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Celebrating Tenacity: Class of 2015

Low Huang Ming (2T31), 40th Student Council Exco, Head of Department of the Community Involvement Wing

Q: How did you balance your CCA with your academic work?

A: Balancing my CCA with my academic work was how I learnt to prioritise. After joining Student Council and due to it being quite a large commitment that took up a lot of my time, I learned how to prioritise. I learnt to do the important things first and the less important things later.

Q: How did your CCA help you with your JC life?

A: Being a Student Councillor in the Community Involvement (CI) wing, I met many CCA leaders and a lot of other CJCians through organising and executing different events. These opportunities to make new friends allowed me to be more comfortable around school because I knew more people and had more friends, so JC life was easier.

Q: As a CCA leader, what kind of opportunities did CJC provide for you to better developas a person?

A: As a CCA leader, I had many opportunities that were given by the school, and I think it’s important to take them up because you will learn new things. Personally, as I was a Student Councillor in the CI wing, I was involved in many compulsory events such as Open House.Such school events aim to bridge the gap between students and school administrators. These opportunities have allowed me to hone my skills since I was in charge of the events. With opportunities like the Leadership Conference and visiting other colleges for their Installation Ceremonies, I’ve developed as a person because I was given a chance to experience events beyond the school context.

Q: What is your strongest leadership quality and how did this trait help you to achieve success?

A: Personally, my strongest leadership quality is communication. I think, or at least I hope, I am able to deliver messages effectively, and this has helped me to achieve success because I’m able to communicate what I want in a very clear manner to avoid miscommunication. This has helped make communicating a smoother process, which I believe is very important for a leader.

Celeste Teo (2T28), Flame Scholar, Captain of Floorball

2. Celeste Teo.jpgQ: How did you overcome the challenges you faced in your two years at CJC?

A: I think there were a lot of challenges, both in academic and CCA life. For me, the main support system was my family, because if I faced any challenges or problems, I would always talk to them and they would always support me through it. I was motivated to do well mainly to make my family proud and also for myself. I think it was mainly for my parents because they have done so much for me.

Q: How did you balance both your CCA responsibilities and your academic life?

A: I had a few Floorball CCA mates in my class, so it was easy for me to manage the demands of CCA and my studies because I could study as well as play sports with them. They were always around to remind me of what my priorities were and when I needed motivation in certain areas, they helped me significantly. 

Q: What are your thoughts on being a Flame Scholar?

A: The Flame Scholarship recognises people who excel in their CCAs such as in the arts and sports. I think it was quite a morale booster for me in the beginning because I didn’t expect to get it in JC1. When I did get it, I felt that the college recognised that I was making a significant contribution to my CCA. 

Q: What qualities and practices from your CCA and your leadership position were you able to apply to your academic life?

A: I think one quality is perseverance. As CCA leaders, you face a lot of challenges in certain areas, whether it’s getting our CCA members to carry out certain tasks or liaising with our teachers. There were many obstacles here and there. It’s the same with our school work where we sometimes also face difficulties. I learnt that if you have the same persevering spirit, you can succeed. 

Q: What are your future plans?

A: I hope to study social work in NUS and am planning to get a scholarship so that I can be more independent and will not need to depend on my parents to pay for my fees. Also, I think it gives me a lot of opportunities in the future.

Q: What was the one main lesson you learnt from your 2 years in CJC?

A: I think it would be that in everything we do, we must acknowledge that there is something bigger than us, such as the needs of the wider community, and it is very important that we reach out to them. We shouldn’t focus on our own lives, but also in a certain way, try to reach out to the wider community. As such, the college’s mission of being a Thinker with a Mission, Leader with a Heart resonates deeply with me.

Q: Any advice to your juniors?

A: Consistent work is very important. When there are times where you are not too sure, you should ask your teachers for help, because I think they know best and they will be able to give you the best advice. Also, try to find study buddies so that they can keep you motivated, and at the same time help you improve on your studies.

Ada Quek Jing Yi (2T02), Vice-Captain of Swimming & Biathlon

Choy Boy (2T33), Ignite, 40th Student Council

3. Choy Boy.jpgQ: What were your best memories in CJC?

A: One of the best moments in CJC was Orientation 2015 where I was part of the planning committee. The theme was Concordia and I was the one who designed the T-shirt. One of the inspirations for the design was CJC’s circle-time pedagogy. The different elements represent diversity in CJC. It was tough work but Orientation was a huge success. It wasn’t just the JC1s who enjoyed it - the OGLs did too. 

