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The lasting value of GAP month

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

By Dylan Ng Hiap Jun (21J04)

As January concludes and the JC1s get ready to finally begin their JC journey, I cannot help but be reminded of how valuable the GAP exploration month experience was even though a year has passed. The soft skills and knowledge learnt during that period allowed me and many others to discover more about ourselves, facilitating us to have a clearer road ahead.

As a quick refresher, the GAP exploration month is a month-long programme with three main activities that RVians embark on: the Social Investigation Project (SIP) , Academic Exploration, and breakout sessions.

The three main goals of the GAP exploration month are to connect RVians with marginalized groups in our society, allowing time for RVians to independently pursue their field of interest through online courses, and giving RVians a better understanding of the prerequisites of different University courses upon graduation.

For me, a major aspect of the GAP exploration month was the SIP. Although projects were focused on researching minority groups in our society, the importance of being a good team player is something I will never forget.

Throughout my group’s investigation phase, I picked up important soft skills that allowed for smooth progression of our project. Such an achievement really blew me away the first time, and still does today about how when every member sticks to their own roles and follows a discussed schedule, the conflicts that we constantly dread can be so easily avoided.

Besides improving values of teamwork, the SIP has also exposed RVians to the less privileged in our society. Soh Jun Peng, Jayron (21J01) focused on the plight and the relevant government schemes of single parents in his SIP, which was able to broaden his outlook on the minority group and gain better clarity on their situation.

“Through this experience, I learned to empathize with single parents better and understand the challenges they face daily, as well as what has been done to try and assist single parents in Singapore.” Jayron said

The other activity that I still reflect on was during the academic exploration. During the week-long independent learning, my choice of online course was regarding power and philosophy in superheroes. This may seem unconventional at first glance but what I have learnt throughout the course have actually enlightened me on what our world is when we dissect it.

What is morally correct or wrong, existentialism, ontological discussions on whether god exists. These various fields of philosophy have mainly taught me the idea of going deeper than what is on the surface, and this curiosity has allowed me to better enjoy learning even in my core subjects.

Li Jiaxiang (21J04) also benefited from his online phonetics and linguistics course as it allowed him to better appreciate the syntax of language itself, allowing him to better grasp and pick up new languages such as Basque much more simply.

“Such courses have allowed me to reflect on the limitations of our language, and knowing how to express nuances present in other languages with the English language.” said Jiaxiang.

Photo Credit: Li Jiaxiang (21J04)

So JC1s, after hearing from your seniors, I hope you enjoyed and treasured your GAP month just as we did. Have a great year of learning ahead!

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