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Rites of Passage

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Rites of Passage

10 Jul - 14 Aug 2017

3E Lai Tin Long Kenaz

At first, I was terrified with having to go to the Rites of Passage programme in Australia. Being physically weak, I was sure I would be a burden to my groupmates, and the instructors were bound to get annoyed.

What I experienced was completely different to what I had expected. The instructors were friendly and encouraging. The activities were fun, and there was always enough time to sit back and forget about the academic stress. Our group met as strangers, but we bonded over time, and during our final activity—the Leap of Faith—we supported and trusted each other.

Our group had lots of problems on our first day of expedition. It took us a long time to navigate and walk, and by the time we reached the campsite it was nearly dark. Our cooperation was sketchy and we had no idea what to do. Back at Kenilworth Homestead, our instructors gave us tips on improving efficiency – first, always be supportive; second, never give up.

We took the lessons to heart – we helped slower teammates through the steep slopes; teammates compensated their lack of strength with strong perseverance in will; we worked as a team, and never blamed one another for our mishaps.

As Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." With the support of our team, many of us achieved what had, only moments ago, seemed impossible. Whether it was climbing, abseiling, canoeing, or hiking, we sought to encourage each other, through whatever means it takes. Some of us volunteered first, to show everyone else that it was fine. Some showered the others with compliments and encouragements. Some joked around to lighten up the mood.

Looking back, when I first glanced upon the namelist, my group was a collection of outspoken, athletic, silent, silly, crazy, carefree, clever schoolmates. Most of us were complete opposites, stranger to each other. But we were brought together by our fears and challenges, our hopes and dreams. We cared for each other, and we never left anyone behind. We were, in our final days together in Australia, more than a group.

RoP certainly changed me for good. It took us out of our comfort zones. Yet, it was also about peace and tranquility, where we could quietly sit down in the meadow and just think, “What do I want to be? What should I do with my life?” RoP offered us chances to be in peace with nature, and challenge ourselves as we stepped off the platform – literally.