(photo – left to right – Ronice Li, Chung Li Anne, Melanie Ho, Ho Si Hui)
They are four Year Three Mass Communication students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and Go For It is an online social campaign they worked on for one of their final projects in Year Two. After countless brain-grilling sessions, toilet epiphanies and late nights camping at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the idea for this campaign was born. Go For It is an online campaign with a purpose of inspiring young adults to pursue their dreams. Their main goal is to encourage young adults to break societal norms and pursue that which they truly, passionately love.
What was the main inspiration behind ‘Go For it’?
Si Hui: As we looked around ourselves, we realised that many of our friends or people we know are aiming for practical nine to five stable jobs even though their dreams are something else, and I guess this was what sparked our desire to come up with a campaign to encourage people to chase their dreams.
I guess for the four of us as well, all of us have different dreams and through helping others to chase theirs, we hope that some of their passion and courage will rub off on us!
Ronice: We wanted to build a community of dream chasers as we realised that many of our friends were very scared to walk unconventional routes. For example, studying a particular degree that does not warrant a stable income in the future or even pursuing a hobby that might be a “waste of time” in some people’s eyes. However, we wanted these people to know that they are not alone and that there are people out there doing the same thing – this is where community can be build. We wanted them to simple go for it!
Did you gather inspiration from prior established successful campaigns on social media platforms?
Melanie: Our campaign’s #GoForIt100 movement to hashtag dream chasing resembles the #100HappyDays movement on Instagram with a different call-to-action. Theirs is to make people share their life’s joys and ours is to make them motivate themselves and others to capture themselves in pursuit of their dreams.
Si Hui: We totally thought of it first AND THEN realise it was similar to #100HappyDays.
LiAnne: Even so, we hope that people will see that Go For It has totally different goals and objectives. But we definitely hope that we can have the same amount of success 100 Happy Days had.
Why did you choose the title ‘Go For it’?
Melanie: Why the name? I think we settled for ‘Go For It’ because it rolls off the tongue and is something that people instinctively say when they want to encourage someone to pursue something. “I mean, like what everyone says, just… go for it.” Also, the first draft of our campaign name was ‘It Only Takes A Step’ – imagine hashtagging that haha!
Si Hui: When we were brainstorming for our campaign name, Ron was like, what would you say to someone to encourage them to chase their dreams, and BOTH Ron and Mel spouted, “Go For it!” We couldn’t help but laugh. We knew then that this was it. This is also not the first time they have said the same thing at the same time. Sometimes I suspect they have secret telepathic powers.
Ronice: HAHAHA it was quite a divine moment 😉
What were some of unique experiences you and your team encountered in your grilling sessions at Coffee Bean?
Si Hui: I’m not sure how unique is unique but Ngee Ann Poly’s Coffee Bean is a rather sentimental place for us. For four months straight, we camped there everyday without fail at the long tables with our macbooks and stuff sprawled all over and got work done together. Sometimes we’d have to stay till past closing time but working with the girls never felt like work because we’d have so much fun. Now that we’re out of school for our internships, one thing I definitely miss would be Ron and Mel’s random singing that sounds absolutely amazing especially when they subconsciously harmonise with one another. Sigh, it’s not the same even with the radio in my office ):
What made you want to take up this cause of challenging young adults to pursue what they love? Do you think it’s very difficult to subvert the culture of passiveness in Singapore where young people are advised to stay within conservative ‘successful’ jobs?
Melanie: I think it’s difficult, but not impossible; Ever since I began to see local talents rising up and pursuing their dreams, such as my musician friends who have started getting themselves out there by performing gigs. Also, a lot of my friends decided that they don’t want to force themselves to complete Junior College (JC) just because it’s where their parents want them to go or the fact that it’s an unsaid expectation for people to complete their education by “going to JC and then Uni after secondary school”. Quite a few of them have left their JC to either arts schools, polytechnics or other institutes that are a better fit for chasing their dream career.
Si Hui: More and more people are stepping out with their own start-ups now and we’re writing about them in hopes of inspiring people in a practical way. We have a ‘stories’ tab on The Local People website that features local dream chasers – photographers, musicians, F&B businesses, artists, etc. and a bulk of the people come from The Local People markets. When you get to know of so many success stories near you, perhaps it won’t be so difficult to subvert the notion that climbing up the academic or corporate ladder is the only way to go.
Ronice: It’s definitely difficult to push against the wave of passiveness and the fixed mindset of Singaporeans. But through The Local People markets and our conversations with various people we realized that many people are actually inspired by the campaign and would like to support it in one way or another. So I would say that there is a group of people who need the support and who would like to support these dream chasers as well.
Were there any personal experiences you had with people who were passive about taking action toward a dream?
LiAnne: Shout out to @qiqicreates on instagram who is an aspiring artist! Though she’s my friend, she found out about our campaign through The Local People’s social media and started the challenge without knowing that I was part of Go For It. After she found out, she told me that she really liked our campaign and she even got her own booth in another market to start selling her craft. Her story was so encouraging and it gave me the extra motivation to persevere for Go For It.
Is there a personal significance tied to this project?
Si Hui: For myself, my dream is to have my own magazine one day, writing about people, like what I’m doing right now with Go For It.
Go For It is close to my heart because I was preparing to go to art school after o levels but gave it up to study media, which seemed to lay out a more practical career path, but working on Go For It has given me the opportunity to design some postcards and notebooks when we go for The Local People markets, so in a sense, I got a taste of my old dream finding its way back to me.
Ron: I’ve always wanted to inspire people, in one way or another. This is my way of giving back to the community as well It’s really fulfilling when you see people really hashtagging and pushing for their dreams.
How receptive do you think young adults will be upon exposure to your campaign?
LiAnne: People are generally interested and open to knowing more about our campaign during markets and our merchandises sell pretty well! Thanks to everyone who has supported us! Also, #goforit100 garnered 334 posts in 3 months so I think people are pretty receptive to it.
Every endeavour is bound to face obstacles along the way. What was the greatest challenge that you and your team members have faced for the project?
LiAnne: All of us are currently having our internship so it’s hard for us to juggle between work, prepping for markets and managing our social media page. But we’re growing in the area of discipline to prioritise what’s needed to be done.
It must be tough juggling school and managing campaigns. It seems that this isn’t the only project you had on hand. How did you manage your time?
LiAnne: We decided to have a group meeting to plan a proper “duty roster” so that we were not just doing Go For It on our free time, but to free up our time to do what’s needed to be done for the campaign like creating social media posts and merch for our next market.
‘Go for it’ is a meaningful campaign and I’m sure that those who had taken part in the instagram challenge would have been enriched by the experience. Any wise words for those who are struggling to pursue their dreams out there?
Si Hui: Wise words? Go For It hahaha.
Ron: HAHA Si Hui. You’ll never know until you try; and until you do, you’ll always be asking ‘what if?’.
LiAnne: To quote Harry Potter, “Working hard is important, but there’s something that matters even more. Believing in yourself.”