Let’s talk about life in NUS — like, really talk about it. You’ve heard these opinions stated time and time again: from staying on campus is better than not, to needing a high CAP to succeed in life. Do these statements have some element of truth to it or are they really just misconceptions?
Today, Reslife spills all as we discuss some of these long-standing claims, held by NUS students or the public alike. Dive right in as we share our two-cents worth, debunking four common misconceptions about life in NUS.
1. You Can’t Join CCAs After Freshman Year
As with any situation that would involve participating in a new activity or immersing yourself in a new environment, there would always be this fear that you might not fit in or that others might judge you simply for arriving late to the party. Past freshman year, many are afraid that everyone else their age might have already settled in, or that it’s too late for them to adjust to a new culture. However, the beauty of university lies in the freedom of choices that one can make — and that includes friendships with those of different ages too!
Most CCAs hold their own welcome orientation for incoming newbies so you can get to know your peers. So don’t let this idea of being “too unfamiliar” or “too late” to something hold you back. Just go in with an open mind and have fun. You never know what would come out of it unless you try, and don’t discount yourself until others have had the chance to see what you’re made of!
2. Staying On Campus is The Only Way To Live a Vibrant Student Life
First, let’s define what a vibrant student life entails. To most, it typically means an experience where you learn new things, grow as a person and gain meaningful connections. If we are looking at these components individually, it is definitely something that can be achieved off-campus as well.
Many assume that staying on campus is the only way to fully immerse yourself in student life, and indeed, it is the most convenient way to gain access to a myriad of activities and opportunities. However, this doesn’t make either option better or worse — each has its pros and cons. Staying on campus has its own set of social commitments that can easily become overwhelming if not kept in check, and staying off campus doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on anything.
Check your NUS Email often so you don’t miss out on the activities. Other than joining student clubs and societies, there’s also programmes like the Student Exchange Programme (SEP) or NUS Overseas Colleges — where you can study and travel simultaneously. If you’re just looking to meet new people, you can also venture into platforms like Project Aphrodite — a dating project for NUS & Yale-NUS students using a Nobel Prize-winning algorithm to find one ideal match, or NUS Chat Bot (@nuschatbot) on Telegram — which matches you with anonymous strangers online.
3. You Need a High CAP To Succeed in Life
As full-time students, we often fall into the trap of associating our self-worth with our grades. Especially in Singapore’s highly competitive culture, it has become all too easy to feel as if our future is fully dependent on whether or not we do well in school.
Your CAP doesn’t define your worth as a student. While there are employers who still judge a candidate solely by their CAP, it doesn’t mean that we are doomed if we don’t get that A grade or graduate with an elusive first-class honours.
To put things in another perspective, you can see the time you spend in NUS as a safety net. Try everything you want, while still in school. There is great value in honing your own wide repertoire of skills and doing what you enjoy — be it in building a startup, an Instagram shop, a home bakery, volunteering, teaching and so on. Beating yourself up over achieving academic success is not worth compromising on the development of other areas of your life. Education comprises more than just academia — redefine what is most important to you and then go from there.
4. You Can’t Make Friends in Tutorial Classes
In our previous article on building lasting friendships on campus, we discussed The Friendship Formula: Proximity x (Frequency + Duration) x Intensity. Referencing this equation, it may seem unlikely to make deep, lasting friendships with those we meet in passing during tutorials. Especially now as remote learning is par for the course due to the pandemic, it’s natural to feel like real friendships are a myth.
While nothing beats getting to know someone in person, that’s not to say that making friends in the new normal is impossible. In fact, holding classes over Zoom has its own set of opportunities.
Being willing to switch on our camera on Zoom during more intimate settings like group project meetings or breakout rooms, or even using functions like the private chat box or personal Telegram to interact, are great ways to create a warm environment online. After all, our lecturers or facilitators are trying their best to create a nurturing environment for us to learn, so it’s always good to help out where we can and meet them halfway.
Every friendship starts somewhere, and in a connection-starved pandemic world, every bit counts. Be open and see where that takes you.
Do you know of any common misconceptions held by students here in NUS? Drop us a comment down below or email us at at firstname.lastname@example.org!