Hi 5: 24th April 2015 by Ms Melanie Wu Yuk Tin
Good morning Mdm Tan, Mr Lee, Mr. Tan, colleagues and GESSIANs,
Before I begin, I ask that you all take out your GESS Life Handbook to jot down these few points.
This week marks a significant point for all our GESSIANs as your mid-year examination will begin next Wednesday. For the Sec 1s, this will be your first time sitting for a secondary school examination and I can imagine how you must be feeling: nervous, anxious or maybe even excited. For the Sec 2s, this is your second time and you should know what to expect, especially this year as you will be streaming into your subject next year. Sec 3s, this will test your preparedness and highlight what you need to work on for your national exams next year. As for you sec 4 and 5s, this will be the first of the last time you will sit for a secondary school examination as you prepare for your N and O-levels. It is indeed a very important milestone for all of you which is why I would like to share a thought with you about the importance of having GRIT. What does GRIT mean? Well, I realize most Singaporeans like acronyms so I will help to explain the word GRIT using the four letters G R I T:
G is for having Guts. As you study for your midyear examinations, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. In addition to reviewing the key points, go above and beyond and look for ways you can apply what you have learned. Be courageous, be bold, take risks, and look for challenging questions to prepare you.
R is for Resilience. As one of the core values of our school, Resilience is about being tough, reflective and persistent. You should be actively looking for resources and seeking help when you need to. Reflect and understand where your areas for improvement are and persist in overcoming them. Don’t give up right away if you can’t solve a problem the first time; move on to another and come back to it later.
I is for Integrity. Earlier during the week, Ms. Yee shared with us the story of the boy who chopped down his father’s tree. Having integrity means being honest and having strong moral principles. Even though you are studying by yourself, don’t sell yourself short of what you are capable of doing. Once you have set goals, commit yourself to these and follow through. As you challenge yourself, please remain honest and open. Don’t cheat by looking for shortcuts. Shortcuts might work temporarily but will do little to nothing in the long run.
And finally, T is for Tenacity. Be ambitious and yet recognize that success takes steps and does not happen overnight. Continue to think forward, solve your own problems to the best of your ability and remain steadfast. Set yourself a study plan, set timelines and goals and push yourself to follow through.
I would like to share with you one person that inspires me and demonstrate grit: Canadian athlete Terry Fox. He lost his right leg due to cancer and set up the Marathon for Hope to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. He set out to complete an 8000 km run across Canada. He challenged himself to complete this and to show the world that just because he lost his leg that it did not make him disabled. He once said in an interview that “[he] just wish people would realise that anything is possible if you try. Dreams are made if people try”. He didn’t let cancer define him. He managed to complete 5373 km and ran for 143 days before his cancer spread to his lung, making it physically impossible for him to continue. 9 months later he passed away at the young age of 22. He showed grit and never let anything get in his way. He believed in doing things himself and even declined those that were willing to complete the marathon for him. He had the guts to challenge himself, the resilience to overcome obstacles, integrity for insisting to finishing what he started and tenacity to reach his goal. Every year in school in Canada, we would honour his perseverance and passion by participating in the Terry Fox Run. His grit is known throughout the world and I even had a chance to participate in the Terry Fox Run here in Singapore organized by the Canadian Association in Singapore.
Angela Lee Duckworth is an American psychologist who studies GRIT. This is what she says about GRIT, which resonates with me: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
On that note, I hope you are inspired by Terry Fox’s story as you continue to work hard and take care of yourself, both mentally and physically for the marathon ahead.