5 Tips on how to make the best out of National Service

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According to CPT (NS) Shaan Akhtar, National Service isn’t meant to scare people away but to bring out the best in an individual. Here are his tips for maximising the unforgettable life experience.

Enlisted into SCDF as part of National Service, Akhtar became the first to be awarded both Best Specialist Cadet and Best Officer Cadet accolades. As an ORNSman, the 31-year-old was a planning and operations officer for maximum security events such as the World Bank conference held in Singapore.

1) Trust the system and soldier on

National Service can disrupt a lot of people’s comfort zones, but it’s misconceptions of what happens at NS that cause anxiety. Have faith in the force, instructors, training, fellow NS mates and yourself to power through.

2) Attitude, attitude, attitude.

With the right attitude, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Even if you lose some battles, you’ll still come out a better person for it.

3) There’s no secret to hard work.

My biggest NS challenge was passing the IPPT – I could not do a single pull-up and failed the 2.4km run upon enlisting. By putting in extra time at night lifting buckets of water and running around the Basic Rescue Training Centre, I achieved IPPT Gold within three months.

4) Integrity is your middle name.

Never compromise on integrity to achieve your goals. As my training encik once said, “Can you cheat the bank?” In other words, don’t even try cutting corners, because it won’t work.

5) Good, better, best – never let it rest.

Don’t settle – you can always do better until your better is best. Challenge and push yourself. Excellence, performance and self discovery develop progressively, so give them time.