Istoria: In the broad sense of its meaning, a story or a tale. More commonly used in the context of paintings, where the painter must, with subtle details, depict a complex narrative.
...more or less what this year's orientation theme in RI for the Year 5s means. Not sure if this really IS what the orientation leaders were trying to bring across. Maybe just the "story" part, not the painting.
For 4 days the batch of 2013 endured fatigue and bad weather, strengthened familiar relationships and forged new ones, and are finally released from their quest to save the day and restore peace to... whatever it is they were tasked to save. I'm sure all participants are relieved (and perhaps disappointed to some extent) to see the conclusion of the orientation programme. And coming from someone who generally dislikes orientation programmes, I don't know why I'm really doing this post. Perhaps to congratulate the orientation student leaders and other assistants for sacrificing precious lesson time to assimilate the Year 5s? There's no way I'll give up something so BIG just to do that.
One of the first things the newcomers had to learn is to forget about past rivalry between schools. The battles between RI and its other rival schools are now discarded, and now everyone works together and plays together as a new unified Raffles. Doesn't mean total abandonment of roots to their respective secondary schools though, NOBODY advises that. Too many precious memories attached.
Another thing to overcome for sure is the gender barrier... again. Usually in kindergarten or primary schools we often see boys and girls interacting without too much of a hitch. Then many secondary schools now isolate boys from girls, so the connection between the two sexes undos itself. Luckily that tends to be a minor obstacle to overcome... especially when you're pressured to interact with the opposite gender so many times that you just don't care anymore. (Don't you get sick of doing the dance so many times?!?)
A third lesson is the spirit of competitiveness. Having to put the houses through so many battles testing coordination, strength, dexterity etc, helps the students grow a drive that pushes them to exert more effort for the sake of giving their house a lead. As Rafflesians always know, the school depends so much on this drive to gain more medals and trophies for glory to their alma mater. But we all know that there's more to life than medals and trophies, right...?
And, perhaps most crucial for the new batch, they learnt the importance of friendships. This very force that brings the batch closer together, not just a bunch of students who came here to pursue studies and outcompete others in securing an economically viable job, but a collective group of people who can depend on each other's support to endure challenging trials.
So it is tonight that the RI(JC) Batch of 2013 have finished their first league of their journey, having acquired these lessons, and being better equipped to face the obstacles that lie ahead in their next 2 years. Perhaps for some the orientation experience becomes an unforgettable moment in their lives, for others it may be a passing event compared to more interesting things to come, but what matters is that they're a bit more developed than when they first came in. That's what the orientation leaders want to achieve; to at least instruct the warriors in basic combat skills before letting them into the battlefield.
But this is merely the start of the journey. The current storyline may have concluded, and the star may have been restored(or at least I think that's what the story was about). However, from now onwards they have to continue their own story. Now they're responsible for picking up the brush and filling in the subtle details of the next part of their life on their own. Other people may influence the style of the painting, but it is still ultimately a unique work. The portrayal of their life isn't merely a flat cartoon, but can have the potential to develop into a masterpiece.
"Now what would you paint next?"