What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
“It’s near impossible, your seniors have tried”, I was told. Zhengyang was probably right. The army was notoriously bureaucratic (proposals had to go through up to 10 commanders) and resistant to change, but seeing my best friend worsen his back injury after 3 back-to-back duties tipped me over. I was determined to change the overbearing 33-hour duty cycle.
Discussions with the other medics and some brainstorming birthed a solution: cutting the working hours to 28, allowing medics to return home in the afternoon after a 24-hour shift. A blind proponent of the adage “Don’t fix something that isn’t broken”, our direct superior falsely believed that the current system was flawless and disregarded my concern. Unfazed, I refused to wait for something to break and finetuned my proposal before raising it to my Commanding Officer (CO) – a stern man with an eye for detail. Every detail was taken care of – from the breakdown of our workload during a 33-hour shifts to the exact number of people needed to smoothly run the medical centre to contingencies – leaving our CO impressed and persuaded.
“What if our manpower drops in the future?”
“Then instead of all 4 medics leaving only those who were most involved in the after-hours maintenance and running of the medical centre would leave the next day. Those staying in the medical centre will be assigned less demanding jobs.”
I was grilled continuously and regularly by my superiors – thankfully so, for I too wanted a sustainable solution that was only achievable by hearing the concerns of those who were more experienced and knowledgeable. After ensuring that every concern was well-addressed, our CO soon decided to implement the proposed solution, and the comfort of finally being well-rested paled only in comparison to the gratitude and respect I earned from my fellow medics.
The constant drive for improvement is ingrained deep in me, and my propensity to grow attached to my community simply fuels it. The next chapter of my life will be no different, and I absolutely cannot wait to contribute as much as I can to the UC community. Published in