Some Wise Words

HEY SUNSHINES!!

We are almost halfway through the academic year, and we have a special segment to inspire you for the semester ahead!

Every year, we interview a group of outstanding, all-rounded seniors who have achieved splendid results in their A-Levels. They have done us proud, and have kindly agreed to share with us some of their advice. We asked four seniors the same four questions, and here are their words of wisdom! ๐Ÿ˜‰

First up, we have Khoo Eng Wei from 15S77! Eng Wei will read Linguistics and Multilingual Studies, and also plans to take up a second major in Psychology, in Nanyang Technological University. He secured a scholarship under the University Scholars Programme there.

eng wei

(Thatโ€™s Eng Wei.)

1) Letโ€™s start off with a more academic question >.< ! Could you share some advice with your juniors (especially those sitting for the A-levels this year) as to how they may strive and succeed?

TBH the most important thing when sitting for the A-levels is to not stress yourself out. Be confident that you have done your best and just trust that you can do it. You know for yourself whether you have worked hard for it or not, and if you have, you shouldnโ€™t have worries.

2) A lot of your juniors are still balancing commitments, do you have any advice as to how they may strike a good balance between academics and other holistic aspects?

I understand having many commitments and wanting to do your best in your CCA, but there is definitely a limit and you should know that for yourself. If you know your grades are suffering due to your commitments, then voluntarily take a break to catch up on your work. Iโ€™m sure your coach or teacher-in-charge will understand. It may be a hard decision to make but it will benefit you in the long run.

3) Hehe, what is a fond memory you have of Apollo Faculty!

Every memory is a fond memory ๐Ÿ˜…

4) So, some may feel the road ahead is โ€œdamn sian”. Do you have any advice for your juniors to hold on and fight on? Perhaps you could share how they may continue to colour their lives even as they approach the examinations?

My advice is to find a hobby which interests you a lot and take a break from studying for 1-2 hours every day to do the activity. It will help to relax and will benefit your mental health greatly. The activity can be anything you enjoy (for me it was basketball).

Next, we have Huang Zexin from 15S6Q! Ze Xin was a member of Apollo Faculty Committee 15/16, and a member of the Photographic Society in College. He will read Accountancy and Business in Nanyang Technological University.

zexin

(Ze Xin is the handsome devil on the right of this strange monkey mascot.)

1) Letโ€™s start off with a more academic question >.< ! Could you share some advice with your juniors (especially those sitting for the A levels this year) as to how they may strive and succeed?

In my opinion, consistency is the key. I didn’t score well for both my BT1 and BT2 when I was in J2. In fact, Mr Khairul and some of my tutors went to speak to me after BT2 because of my results… What I did after that was to simply follow my own pace and study for several hours everyday. There is no need to feel panic when you see your friends have completed more past year papers than you; what matters most is that you know you are improving. And stay confident! The A-levels is just like any other exam in JC.

2) A lot of your juniors are still balancing commitments, do you have any advice as to how they may strike a good balance between academics and other holistic aspects?

For me, CCA life is honestly the best part of JC, and CCA is something you will remember and treasure after graduation. Take the time to enjoy the last few weeks of your CCA life! In terms of balancing commitments, I think the bare minimum is you must be able to complete your tutorials on time, so that at least you know what your teachers are talking about in class. Detailed revision can be done in the holidays.

3) Hehe, what is a fond memory you have of Apollo Faculty!

Faculty CIP 2016! It was really good to see how the entire faculty came together to contribute back to society. Faculty CIP, for me, was a tired but meaningful experience.

4) So, some may feel the road ahead is โ€œdamn sian”. Do you have any advice for your juniors to hold on and fight on? Perhaps you could share how they may continue to colour their lives even as they approach the examinations?

The life ahead is indeed very โ€œsianโ€, and is going to get more stressful when you approach the A-levels. A good way to handle the stress is to study with friends. Find a group of friends to study with you in the reading room or Block D, eat together and rest together… It will motivate you when you feel really tired. Never get complacent after getting your prelim results, and book consultations with your teachers to clarify your doubts! Most importantly, stay confident!

Thirdly, we have Leon Ng Joo Keat from 15A14. In College, Leon was the Chairman of the CCA Council, and Vice-President of the Humanities & Current Affairs Society. He was also a member of the Floorball team and Law Society. Leon secured offers to read Law in the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Economics & Law (Double Degree Programme) in the National University of Singapore, and is in the midst of applying for the NUS ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship, as well as the Dr Goh Keng Swee Scholarship.

leon

(Leon has the brains of a scholar and the looks of an Apollo Faculty pullover model!)

