The pursuit of personal betterment is never-ending: Joseph Schooling at OWIS’ Leadership Symposium

Olympic Gold medallist Joseph Schooling had a meaningful interaction with students of One World International School at its first ever Leadership Symposium, organised virtually by the school on 17th December 2020.

Schooling, speaking to OWIS students from Virginia, was an inspiration during his 45 minute interaction – sharing his thoughts on everything from dealing with pressure to handling social media. He spoke with three panellists from OWIS – Janelle Rego, Kanish Alluri and Rawsab Said – who had curated questions that OWIS students wanted his insight and expertise on.

Questions ranged from ‘A typical day in his life’ to ‘His plans in the long term’ to ‘His parents’ influence and contribution to his success’. Schooling charmed his way through the Symposium – called the One World Leadership Symposium (OWLS) – answering every question with balanced advice and personal anecdotes for the lucky students listening to him.

Around 100 students had tuned in to the Webinar while another 40 were in the school auditorium where it was being telecast live. The swimming champion, who edged out his own idol Michel Phelps in the Rio Olympics, shared how he dealt with pressure during the final moments of the race, and his final thoughts before the race. He candidly spoke about the sacrifices his parents had made to ensure he got the best training, and the importance of support.  He credited his father for being the most influential person in his life, although admitted he didn’t always appreciate this insight as much as he does now, when students asked him about who impacted his life the most.

Image Credit: Simone Castrovillari

Schooling, also warned students on the compulsion to believe everything on social media and said they need to learn to differentiate the real from the fake. Our students found his advice very relevant and were particularly engaged with his conversational style and his ability to connect with the very real issues that young people are facing.  

Schooling, who completed his business degree at the University of Texas, identified with the intense schedule of IB DP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) students go through during crucial school years, and advised that time management was an essential part of their routine, as was to set goals for themselves and prioritise, not to be afraid to ask for guidance when needed, and to lean on their support system of teachers, family and friends.

Mr.Andrew Johnson, Deputy Head of OWIS, who was present with students watching the virtual Symposium said, “Joseph is such an inspirational figure. He has achieved so much at such a young age. He was able to connect with our students very well and offered great advice based on his own experience. He spoke to them on maintaining a positive attitude, working towards their goals, finding true friends and utilising social media for positive benefits. Our students have been inspired by his dedication, passion, hard work and positive outlook to life.”

Janelle Rego , co-host of the Symposium and Grade 12 IB DP student at OWIS, had this to say, “During the discussion with Joseph, he gave a lot of inspiring advice that resonated with me. He said that it’s important to work on the one thing that you are good at or have an aptitude for, as you will never get tired of it, and will be able to maximize your potential. What I liked most was how down-to-earth Joseph was. I didn’t feel any sense of superiority or a ‘know-it-all’ attitude from his side, it was like talking to a friend.”

As Joseph continues to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics next year, we wish him all the very best in achieving his goals and winning more laurels for Singapore. It was a real pleasure to have him join us virtually, from Virginia, USA where he trains, and we’re thrilled with his meaningful messages to our students through the Leadership Symposium.

The One World Leadership Symposium is an initiative by OWIS where industry experts and leaders in various fields are invited to interact and share their experiences and insights with students. Through the symposium, students get an opportunity to converse with thought-leaders and influencers who can inspire them to dream big, set ambitious goals for themselves and follow their dreams.

To know more about OWIS, visit www.owis.org or contact us

The latest OWIS news, articles and resources sent straight to your inbox every month.