Honestly I felt a little tired after all the months of preparation, and especially with assignments piling up. However, no matter how tough or difficult it was, I still wanted to spend my time with these people and give it my all. I learnt so much during the time I spent preparing for Orientation. I felt it was worth it as I gained a lot from planning all these events. I hope that these events have shaped our juniors’ experience in CJC as well.

Q: How has the Ignite programme helped you in your learning?

A: At first I was quite surprised that CJC had such a programme that specialises in seminar-style learning. A lot of people feel that the lecture-and-tutorial style learning can be quite tough at times. The seminar-style learning was never boring for me. In JC1, content that was usually taught in lectures was taught in the tutorial setting, and it was concise and engaging. The seminar-style teaching also allowed me to learn more independently. JC life is very fast-paced, and the seminar-style teaching helped me learn extensive content in an effective way. There was also the Ignite Residential Programme at Cinnamon College in NUS. The experience enabled us to think more critically. All in all, the Ignite programme is a strong one. My class was very humble and bonded, which made me enjoy my time in CJC very much.

Q: Are there any teachers you would like to thank?

A: I feel like we have some of the best teachers in Singapore, and I have a lot of them to thank. My Home Tutor, Ms Charlene Kwa, had very high expectations of us as we needed to uphold the the Ignite programme. In the end, I would say we grew very close together as a class. 

Another teacher who really stood out for me is Ms April Low, my Biology teacher. She was the one who encouraged me to do very well for the ‘A’ Levels. She would listen to me - and it wasn’t just simple listening. On top of helping me to excel in Biology, she gave me emotional and psychological support. She was there at every step of the way for me. I am really touched by the support the teachers gave me during my two years in CJC and even after I have graduated.

Clarissa Lee E Hui (2T34), Archbishop Scholar

4. Clarissa Lee.jpgQ: What was your biggest motivation?

A: The teachers who worked very hard to prepare lessons and help me were a huge motivation. One of the biggest motivation for me was trying to not disappoint them and myself because I know I worked very hard for it. My friends were a great motivation too. After graduation day, we came back every day to study in the library before the A Level examinations and I did not feel like giving up. 
What challenges did you face ?

I think time management was a major challenge. This was especially so at the start of JC2 as I was an OGL and I also did a H3 subject so the first half of JC2 was very hectic. I had to leave early for my lessons at NUS and I missed a lot of lessons in school. Hence, I had to look for my teachers in school to catch up on what was covered and finish the homework independently. The subjects I offered were quite content-heavy so it was not always easy to manage and finish homework on time or complete the readings on time. I really felt bad because in JC2 I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my family. At night when my family gathered together in the living room I would be in my room studying. After a while, I realised that I wasn't spending time with them at all other than just seeing them. It bothered me a lot especially when I came to JC2 and had a lot of reflection time. I spent more time in school than I spent at home. This was where I made sure that during weekends I would try to sit down to watch TV or have a meal with my family.

Q: What does ‘Thinker with a Mission, Leader with a Heart’ mean to you?

A: In CJC, we are always reminded to think of the people around us so it helps me to be aware of those around me. I learnt that we should not be stuck in our own little world and think about ourselves all the time. We need to reach out and make sure we are helping others as well. I think it's about being there for people when they need you. 

Q: What advice to do you have for your juniors?

A: Make sure you listen in class, I know it sounds very obvious but you need to make sure you stay awake and understand what is being taught. You should try not to fall behind so much but if you do fall behind, you need to either catch up on your own if you can or actively look for your teachers. It is important to be responsible for your own learning. Good time management is of paramount importance. If you know you have a long break between lessons, you don't have to sit in the canteen for 2 hours. You can spend some time clearing your doubts and reading your notes. The kind of friends you surround yourself with are important too. Find something that motivates you and drives you and remember that your teachers and friends are always there for you. They are very willing to help you.

Chia Zong Yang, Eugene (2T05), Vice-President of the Drama Society

Muhammad Alyhariz (2T08), Pastoral Care Councillor

20160406_111048.JPGQ: What have you learnt from your 2 years in CJC?

A: I learnt that I was never truly alone even when I felt so, and the warm and loving community in CJC – students and teachers alike – has made me realise that. The people around me always made me feel like I was never alone in facing the struggles and challenges that came my way, and I knew I could count on them to be my pillars of strength and support. As such, I’ve come to realise that life isn’t something you conquer on your own – it’s something you conquer with the people around you.

