One of the biggest reasons a student might hesitate to apply for a scholarship is the bond. Committing yourself to a certain organisation for as long as six years after graduation can seem daunting. In some cases, an applicant has only met the sponsoring organisation through interviews and emails, so deciding to pursue a career there based on so little information can be a difficult prospect.
And yet, year after year, BrightSparks reports on scholars who not only fulfilled their bonded requirements but stayed beyond them. By looking into their reasons for staying, we can demystify the bond period and its requirements and look at some actionable ways to ensure a scholar can stay the course.
So what kept individuals like Low Tian Leng, who has been with LTA for twenty years, with their organisations? We’ve noted some key traits.
A Good Place to Be
Many scholars that stayed beyond their bonds were quick to emphasise how well they fit with the work culture of their organisation. In some cases, they enjoyed a fast-paced environment full of interesting challenges, in others, they thrived on the opportunity to suggest improvements and have their views supported.
Scholars, in particular, are often given many opportunities – internships, overseas attachments, networking events, that they would not experience anywhere else. Their opinions and desires are taken into consideration, and they are sometimes can pursue further studies or move to different departments. The SSG-WSG Scholars highlighted how you can work with two agencies within one scholarship, and then in various departments in those agencies – exponentially increasing the adventures on offer.
With such a wealth of things to do or try, it’s no surprise that they stay to fully embrace all an organisation has to offer.
Firm Roots and Networks
By the time a scholar has completed his or her bond, he or she has probably spent at least three or four years in the organisation. By this time, the scholar has made friends, gotten used to processes, met mentors and juniors, and probably customised their office cubicle or updated their work wardrobe.
All these become “sunk costs”, a compelling argument to stay. Why leave the organisation and do all this tedious setup again, when the scholar has already established and made a place for himself or herself? And if the work tasks have become repetitive and they want to try something new, they know who to consult to get the transferal process started.
A Cause worth Staying For
No one denies that there will be difficult tasks and boring days. What keeps scholars going in those moments is a dedication to what the company or organisation stands for. “You need to have a passion for what you do,” many scholars say. The truth of this statement has been proven in their continuing work for their organisations.
This is especially true for scholars in the government agencies. More often than not, they are like Alexander Lim, MSF Scholar, who is motivated by his “sense of purpose” and knowledge that “someone in our society will benefit from [his] work.” Public service scholars can stay the course through the difficult times because they are powered by a dedication to bettering Singapore.
The best scholars are able to look beyond their university education and envision themselves in their future career. And when this is their main motivation rather than financial support or overseas travel opportunities, they find the drive to stay on for a long time to come.
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