deafening noise started echoing across all corners of my room. In the complete darkness, I was chaotically trying to find the source of it. A mixed feeling hit me, on one hand, happiness that that horrible alarm finally stopped, on the other, it was 6.40 a.m. and I’ve slept for only 4 hours for the third day in a row.
Then it hit me, the D day has come. The day when the big case is going to be handed out and the battle for the first spot in the division is going to come to a finale.
As I got dressed I started texting and calling my team, in a scramble to see if they were up, and ready. No answer, hope they aren’t still asleep. Getting a bit anxious, I jumped into my car and gullibly hoping that they all didn’t hear their phones, pulled out of the driveway. Five minutes into the drive and another wave of bad luck hit me. I was stuck in the 8 a.m. rush-hour. I nervously took out my phone to see if the team had responded. No messages and no sign of them. After a gruesome thirty minutes in traffic, I finally arrived at the hotel and rushed in like there was no tomorrow. As I walked in I saw some of my fellow ambassadors chatting in the lobby. Without even saying hi, the first thing I said was: “Has anybody seen my team?”. They all waved their heads and said no at the same time as they had practiced it a million times beforehand.
Ding. A notification. It was them, they’re awake and are ready for some breakfast. Finally, I started to relax, as we had eaten and had a nice morning chat. I could see that they were nervous, and how could they not be, heck even I was nervous.
To be quite honest, I never thought that I personally would be able to bond with a group of people in such a short time. In retrospective, I feel privileged to have met such great people as the NUS squad and to be able to be a part of their team during the competition.
After finishing the breakfast, we made a deal to meet in the lobby in 9:45, a bit earlier before the case overview start. 9.50 and everybody has arrived, well almost everybody, Jun is late again. I turned around and there he is running like crazy, with a big smile on his face.
Finally, the overview started. The ambassadors were waiting patiently in front of the conference room. They were ready to escort their teams straight to the room after the overview is over. After some time, that felt like forever, the door opened and the teams started to come out and all hell broke loose. Ambassadors were gathering their team in an effort to guide them to their rooms and, more importantly, to give them some encouraging words before the case cracking begins.
I looked around the hallway and there was my team, with worried looks on their faces. I quickly became nervous, thinking maybe they didn’t prepare for this industry, or maybe they don’t think they can crack the challenge in 24 hours. Whatever the case was, I knew I had to try to make them feel relaxed and ready for the challenges that were coming. The funny part is that at that moment I saw myself in their shoes, and knew I wanted to help them out any way I could.
I went up with them to their floor, leaving them to get comfortable in the rooms, and then quickly went to the second floor to get the cases. As I was going back to their room, with the cases and office supplies in my hands, I thought man, this casebook looks thick, this is going to be hard. I walked in and waited for the signal to hand out the cases, while making small talk in between One of my bigger impressions of the Singapore team was that they were more worried at how I’m going to manage to be on duty for 24 straight hours, than how are they going to solve the case.
The moment I took the cases out of the bags they were gone from my hands. I wished them goodbye and slowly left the room. Sitting on a chair outside I thought: “Man, this is going to be some long 24 hours”.
As I got comfortable in my spot there was only one thing I knew, I could be an ambassador every year!