By Ong Wei Ching, Year 2 Undergraduate, SMU School of Social Sciences
“Parents were the only ones obligated to love you; from the rest of the world you had to earn it.” ― Ann Brashares, Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood
Stepping into Singapore Management University (SMU) is a whole new experience for all freshmen. From learning how to work in teams to juggling multiple commitments, it can be a challenge to manage it all alone. Fortunately for Nicole Foo, a second-year undergraduate at the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business, she had her parents’ full and unconditional support to rely on.
Nicole’s parents first became involved in her university life after attending SMU Parents’ Day 2017, an annual flagship event of the SMU Ambassadorial Corps (ASMU). We interviewed Nicole to find out what she and her parents had gained from the event:
Ong Wei Ching (OWC): Hi Nicole! We heard you went for SMU Parents’ Day 2017. What was it about?
Nicole (N): To start, I remember there were panel discussions, tours and a seminar room sharing session. Mostly the event centred around what we could expect from University, and they even gave quite a few faculty-specific tips as to how we can better manage our academic journey.
OWC: And was the event catered just for parents, or students as well?
N: Both, actually. I attended it with my parents!
OWC: Was that the first time your parents stepped into SMU?
N: Oh yes… But it was fun getting to go to school with my parents. They couldn’t make it for the Open House in March, but even if they did I think this event is quite unique in itself. At Open House you don’t really get that many chances to pose questions to professors and deans. But at Parents’ Day we did!
OWC: You seem to have enjoyed yourself. What was especially memorable about that day?
N: I’d say the Seminar Room sharing! It was done so professionally by the SMU Ambassadors, and it was very heartfelt given that they come from the position of seniors who seem to genuinely want to share their experiences with juniors like us. I especially remember being quite in awe of their ability to communicate eloquently and present themselves so confidently even in a room full of strangers. It was like an affirmation of how well SMU trains its students in developing presentation and interpersonal skills.
OWC: What was the sharing session about?
N: It was an overview of school activities that are especially for Freshmen like me, and main milestones I would go through during my SMU years in general.
OWC: So your parents got a glimpse of what to expect in university life?
N: Yes! I think my parents were quite reassured after the event, because we gained a lot of insight. Everyone we spoke to was so helpful and willing to share their own expertise (for staff) or experience (for the student Ambassadors), so we got a good spread of different perspectives.
OWC: That’s interesting. Do you think that because they went for this event, your parents are able to better support you?
N: Well I’ve never thought about it, but now that you mention it I think it’s a definite yes!
OWC: How so?
N: I wanted to make my university life fun, fulfilling and exciting. So I signed up for numerous CCAs and Organising Committees to get to meet new people, and discover more about what I plan to pursue in the future. My parents were extremely understanding whenever I came home late from school meetings, and I think that’s partially because they’ve heard from other students and even professors that these are essential university experiences!
OWC: Looks like you’ve had a fulfilling first year! What are your current involvements?
N: This summer, as part of ASMU, I’m planning for Parents’ Day 2018!
OWC: Wow! How are you involved?
N: I’m part of the programmes committee. We have planned a series of exciting line-ups for parents and students.
OWC: What sparked your interest to be part of the programmes committee?
N: I benefitted a lot from Parents’ Day 2017 and I hope that incoming freshmen can as well! I really wanted to have a hand at shaping Parents’ Day directly. It’s a day where parents will be able to walk away from the event having a clearer understanding of what their child is going through in university.
I have always loved organising events as I love squeezing my brain juices coming up with event ideas; plus, I really enjoy meeting new people. Something about engaging people and providing them with a great event experience is immensely satisfying to me.
OWC: I heard you took on a leadership role in the programmes committee?
N: Yes! I stepped up to become a Programmes 2 I/C. I wanted to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I crave a good challenge, and I strongly believe that being able to plan ASMU’s flagship event has definitely provided me with that.
Throughout this journey, I have honed both my soft skills and hard skills. I learnt how to effectively engage and liaise with external stakeholders, plan and coordinate tour briefs and curate programme slide decks – many of which are skills that cannot be learnt in the classroom.
OWC: I’m so happy for you! Any last words?
N: While this journey has had its ups and downs, I want to say ‘Thank You’ to my incredibly supportive team (shoutout to my Proggies!) who were always there to support me!
OWC: Thanks for sharing, Nicole. All the best for Parents’ Day!
N: Thank you too!
Find out more about the schedule for upcoming SMU Parents’ Day sessions here.