1) Letโ€™s start off with a more academic question >.< ! Could you share some advice with your juniors (especially those sitting for the A levels this year) as to how they may strive and succeed?

I believe we can all agree that this journey is not an easy one. Most of us, including myself, had some pretty low points in JC where our mettle was constantly put to test. It is common to despair at certain points, especially when the challenges are mounting ahead. Whatโ€™s important is to find the courage and determination to face and overcome these challenges. If you are still doing badly at some subjects, donโ€™t lose hope, instead, learn from your mistakes, work hard and you will do fine in the end โ˜บ

It also helps to be consistent in your work. While this can be difficult to achieve during the sports season, Huang Cheng and SYF period, try to find time between and after your commitments to get some work done. It is extremely important that you do not fall behind too much during this period, so that you can pick up quickly as soon as your commitments are over. Take mock tests and timed assignments seriously and prepare for them beforehand as they are a good practice for the actual exams.

Lastly, it would be good to have some short-term and long-term goals, so devise workable plans accordingly, and work towards them assiduously. Short-term goals can include submitting a History essay and an Econs CSQ for the week, and make sure that you complete the task! Long-term goals can be about the course you wish to study in university and the university you want to be in. Remind yourself of the necessary grades you need to achieve, and work hard for them. At the same time, build the necessary portfolio/resume that will give you an advantage in university admission.

Remember also to enjoy your JC life and explore the different opportunities presented to you. All the best โ˜บ

2) A lot of your juniors are still balancing commitments, do you have any advice as to how they may strike a good balance between academics and other holistic aspects?

Before we commit ourselves to anything, we must first understand the nature of the commitments and decide whether we will be able to juggle them. Over-committing can tire us out easily and lead to a loss of motivation.

Time management is of utmost importance when trying to strike a good balance between academics and other commitments. If you have many commitments, you need to find time in between and after them to do work. Make good use of your time, be it the thirty-minute break, or the one-hour of free time before your training. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish during these brief intervals if use them well consistently over a period of time. A Chinese saying aptly summarises this: ๆ—ถ้—ดๅฐฑๅƒๆตท็ปต้‡Œ็š„ๆฐด๏ผŒๅช่ฆๆ„ฟๆ„ๆŒค๏ผŒๆ€ป่ฟ˜ๆ˜ฏๆœ‰็š„ (Time is like water in a sponge; if you are willing to squeeze, there is always more).

3) Hehe, what is a fond memory you have of Apollo Faculty!

My fondest memory with Apollo faculty must be when we prepared for the POP. Even though we had to stay back on many afternoons to practise, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and got to know each other on a more personal level. Through working together towards a common goal, the experience brought my classmates and me closer together.

4) So, some may feel the road ahead is โ€œdamn sian”. Do you have any advice for your juniors to hold on and fight on? Perhaps you could share how they may continue to colour their lives even as they approach the examinations?

When it gets tough, many of us will feel frustrated and disheartened. But just keep telling yourself that โ€œๅฎˆๅพ—ไบ‘ๅผ€่งๆœˆๆ˜Žโ€, which roughly translates into โ€œpersevere and you will see the light at the end of the tunnelโ€. If it helps, try to imagine how carefree life will be after the A levels, and tell yourself that you only have to persevere through this stressful period to enjoy a good long break after that.

While you are busy preparing for your exams, taking breaks and having a bit of fun can actually help raise productivity. Personally, I enjoyed long meals with my friends where we had interesting conversations. Alternatively, we watched short videos and took walks around the school to recharge. Pick an activity that can temporarily take your mind off your studies to regulate your stress level. Most importantly, make sure that you get enough rest and eat well!

Last, but certainly not the least, we have Chong Hui Xian from 15A14, our very own Apollo Faculty Head of Apollo Faculty Committee 15/16! Hui Xian will read Psychological and Behavioural Sciences in the University of Cambridge under the PSC (Open) scholarship.

hui xian

(The one and only Hui Xian!)

1) Letโ€™s start off with a more academic question >.< ! Could you share some advice with your juniors (especially those sitting for the A levels this year) as to how they may strive and succeed?

For me, I think it is about finding the right studying style and what works best for you. Though it may sound cliche, everyone thrives under different environments, and for me it was finding one study buddy and one location where I was the most productive, and then sticking to this regime.

