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Shao Wei's Volunteer Experience

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

Meet Shao Wei a.k.a Barry, the Director of Rental Hearts. He is the heart of Rental Heart's daily operations.

Why did you join Rental Hearts as a volunteer? Volunteering has always been a part of my identity, as I used to volunteer and organise projects during my polytechnic days. I joined Rental Hearts during the COVID period when I was in my final year of my university. I wanted to give back to the society as there were not many volunteering opportunities during this period, and I just happened to chance upon it on a Telegram advertisement asking for volunteers to join. My first session was the Saturday zoom session.

What makes you want to continue volunteering with us?

Volunteering with Rental Hearts is a simple but yet fulfilling experience, as we are able to interact with not just the students, but also the community. Nowadays in University, it is always about mugging and adhering to a schedule in order to find employment. But because of that, we tend to overlook the fact that we are more than just that routine. As we fortunate enough to be able to pursue further education, it is also our responsibility to ensure that we can give back to those who need help in this aspect. As a saying goes, to learn is the first step, whereas the ability to teach well is the masterful step. So volunteering with Rental Hearts is a fulfilling experience for me to give back and learn.

What are some of your most memorable experiences while volunteering?

My memorable experiences are when the students get vibrant when they see you and are also keen to learn. I remember that there was a time when a few students asked me to teach them. Everytime I went to Reach Powerhouse, the students would always be the first to ask what they would be learning on that day. Those were truly memorable moments for me, as it meant that I had made an impact on those students.

Another moment was when I saw the students doing well for their exam, especially when they told me that their grades started from a fail but improved to a good pass after the sessions. From there, they become excited to learn more, which becomes a strong motivating factor for me to continue volunteering.

How do you handle volunteering with your work/life schedule?

As I previously mentioned, I started volunteering during my final year of university, so there were quite a few research papers and projects to finalise. Also, I was working part time as a nursing assistant in the midst of it.

To be honest, it was exhausting but it was rewarding. It made my life full of purpose, to interact and help out patients in the morning, then attend lectures, and then volunteer. I guess I got a bit long winded haha, but to answer the question. I reminded myself, “What do I want to achieve with all these?”. After all, if you manage to summon your mental strength, you’ve already won half the battle. I set goals that I want to achieve, and broke them into timeframes, so that I have enough time for my school, volunteering and work so that I could give my body enough rest. So to every volunteer: Work hard, and voice out when you need help!

What are some barriers you faced and how did you overcome them?

One of the barriers that I faced was learning to be firm with the students. I understand that some of the students here are experiencing various types of issues, so I empathise with them. But I realise that this will not help them with understanding the content, and that the student needs to put in the work, otherwise they will fall back easily. So I decided to be firm by telling the student the plan for the day, and remind them that there is time to play and there is time to study hard. Until now, this works, but there are areas to improve, such as setting a rule with the students to put everyone's phone on one side of the table, so that they can focus.

So in the end, there will always be barriers but it is how we perceive it. If one way doesn't work, we can look at it from another perspective, and to make things work. You just have to take the first step!

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