PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 January, 2009, 12:00am

Gaining something through giving

I used to think voluntary work was a waste of time and energy. I could not figure out why some people were so willing to help others without getting paid.

I had been happy to spend all day in front of a computer chatting with friends on MSN. It was just like having a job from 9am to 5pm.

This all changed when I got an opportunity to do some voluntary work with the YMCA.

My first task, along with other volunteers, was leading 30 eight- to 12-year-olds on a summer camp. It was harder than I thought, and I had some problems coping.

Fortunately, my teammates just encouraged me to do better next time.

Then a YMCA teacher invited me to help her every Saturday with a group of four- to six-year-olds. I found myself enjoying their company even though I never used to like children. The interesting way these youngsters' minds worked cheered me up.

Now, I don't see voluntary work as giving up my time for free. It is a chance to learn and a preparation for life. This work has filled my life with hope.


The importance of good sportsmanship

There is more to playing sports than just winning.

Co-operation and team spirit are more important. Of course we achieve some glory when we become a champion. But we must not forget that friendship counts for more than winning. Developing this spirit requires dedication and commitment.

We need to support each other through our successes and failures. When we do lose, we should not blame others.

Scores, like exam results, are just numbers on a piece of paper. Our memories of the friendship and team spirit we find on the sports ground will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Maggie Tsang Ting-yan

Never stop learning

We may not realise it, but we spend all our lives learning.

When we are young, we have to learn the basic things, like how to walk and talk. We can then build on these skills and learn more.

As we get older we develop our own interests. These take our learning in particular directions.

When we finish university and take a job, we still have to continue learning because Hong Kong is such a competitive place. There are simply not enough jobs for all the graduates and without further study it is difficult to succeed.

Even when we retire, the need to learn doesn't end. Learning helps to keep our minds active and healthy, and enables us to stay in touch with the world.

Candy Fung Ka-yin

The benefits of school dormitories

Living in a school dormitory has not only made my life easier - it only takes five minutes to walk to class from where I live - it has also taught me many things.

One of the things I have learned is how to be more considerate. Because I share a room with three other students, I have to keep quiet when the others are sleeping and I have to keep the room clean. It is impossible to adapt to our lifestyle if you are not considerate.

I have also learned to be more independent. Living in the dormitory, I need to make my own bed and my own breakfast. I have to wash the dishes and wash my clothes.

I would never have done any of this if I had stayed at home with my family.

Dormitory life is also a lot of fun. The best thing about it is the very close friendships I have formed with my roommates. We not only chat together and discuss our homework, we share everything. My roommates and I laugh together and even cry together when we share our hardships.

But, most of all, I think we learn a lot together.

I strongly recommend you apply for a dormitory place.

If you get a chance to try it, I think you will gain a lot from the experience - I definitely have.

Bonny Lin Ka-yan