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Joyce Manages Time Well In Leadership Projects

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Students with a heart:
SIM-RMIT University’s Student Council leading a fund-raising project for the Singapore Children Society in March 2014. They raise $5,000 through the sales of school bags, travel bags, customised badges and SCS merchandise. Left, Benjamin Yong, council president Joyce Sup and Jonathan Quek; behind are other RMIT student volunteers

RAISING funds for a children’s charity, organising an orientation camp for freshly enrolled students and managing a students’ beauty pageant are all in a day’s work for Joyce Sup Yee Hua, the indefatigable president of the RMIT Student Council at SIM campus.

“For RMIT students, we have so many activities going on,” says Joyce, 22, a petite bundle of energy as she moves from one meeting to another. The student council has just held the Orientation Camp at mid-year for more than 300 new students. “I was overseeing the planning team headed by my vice president, Jonathan. I was also overseeing some other teams concurrently,” says Joyce. “It was time-consuming because there were many details to take care of.”

The objective of the council, she says, is to enrich all RMIT students’ lives and create opportunities to help them de-stress outside their studies.

Time squeeze

Wise time management is therefore crucial to her. “I pack my meetings back-to-back so I don’t waste the day,” she explains. “For instance, if I am having a meeting with someone at SIM at 3pm, I would arrange another meeting at 12 noon (depending on meeting agenda and purpose), also at SIM. And by squeezing in lunch, I would have accomplished several tasks in sequence.”

The personal organiser she uses is Google Calendar which allows the calendar to be shared. Google Calendar is particularly handy when Joyce need to supervise various task forces working on the Mr & Miss RMIT pageant on October 2 at Zouk. “We have 14 sub-groups totalling 120 student volunteers working on this bash. I have to ensure everyone is performing their tasks as they are supposed to. So far, there are only minor issues and progress is smooth.”

Some of the tasks, she says, include scouting among the 7,000-strong RMIT students at SIM campus to pick five male and five female beauty participants, selling tickets for the event and signing up sponsors for goodie bags.

To add to her hectic schedule, Joyce is also holding a part-time sales job at a skincare retail outlet (picture below) in West Gate mall in Jurong.

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Joyce is pursuing a Bachelor in Business (Management) programme and completing her studies in January 2015. “I choose business management because I feel the modules would equip me with the knowledge I need to work both here in Singapore and overseas,” she says.

“My short-term goal after graduation is to get a job immediately to gain work experience for at least three years. After that I may sign up for a post-grad course to develop expertise in a more specialised profession.”

Staying in a jjimjilbang

“I love to travel,” says the Malaysian-born girl. “Travel allows me to experience different cultures. I would normally stay in hostels and try to be as close as I could to the locals. Once I slept overnight in a jjimjilbang outside Seoul just for the experience.”

Jjimjilbangs are popular spa premises in Korea, furnished with hot tubs, showers, Korean kiln saunas and massage tables. Elsewhere in the building are snack bars, ondol-heated floor for lounging and sleeping, exercise rooms, and sleeping quarters with bunk beds and sleeping mats.

Most jjimjilbangs are open 24 hours. One curious practice in Seoul is that men working in the city would stay in the jjimjilbang during weekdays while their families live outside the city to save cost.

Tuesdays with Morrie

Joyce’s favourite book is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, a New York Times bestseller. “The book is beautifully written, and the courage and wisdom of Morrie affected me deeply,” says Joyce.

“We think it’s important to work hard in order to reach a higher position and get better pay. But sometimes, we need to stop and reflect on what is truly important in life. Happiness is a state of mind, and is not necessarily holding a top job with a fat salary. The book helps me see life from such a perspective.” (See box story below)

Nutrition knowledge to eat well

Another strong interest that Joyce has is the study of nutrition science. “My dad once fell seriously ill and this started my desire to know everything there is about diet and how to stay healthy by eating healthy food.” This desire led Joyce to take up a poly Diploma in nutrition studies before her RMIT enrolment.

Joyce uses her knowledge of nutrition to advise family members and friends on the nutrition value of food packages, and to tell them whether a particular type of food is good for them.

One advice she gives is on whether ordinary people should consume multi-vitamins. “If you eat a proper diet you don’t need multi-vits because they can slow down food absorption,” she says. “But of course if you have a hectic lifestyle, and you’re too busy to sit down for a proper meal, then you may consider some health supplements like vitamins.”

Lite reading on love, acceptance, goodness

Tuesdays with Morrie could be considered a self-help manual on life, with a collection of lessons on values and ethical conduct, wrapped in a sentimental story.

The author recalls his graduation from Brandeis University in 1979 where his favourite professor is Morrie Schwartz. Years later, Morrie is diagnosed with ALS, a debilitating disease that leaves his mind alert but imprisoned inside a limp body.

Mitch, meanwhile, becomes increasingly frustrated with the life he has chosen after graduation. He leaves a failed career as a musician to be a journalist for a city newspaper. One night, he sees Morrie on the television programme. He contacts the professor and travels to visit him in his home in another town.

Mitch returns regularly every Tuesday to listen to Morrie's lessons on life and its meaning. Interspersed throughout the account of the visits are flashbacks to their days together at Brandeis where Mitch and Morrie shared a relationship more akin to that between father and son than teacher and student.

Morrie who is dying from the disease, advises Mitch to reject pop culture in favour of creating his own which should be founded on love, acceptance and human goodness. These values are quite unlike those of pop culture which, Morrie says, is founded on greed, selfishness and superficiality. He also urges Mitch to accept death and aging, as both are inevitable.

 Interview in July 2014, published online August 2014