“Hindsight is always 20/20.”
Often in life, we are only able to see things clearly when we look back, and what may seem obvious in the present may not be so from the outset. As such, we often regret some of the decisions we made when we reflect on them and inevitably, wish that we had done things differently.
Why did I pick option A instead of B for that question?
Why did I choose to stay up late when I have a morning class the next day?
Why did I buy that pair of shoes when I could have saved the money for more important things?
But for our alumni of the Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) from the NUS Halls of Residence, does this proverb hold true?
At the recent Halls of NUS (HoNUS) Leaders’ Retreat 2023, we grabbed the opportunity to ask two JCRC Alumni, Yang Sheng (Class of 2018) and Trevor (Class of 2018), questions about their JCRC experience, hoping to understand their biggest regrets during their respective tenures, things they would have done differently if they could go back in time and do it all over again, as well as their hopes for the future of the Halls of NUS.
Yang Sheng, who served in Eusoff Hall’s JCRC from 2014 to 2018, including as its President in AY 17/18, noted that his biggest regret during his tenure was the inability to delegate work to his peers. He wrote, “I tend to hoard jobs for myself as I often felt “paiseh” in tasking others on certain roles that were not explicitly part of their defined job scopes.” Because of this, Yang Sheng had to take up several additional duties, on top of his responsibilities as the President, during what was going to be an extremely hectic year for Eusoff – the hall was celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2018 and there were multiple events lined up throughout the year.
Although he had little trouble juggling the extra work, he inadvertently gave many residents the impression that the Hall President’s job was a very demanding one, consequentially affecting the number of people willing to take up the role in the subsequent AY. Looking back, Yang Sheng wished that he had done things differently. “I could have tasked them some of these roles so that the team would be more united. In the beginning I could have also explained to them that since it was the 60th anniversary, there would be exciting events planned.” he reflected. In this case, hindsight has certainly helped him to further develop his leadership qualities, allowing him to apply useful lessons in his current job as a manager in the financial services industry.
While Yang Sheng epitomises the proverb in question, Trevor interestingly eschews it. An integral part of Temasek Hall’s JCRC from 2015 to 2018, Trevor mentioned that looking back, he had no regrets at all. The former Temasek Hall President (AY 17/18) felt that he and his team did everything they could during their tenure to make lasting improvements to the hall. The impacts of some of these initiatives are still present, some five years after his graduation. Apart from positively impacting his residents, Trevor’s time in the JCRC also helped him to grow and develop as a person. He wrote, “I learnt so much about myself through it all: my strengths, my flaws, my sense of purpose. That has allowed me to be a better version of myself in my work and personal life today.”
Although Yang Sheng and Trevor had juxtaposing responses with regards to the regrets they may have, when asked about their hopes for the future of the Halls of NUS, there was a strong consensus – for future leaders to have the dedication to build a community that puts the needs of its residents first. Anchored by a myriad of co-curricular activities and events that residents can participate in, the Halls of NUS have always been known for their vibrant culture. Both alumni hope that future leaders can continue to put in the work to create a resident-first community that maintains this unique tradition.
So, is hindsight always 20/20 when it comes to one’s JCRC experience? Honestly, it really doesn’t matter. What matters the most is that you had the heart to serve your hall and did everything you could with your fellow JCRC members to build a thriving community – one that everyone enjoyed being a part of and one that everyone can proudly call a true home away from home.
As Trevor so aptly put, “Always remember the people who placed their trust in you and gave you their vote, and always keep focused on the kind of community you would like to build. Always remember why you decided to step up in the first place, no matter how tough the times might get.”
As long as you remember and abide by this piece of advice, one is well on their way to becoming a successful JCRC Leader.
Find out more about our six Halls of Residence and how to become a JCRC member here!