Wearing Many Hats


It is hard being a full-time student holding a part time job to pay off everyday expenses. Throw volunteering into that mix? One word: IMPOSSIBLE!

And yet this arduous lifestyle has been proven possible. Meet Tiffany Ling, a Year 3 Statistics major from the National University of Singapore.

003Tiffany Ling Jia Ying, National Day Parade volunteer in 2015/16/17.

As the family’s eldest child, Tiffany takes it upon herself to lighten her financial dependence on her parents by taking responsibility of personal expenses. She took up a part-time job as a barista at Starbucks since 2015, and also tutors younger students to further supplement her income.

Still, giving back to the community is her true passion. Volunteering quickly became a hobby, though this decision was not made lightly given her heavy commitments. The avid volunteer officially became part of the volunteer family for the National Day Parade (NDP) Hospitality Management since 2015. As her passion also spilled into her university life, she embarked on a school Service Learning Project (‘Project Angel’) to Cambodia, of which she recently returned from.

Sounds like a mountain of commitment for a 22 years old student, on her way to attaining an honours degree. How does she do it? And what has she gained from her volunteering endeavours? Join the NDP Media Team for a dig on Tiffany’s inspiring story as a student, barista, tutor, and volunteer.


Tiffany was a volunteer leader in 2016. Here, she poses for a photo with the army personnel and her group members Jerome and Naveen.

Media Team:

Hello Tiffany! Great to see you again as a volunteer for NDP 2017! What made you return to volunteer this year too?

Tiffany: The past two experiences I have had with Heartware Network as a NDP volunteer was awesome! I made a lot of friends from volunteering. A good number of us decided to join again and experience the grit together once more.I also learned lots! Like how to work individually and as part of a team. So the lessons I learnt from all these moments are good motivation for me to return, again and again.
Media Team: Any memorable lessons you can share with us?
Tiffany: Because we are dealing with the public, NDP volunteers are required to interact with people of different ages from all walks of life. This great exposure is so relatable to my own work life, when I need to communicate better with my barista colleagues and the patrons. My part-time job is also all about providing excellent service, so volunteering for NDP complements my work well, and vice versa.

ndptiffanyAs a volunteer leader in the North Sector in 2015, Tiffany must always be on the ball when communicating and delivering accurate information to volunteers under her lead.

Tiffany: As a leader in NDP, I learnt to take initiative and be courageous in voicing out my opinions when I feel that things are not going the way they should be. Skills like these spill over to my involvement in my school’s Service Learning Project ‘Project Angel’, in which I am Head of the Programmes Department. Just as I did in NDP, I learnt to gather my teammates’ attention in Project Angel, and give constructive feedback. I am able to guide and bond my teammates.
Media Team: There are so many commitments you juggling. How do you manage to cope with so many responsibilities?
Tiffany: It’s not as terrible as you think it is. The good thing about being involved in NDP is that the dates have already been provided to the volunteers in advance. There is time to plan my schedule around these stipulated dates, and allocate sufficient time for me to study and work. So it’s all about time management and prioritising!A bonus point, of course, is that being a volunteer for NDP is fun and engaging. When I’m amongst my awesome fellow volunteers, it is easy to keep my spirits up and my feet going. I do not mind sacrificing my personal time for it at all.
Media Team: Because many of the NDP volunteers are also studying or working full-time, can you share some advice with them?
Tiffany: Don’t be too worried about not being able to cope. Just come with an open mind and have fun. Trust the planning committee and learn as much as you can! Sometimes, I forget I am volunteering because of how much I have learnt from this experience. I look forward to all of us gaining as much as we can from this wonderful experience at NDP together.

Catch Tiffany in action as an Outer Cordon Volunteer in NDP 2017. See you there on all upcoming NE parades!

This article has been brought to you by the NDP 2017 Media Team. Smile when you see us, so that we capture your picture-perfect moments!