-stay.
J: But both of us won’t be here next year, so it won’t really be a perk for us…
S: It’s also really a privilege to be leading such a big organisation (about 469 residents). Whatever we do impacts these people, and it’s an honour to be serving all of you. We might not get this opportunity again in the future, to make a change in people’s lives in such a way.
J: This gave me the chance to attend the Raffles Hall musical production last semester, and it was really an eye-opener. It’s quite interesting to be presented with such opportunities.
S: JCRC is also quite busy, and Jessica likes to be kept busy, so JCRC really is a perk for her. Am I right, or am I right? (Laughs)
What has been your most fulfilling experience in the JCRC?
S: Our term hasn’t ended yet, but, so far, my most fulfilling experience was when I got my full team. In our hall, the President and Vice President have to convince people to join the team. When we finally hit 12 people, I was very happy and excited to start sharing what plans we had with the rest of them.
J: One of my most memorable moments was when we first stepped up. As the incoming JCRC, you’re automatically in charge of the holiday CCAs (KEWOC and Rag). I worked quite closely with them, and being new, we asked Kong and Hon Qi for advice. After that whole experience, you’ll start learning a lot of things about hall that you didn’t really get to know about as someone not in the JCRC.
S: Confidential stuff.
What were the challenges you faced in your term?
S: Oh, many. To begin with, Jessica and I are from Year 2, a bit too early to run for JCRC, some would say. We had to do a lot of talking and researching to find out things about hall we might not have known in our first year. There are also the smaller challenges all JCRCs would face, allowing us to make mistakes, learn, and then do things right.
J: Even though were from the JCRC, we’re still residents in hall. So we’ll interact with a lot of hall leaders who are also your friends. You’ll have to handle things very professionally sometimes when your friends ask you, for example, about budget. It’s up to you to explain to them that you’re allocating to the hall as a whole, not to them as a friend. We’ve got to learn how to handle things on both ends.
S: Another thing I’d like to add is that many members of our team are doing concurrent roles – Jessica is the Squash captain, Zhao Ming, our Sports Director, is the Squash captain as well, Gao Yu is in XQ, and a lot of them are also heavily involved. For them, they have to do a lot to handle their major CCA and JCRC at the same time.
Do you ever feel disheartened by these challenges? What do you do to keep yourselves motivated?
J: I mentioned friends and hall leaders. These people are involved in making the decisions. And when your friends don’t understand where you’re coming from regarding these decisions, it can get a bit upsetting. But at the end of the day, if you explain everything properly, our hall leaders can be very understanding people. And even if they’re arguing with you about the budget, you can see that they really do care about their CCA, and not themselves, which is motivating.
S: It’s not disheartening, just tiring sometimes. What keeps me going is when I see residents being happy and bonded – when they’re enjoying a hall activity or just eating supper together. These are the people who are enjoying hall life.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of running for President or Vice President?
S: Go for it! Some people would tell you to think twice, but I’ll just say go for it. Even if you are keen on running, there’ll be a lot of people telling you not to do it. But if you decide to follow your heart and take the plunge, you won’t regret it.
J: I agree with what he says –
S: Jessica would say “think twice”!
J: If you’ve made up your mind to run, you’ll still have doubts and people will ask you why you’re still doing this if you have doubts. I think it’s okay to have doubts. In the end, it makes you work harder to prove that you can do it. If you have the intention as well as the skills to run, why not? Just go for it.
Lastly, any closing comments for our residents?
S: Those of you thinking of running for presidency or joining the JCRC, feel free to approach me or any of the JCRC members. We are always willing to share. We wanna share that we don’t just do saikang stuff, that we don’t(do?) sleep at night, (and not) screw up our studies or sacrifice social life. You’ll make a lot of good memories with your team, and results-wise, even though I’m in JCRC, my CAP has improved significantly from last semester. For many of the others, their CAP has either stayed the same or improved. So don’t worry so much… unless it’s really, really bad, can’t be worse than mine lah! (Laughs) Just come and talk to me, and I’ll let y’all know what we can do.
J: I think university is not just about academics. I mean, getting a degree is important, but do you really want to spend the last three or four years of your life before work just studying? To me, it isn’t very appealing, that’s why I’d encourage people to join JCRC next year if you’re interested. It’s a good experience and the soft skills that you’ll learn will also be of use in your workplace. JCRC isn’t just saikang or a waste of your time!
Don’t be afraid to nominate anyone you think has what it takes to run for election!
You can also like the KEVII Hall JCRC Presidential Elections Facebook page for more updates!