Head Boy provides valuable insights into Singaporean National Service

Thursday April 4, 2019

Concord was ‘delighted’ to welcome former Head Boy, Chris back to the college this week, to deliver valuable insights into National Service (NS) to Concord’s Singaporean sixthformers. Chris, who since leaving Concord last June has been undergoing his NS duty, delivered an inspiring talk to 35 6.1 and 6.2 students, in Concord’s Old Chapel. He currently serves as an Infantry member in the Officer Cadets School, after previously completing 9 weeks of basic military training – known as BMT. The afternoon talk provided students information about the different roles available and what they entail, as well as honest reassurances about the skills and experiences you develop. Chris also spoke of the adjustment process, including the strict regimentation of daily life, ‘harsh’ outfield survival experiences and examples of punishments – but was very positive about the gains and understanding from such practices. Said Chris: “At first, you may feel emotional, home sick and miss the simple freedoms like being on your phone when you like or eating what you like. “Officers may implement punishments sometimes too, but they have your best interests at heart and always explain to you why and what they expect. “You’re also surrounded by people of different ages and backgrounds – it’s normal to worry whether you’ll fit it and make friends… “Everyone there faces the same hardship and worries. But the joy of it is experiencing it together and being there for one another. It’s the people who make the difference. “I would say, stay authentic and true to yourself, but get involved and be a team player! You’ll learn things about other people, and more importantly, learn about yourself. “Be open minded and motivated, and I assure you, you’ll learn things in the army and develop in ways you can’t anywhere else.” Reflecting on the talk, Concord’s Dr Rob Pugh, Assistant Principal (Careers and University Admissions) said: “At the risk of generalising, I think the students underestimate how different life will be in NS – It is so difficult to prepare for what is in store while studying in a UK college. “As far as Concord is concerned, there’s also consideration about how difficult it can seem, going through the university application process whilst in the army. “But, students should be reassured that top universities are familiar with the processes of NS and are usually quite generous in sorting applications and interviews to suit." Chris added: “Some people are concerned about going to university older than most other students too, due to NS. But think of it this way – you’re going to university with knowledge, wisdom and many other life skills. “Even after university, having served will be beneficial when applying for jobs, due to the transferable skills you’ve learnt.” Said Dr Pugh: “Once again, we’re very grateful to Chris providing his insights and experiences and I think this has been enormously valuable to the Concord students.”