Every SMU student would remember something from their Freshmen Team Building (FTB) camp experience.

After all, it’s one of SMU’s signature events for all incoming freshmen. It’s the one that starts it all off – with hundreds of students gathered together at a faraway campsite, lots of games, singing and cheering, crazy, sweaty, random and funny moments with your newfound friends, long conversations and equally long queues at the campsite toilets, topped off with a finale night to remember – this is FTB.

What is the secret ingredient that makes FTB, well, FTB? The better question to ask might be “Who?”. Amidst the frenzy of FTB, we grab a few moments with Sanjey Sangkar, Chelsea Koh, Anchit Kher and Yap Si Min from the FTB 2015 organising committee, aka the people who made FTB possible.

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Friends, Family and Fun

Sanjey: We have 3 F’s at FTB: Friends, Family and Fun. We decided on these three together as a team, when we were setting our vision and goals for what we were working towards, during our first few meetings as an org comm. These goals were for the org comm as much as they were for our freshmen.

Sanjey: We definitely bonded as a family! We always have impromptu heart-to-heart sessions. It can just happen anywhere, anytime– while we are waiting to use the washroom, or queuing up to collect our food. It could be during the breaks between activities at the camps. We didn’t need a particular setting to bond as a team– we just needed us, ourselves.

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Working together as a (huge) team

Anchit: Nothing you learn in school really prepares you for this– organising a university-wide camp for thousands of freshmen. Some decisions need to be made on the spot, and you need to have the confidence to make them. You’re learning every day, by doing and getting better at things.

Chelsea: When leading our subcomms (subcommittees), I’ll mentor our teammates rather than tell them what to do. Through working with OSL, I realise that it’s far more effective when we guide rather than demand for things to get done.

Anchit: You shouldn’t take things personally when it’s work-related. You’re bound to disagree or have differing opinions on how to get something done. It’s just for the better of what you’re working towards. Go ahead and thresh it out with each other. But after that, we’re back to being the friends we are.

Go ahead and thresh it out with each other. But after that, we’re back to being the friends we are. — Anchit
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Be Humble

Sanjay: If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologise and move on together as a team. There was once I forgot to show up for my duty. It was brought up during the org comm debrief, and I didn’t even realise I had missed my duty until then! I went up to Chelsea and apologised for my mistake.

Si Min: Be sincere. Show that you are willing to put in the effort to change for the better. After apologising, Sanjey even created a group chat to remind those on duty because he felt so bad about it. The chat is still there!

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Turning weaknesses into strengths

Sanjey: You can turn your weaknesses into strengths if you know how to play your strengths properly. We were negotiating with an external vendor to provide equipment and toys in bulk. Looking back, we could have negotiated and secured a better deal, if we had highlighted and used one of FTB’s strengths– that it is a huge platform for exposure and awareness. That could have enhanced the FTB experience even more for the freshmen. I’ve definitely learned to be a better negotiator.

Leverage your strengths. Do not short-change yourself. Push it to the limits. Don’t exaggerate, just leverage. — Sanjey
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Sanjey: We’ve got to enjoy the moment. It’s hard for me to do that sometimes– I always look at the furthest goal measurable. And then you meet people like Anchit, who teaches you to live in the moment. And we all should. If not, you won’t have any memories to look back on when you’re old, grey and wrinkly!

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The Freshmen Teambuilding Camp is part of the SMU Freshmen Experience, which introduces incoming freshmen to life at SMU. Check out photos from FTB 2015 and relive your best (and most probably sweaty) memories at FTB on Facebook!



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