The effervescent Stephen Koharuddin, dance captain of hip-hop dance club SMU Eurhythmix, juggles studying for a double degree, intensive dance practices, and basketball outside of school.
When preparing for upcoming performances and competitions, dance trainings can go from twice weekly, to multiple sessions daily. This commitment level is daunting to most, but not to Stephen, who sees training as something to look forward to. SMU Snapshots met up with him and got some tips on how to live university life to the fullest.
Plan ahead and manage your time
With the intensity of dance trainings, it is no surprise that members feel overwhelmed and struggle to keep up with school and dance. Stephen’s advice is always the same, “have a good balance of both – there is a time and place for everything. You might be training everyday, but training does not occupy the full day. Manage your time well.”
Stephen swears by Google Calendar. He plans his time three weeks ahead, allocating tasks and activities to every minute of the day. When he knows there are upcoming performances or competitions that will require intensive trainings, he motivates himself to clear all work beforehand so there is ample time for dance.
“Knowing my schedule ahead so I can plan my time gives me a sense of security. Time management is the only way that you can do many things.”
Know what you want and give your 100%
For bigger life events like entering a new environment, Stephen does his due diligence so that he knows what to expect. His heart was with SMU Eurhythmix even before stepping into SMU. He had done his research and talked to seniors from junior college who were already in the club, to make sure that this was what he truly wanted.
But even if you are uncertain about what you want, Stephen’s advice is to give it your all.
“It’s fine to join clubs just to want to make friends. But once you’re in, you have to give your 100% if you want to make the most of it – half-hearted effort will show in terms of commitment.”
A typical mistake that comes from the excitement of being in a new environment is when students take on too many activities. Stephen shares, “when you are stretched across numerous commitments, you tend to approach things with a touch-and-go mentality. You must know what you want most and prioritise, then give your all.”
Stephen’s priorities are clear – as a student, studies come first. But CCA is a great outlet for stress and is an even better source of motivation. “I don’t get to dance as much during the exam period, so I take small breaks between studying to watch dance videos. They give me the motivation to study and get exams out of the way so that I can get back to dancing.”
In future when he starts work, Stephen hopes to have the same work-life balance and continue dancing. “I hope to slip in some dance classes after work. And if I have the opportunity and time permits, I would like to come back to SMU Eurhythmix to serve the club again.”
For now, Stephen credits his satisfaction with school life to having found a CCA that he loves.
“It’s the student life that keeps me motivated. Engaging in a non-academic activity while in school is important for making friends, being happy in school, and adding colour to your university life.”