Q: What do you feel has attributed to your success and helped you to achieve your desired results?

A: I’ve always believed that consistency is key. Being consistent meant, at the very least, doing all my homework and participating actively in every tutorial. That way, I figured I could build up momentum and consistently push myself to gradually achieve better results in time for the ‘A’ levels. The intense studying before ‘A’ levels was the final push, coupled with the love and support I received from my friends, family, and teachers, I was able to achieve my desired results.

Q: Q: How did you overcome the challenges you faced?

A: Personally, I have always been driven by the fear of disappointing the people around me – my family, my teachers, and my friends. However, my home tutor, Ms Ana, made me realise during a Student Development (SD) session that I shouldn’t be living my life based on what others want for me, but rather what I want for myself. I stopped studying out of fear of failure and I began to work towards the goals I set for myself. From then on, I never lost sight of the goals I set for myself, which ultimately helped me to pull through the ‘A’ level examinations.

Q: How did CJC help you to achieve your goals?

A: CJC has provided me with opportunities I never saw myself taking up. Participating in Outward Bound Hong Kong was very meaningful for me because I was able to discover new aspects of myself as a person when I was pushed to my limits both physically and emotionally. Also, being an Orientation Group Leader allowed me to experience and understand what it felt like to be a servant leader. I feel that character and attitude both play an important part to ensure you succeed, and it was these experiences provided by CJC that helped me to transition and mature into the person that I am today, allowing me to achieve my results.

Q: How has the CJC spirit of “In Truth and Love” helped you to go about your journey in preparing for the A’s?

A: I’ve always put my heart into what I do because I believe in not only doing my best, but also being sincere and genuine in everything I do. In doing so, I feel like you not only do what’s best for yourself, but you start to think about how you can be a positive influence to the people around you. It was with this CJC spirit of “In Truth and Love” that I managed to prepare for the ‘A’ levels with a positive and focused mindset, while at the same time forming a close bond with the people around me knowing we had each other to rely on.

Maria Irene Inggrid (2T34), Choir

5. Maria Irene Ingridd.jpgQ: What is your advice on how to achieve consistent results?

A: The most important thing is time management. You have to dedicate a certain amount of hours everyday to studying. I also think it is important to have a balanced lifestyle as we cannot just study for eight hours straight without taking a rest. I play basketball to relax so I feel more refreshed and can study better. I think that sports is really important in my life. 

Q: What was the toughest challenge that you faced to maintain your consistently good results and how did you overcome it?

A: Sometimes I forget to focus on what’s important and get carried away with a lot of fun and distraction. I think hanging out with the right people helps too, because I have many friends who formed study groups and seeing people who work really hard encourages me to also do better. The biggest challenge I had is to constantly maintain my grades and I am lucky to have my teachers who have been really helpful in helping me do so. Consultations were helpful because during consultations you get a chance to clarify your doubts. Talking to my friends has also been of great help as they give me moral support and emotional guidance.

Q: What was your biggest motivation to work hard towards the ‘A’ Levels?

A: My biggest motivation was to make my family proud. I think that it is very important to make my parents proud and by doing well, I can maintain my grades. My teachers served as a great motivation too. I was really lucky to have good teachers who pushed me to achieve these results. For Physics, I had Mr Aaron Rajoo who not only focused on teaching the subject, but expounded on how one should live their life to the fullest. It made me realise that to be successful, I needed to work hard consistently.

Q: What were your considerations in choosing to join the Science course?

A: I am more inclined towards the Sciences. I see myself doing a lot of research, and perhaps pursuing a degree in Engineering. I also really have a passion for Environmental Conservation, which is why I studied Geography. I aspire to be an Environmental Engineer, involved in the study of renewable energy. I really do want to see good things happening for my generation due to the benefits of renewable energy. 

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to your juniors?

A: I think it is to just manage your time well, and not forget to have a balanced lifestyle. I think studying in the library helps because I joined the night study programme quite often. It really helps you to focus because studying with friends pushes you. Personally, the most effective method to study is to discuss work with a friend.

Aaron Yuen Sze Tian (2T09), Symphonic Band

6. Aaron Yuen.jpgQ: What was your biggest motivation in working towards the ‘A’ levels?

A: My biggest motivation was actually my ‘O’ level results. I wasn’t satisfied with my ‘O’ level results, although others may have thought that theirs were good. So since JC1, I had been attempting to work hard. 