There were times when simply due to peer pressure alone, I forced myself to study and clock in the “study hours” so I could make myself feel better… ย but if it isn’t productive, such as when you recap what you’ve learnt in a day and realise you’ve done nothing, then I think it’s important to not lie to yourself and just get some rest if necessary.

Also, a painful but definitely useful tool is to time yourself nearing examinations, because it forces you to be more productive and focused. Of course, it’s also a good simulation of the actual stress you will face during the exam itself which prevents “blanking-outs” and over anxiety on the actual day! Find out the specific problems to every subject as well, for example, if you know the tough part of Economics more about trying to understand what the question wants, rather than not being able to memorise and understand content, don’t waste your time writing essay after essay. Instead, do essay plans so revision will be faster and you can cover more question types. To stay on task, I also realised (albeit a bit late) that making study plans is very important to ensure you are productive every day, and will manage to cover 90% of everything tested (since 100% is probably impossible haha). Lastly, I think some forms of stress are important whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic, but there must be a limit. If you find yourself getting so much stress from something that it impedes you from working harder and more productively, then find the source and lessen it. If it comes from certain friends, don’t study with them etcโ€ฆ These small steps all help in ensuring that you are in the optimal state of mind to continue the journey towards A levels ๐Ÿ™‚

2) A lot of your juniors are still balancing commitments, do you have any advice as to how they may strike a good balance between academics and other holistic aspects?

I think it’s important to recognise that as commitments dwindle down in June/July, the remaining months are purely left to studying (for J2s especially!). However, that’s not to say you should completely focus on extracurricular activities now and ignore academics with the mindset of “I will be able to catch up later”, because it never works out. While batchmates with less commitments may be doing more academic work now, I genuinely think there is enough time at the end to be on par with them, but only if you keep up with lessons in the meantime. At least learn the basics, and try to grasp whatever is going on in lessons so when you start preparing for exams towards the end, you have some foundations to work with, and hopefully you won’t feel that overwhelmed either.

3) Hehe, what is a fond memory you have of Apollo Faculty!

As a faculty head, I have so many fond memories of Apollo along with my faculty committee since we did so many crazy things together. But one that I will never forget would be the day of our first faculty event, FO1. The day started out disastrous since all of us kept lying to ourselves that it would not rain, and that FO could continue in the central plaza despite the very grey skies. At 5.30pm when the event started, it promptly started pouring and we all had to move the decorations and logistics to the auditorium in 20 mins. Since all of us were wearing slippers, we very nearly slipped and fell countless of times. Due to the time lost, our stage scheduling was all messed up. We had so many last minute changes that Luo Qi, then Deputy Faculty Head, and I just sat backstage thinking how the entire event was a failure, and that we would have so much to account for afterwards. However, I think this was the same event where the faculty as a whole truly enjoyed themselves the most, because when everything ended, FacCom realised the “success” of the event was that everyone really bonded over that night. Thinking back now, it’s just a great, warming feelingโ€ฆ This was the best representation of the spirit of Apollo โ€“ it’s all about having fun (with or without the sun).

4) So, some may feel the road ahead is โ€œdamn sian”. Do you have any advice for your juniors to hold on and fight on? Perhaps you could share how they may continue to colour their lives even as they approach the examinations?

Some people study best alone at home but for me, to dampen the dullness of studying, I really needed company and a friend to talk to occasionally if things get too boring. I think that most people can’t study 24/7 โ€“ I personally don’t find it effective โ€“ so find a way for yourself to de-stress and let your mind take a break. Don’t go start a drama serial or something, but watching short video clips, or just messaging your friends for 10-15 minutes halfway through the day, are great to recharge! The mindset is important too โ€“ if you constantly guilt trip yourself about not having worked hard enough, and if you keep telling yourself how much you hate studying, the experience will be a lot more tough. Don’t let the guilt paralyse you, just keep looking forward and trying harder. Keep in mind that no matter how long the days feel, or how terrible the journey is, it will eventually end one day, because your A-levels will eventually come and you will eventually take it. Let that serve as a positive form of stress to continue working in the meantime, and let this also be a source of comfort; the few months of persisting will end and (hopefully) pay off to a result that you can be happy about. JIAYOU and all the best, sunshines!!! โ˜€โ˜€โ˜€๐Ÿ’›

~

And thatโ€™s it for this blog post! Thank you seniors for your time and advice! Congratulations once again, and all the best for your future endeavours.

To our lovely sunshines, we hope you are inspired, and have gained some wisdom from our seniorsโ€™ experiences. All the best!

Live loud, Live Proud!
Apollo Faculty Committee 16/17

 

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