Leading a thousands-strong student community is no small feat. Just ask Adeline Lim, the president of the Students’ Association, and her team in the 11th SMUSA Council. What goes out behind the scenes? Let’s catch up with Adeline for a quick chat.

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Hi, I’m Adeline. I am a 3rd year Business undergraduate majoring in Finance and Operations.

It’s all about people– leading and inspiring your team for one common vision. In SMUSA, we all come in with diverse goals and expectations of what we want to achieve. The challenge for me as the president is to align the team, and focus our efforts and energy on one common cause.

“Meaningful change takes time.”

I’m not going to lie – I’m well aware that we are not going to make revolutionary changes in just one term. But we can do it step by step. I make sure to dedicate time to talk and understand my fellow council members, our team. It’s important to know each other well and understand our strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you really get started and tackle the issues at hand together. It has not been an easy ride… I don’t have much of a social life now! But I’ve never regretted the decision.

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You Live Only Once. This summer, I represented SMU at the West Point Cadet Leadership Conference, held at the prestigious and historic U.S. military academy. I met an American journalism graduate from one of the Ivy League universities. Because of his keen interest in China, he headed there for work upon graduation, teaching English in China, and sharing his journey through pictures and writing. It is such a “YOLO” thing to do! Although I haven’t really dared to venture down the road less travelled, such stories inspire me to do so someday.

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I would like to start a social enterprise someday, specifically something to do with micro-financing. I am a firm believer in stewardship. I’m inspired by my recent OCSP (Overseas Community Service Project) at a village in Nepal, where we spent 2 weeks sharing and imparting useful business concepts to the villagers.

As the saying goes, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. For this project, we had raised funds in Singapore before heading over. We organised a pitching session for the villagers and the team with the best business idea got to secure the seed funding they needed to start their business.

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Always be humble. You can never be the best at everything and it is important to be vulnerable and personable, even as a leader. Through my term in SMUSA, we have gone through so much as a team, from complaints to praises, ups and down. If there was one thing I have taken away from this position as President, it would be humility.

My Ahma is my biggest role model. She is 83 years old this year, and she just keeps serving her family, her children, her grandchildren. The best part? She never complains. She even learnt English when she was old, just to communicate with us. Her selflessness is something I will hold dear. Of course… her cooking too!

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I’m very thankful for the priceless experiences I’ve gained. Looking back over the past year, I have definitely grown and matured. Truth be told, I have led a sheltered life since I was a kid. But I’ve come to realise that school is more than just grades. Life is also about fun, hard knocks and finding ways to emerge from them!

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

This is definitely the piece of advice I will always remember, and most importantly, put into action.

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