Q: Who or what would you attribute your success to?

A: First of all, I’d like to thank my teacher, Ms Charlene Lin, who was our very hardworking and dedicated Home Tutor and Physics teacher. She strongly encouraged us to go for consultations and to plan our schedules two to three terms ahead. Next, my group of friends whom I studied with also helped me a lot. The group wasn’t too big, comprising four to five people, and we would come to school to study during the weekends from morning to late evening. They also gave me a lot of emotional and moral support.

Q: What were the challenges you faced during your studies and how did you overcome them?

A: Honestly, during my Preliminary Examinations, I had reached my peak and was really burnt out, having spent so much energy on studying for the past examinations. I felt like giving up. Fortunately, my group of friends gave me emotional support. It’s really important to have study groups, just not too big of a group, otherwise you’ll end up talking!

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to your juniors?

A: I would tell them not to give up. Even if you’re at the peak of your academic abilities, just try to push on further. To those who aren’t doing as well, I believe that it still isn’t too late. As long as you just give it your best shot, you’ll achieve something.

Samantha Reeve (2T02), Speakers’ Ink

7. Samantha Reeve.jpg
Q: How did you manage to juggle your CCA and your studies?

A: I think it’s really important to find a passion in both because your CCA will enable you to surround yourself with people who are very similar to you and who can help bring you further in your academic life as well. Once you have people around you who will love and support you, it makes the difficult and stressful JC life a lot easier. On top of that, if you solely focus on studies and forget about the other aspects of your life, you will feel very drained. If you take a CCA you’re passionate about and which you’re dedicated to go further in, it will help develop your character as well and it will help give you that outlet which you need to get further.
Q: Who would you like to thank?

A: My CCA is a strong unit as there were only five of us. I was from Public Speaking so we were a very small wing. They are all so intelligent and witty and they always find time to come together. They believe very strongly in family, in just having a good time and being able to laugh together. They really helped motivate me and even today when they found out about my results, they immediately came and congratulated me. I think it’s really nice that they’re willing to put me before themselves. That is something that I’d do for them as well, and I’d like to thank them.

Q: What is your advice on how to do well in the Arts Stream?

A: Pour your heart into it because the Arts isn’t as “structured” as the Sciences. You can’t memorise any answer key and it’s not like you can copy someone else’s style. It’s who you are and you have to invest in your subjects and find some aspects you’re interested in. Some parts of the syllabus would be dry but you have to find something that sparks your interest, that makes you say, “Yeah, I want to go home and read more about this” or “This is what I really want to be doing in life”. I think it’s very important to put elements of you into different subjects that are completely not about you at all.

Q: What do you think the toughest part of JC is?

A: It was very demanding, especially in J2 where it was test after test after test. I think in J1, once you enter JC, all you have in mind at that point is, “Oh I need to study for A levels”. 
But I think once J2 came and I started participating in other college events, such as Haunted House during the CJ40 Carnival, Rockafella and Literary Night, it makes all of it easier. Just focusing solely on your exams and shutting out everything else in your life will take a toll on you, you’ll feel very exhausted all the time. So I think the toughest bit was trying to let go of that obsession and just focus on my CJC experiences.

Q: What motivated you to take ELL in the first place?

A: I love writing, I find the manipulation of language very interesting but I was at the bottom of the class when I first entered ELL. I was not very good at all. However, I found something about ELL that I was interested in for Paper 2, which is about how we use language to obtain power positions or relationships. I thought to myself that “actually you know what this is what I really want to be doing”, so I just kept studying and with Mrs Sng’s guidance and support, I was able to work my way up from the bottom.
Q: Any advice to your juniors, especially those who may not be consistently performing well?

A: I think the toughest thing is being told to unlearn what you had learnt in secondary school. 
I remember going into my History class and the first thing my tutors told me was “Forget everything you learnt at O levels, it’s all different now.” The skills required for the ‘A’ levels are completely different from what we were used to and everyone was struggling to find their footing. Finding out that you are struggling in the subjects you did well for in the ‘O’ levels can be very demoralising but just remember that you chose these subjects because you are interested in them. Just keep believing in yourself and that’s really very important because if you don’t believe in yourself, it’s very hard for others to do the same. So just keep following that, keep believing in yourself and keep pushing forward.