The Class of 2019 Light the Way – Vol 1

The Class of 2019
Light the Way

VOLUME ONE

The Class of 2019 have come to define the college's glories and made history for themselves. For this first volume, we met Rebekah, Chong Yu, Sanchana, Wen Xin and Shin Loong to hear about their journeys as student-leaders, insights from their path to academic success and words of inspiration they wish to share with their juniors.

PHOTOS BY ASHER TAN, ANSELM LONG AND DING YONG KHAI

Rebekah Seow

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST NICHOLAS GIRLS' SCHOOL

Rebekah Seow (18-A1) exemplified excellence in her academic, leadership and co-curricular pursuits and was an inspiration to her peers. Her many achievements and contributions included her role as the well-respected President of the 2nd Student Council, being a mainstay on the Dean’s List, and serving as a regular volunteer letter-writer at Meet-the-People Sessions at Kebun Baru. She led the organising committee for the EJC Orientation in 2019 and also was instrumental in crafting the Student Council Constitution, leaving a legacy for her juniors and subsequent batches of Eunoians.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RECEIVING YOUR RESULTS LATER TODAY?

Honestly, I feel quite calm today as I have done my best to prepare for the A-level exams. After speaking to many seniors and adults, I also know that the exams are just a small part of life and regardless of my results, it is still up to me to define my future.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA AND WHAT MADE IT MEANINGFUL?

There were certainly some challenging periods — I still remember the daily routine of “eat, study, eat, study, eat, study, sleep”, then repeat! However, it was made much easier by my friends and teachers, who journeyed alongside me and kept me motivated. I constantly made the effort to see purpose in the revision and practice I did in order to remain positive.

WHAT ADVICE OR ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS?

The lead up to the A-level exam can be incredibly draining and relying on your friends for support and supporting them can make a big difference. When I found it painful to get out of bed and study each morning, talking to friends and studying with them kept me going, as did the knowledge we were all going through the same struggle together.

Ong Chong Yu

ALUMNUS OF CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL

Ong Chong Yu (18-A1) was a tenacious and compassionate Deputy President of the 2nd Student Council. He played an instrumental role in college life, emceeing the college’s Chinese New Year celebrations, publicising the Hair for Hope campaign and organising the Student Council Election. Effectively bilingual, he also won the Prime Ministers’ Book Prize in 2018 and was a Bicultural Studies Programme Scholar. Chong Yu contributed immensely not only to the college but to the wider community as well, serving as a long-term volunteer at Beyond Social Services, and was a deserving recipient of the MOE Edusave Character Award. In October 2019, Chong Yu received the distinguished Harvard Prize Book for his excellence in scholarship, character and holistic achievements.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RECEIVING YOUR RESULTS LATER TODAY?

While I’m nervous, I’m really excited to meet my friends and teachers in our new campus because it’s been a long time since we’ve gathered together as a batch and it feels great to be back home. I’ve been telling myself to be calm and to have confidence that I will figure things out after today, because this is just a pit stop in the marathon of life. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA AND WHAT MADE IT MEANINGFUL?

It definitely wasn’t easy and there were many moments when I felt dejected, when I felt no sense of purpose and when I lost the motivation to keep studying. I am really thankful that the school, deans, teachers and friends in EJC were so encouraging, motivating, inspiring. The efforts we made to spur each other on, like saying “press on!” when we met along the corridor or exchanging high fives and hugs made this stressful journey much brighter, more heartwarming and definitely more unforgettable.

WHAT ADVICE OR ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS?

Work with your tutors to refine your study strategies — I did not know how to summarise my notes efficiently which meant studying took me a lot of time and effort, and this drained my motivation to study. Once I got better at consolidating my learning, I had the momentum to keep going. Taking short breaks and pacing yourself is also a useful strategy. I got tired and burned out at times because studying was definitely less exciting than Council activities. Taking regular short breaks to reward myself and helped me feel less overwhelmed. I also tried to challenge myself to extend my studying time between each break and build discipline by turning off my phone while studying. Talking to friends, teachers and studying with them also boosted my motivation and spurred me on when I wanted to give up.

Sanchana Gnanasekaran

ALUMNA OF SINGAPORE CHINESE GIRLS' SCHOOL

Sanchana Gnanasekaran (18-O4) was an outstanding student and Deputy President of the 2nd Student Council. In the classroom and in the Student Council, she was able to elicit the view of a diverse range of individuals and reassure them that their views were valuable and had been heard, As the overall person-in-charge for high-profile college events such as the Orientation programme for the Joint Integrated Programme students (Eunite) in 2019 and the Student Council Investiture in 2018, Sanchana effectively communicated and managed the perspectives of the many different stakeholders with maturity, decisiveness and sensitivity. She also very quickly shaped up as a unifying and inspiring figurehead who could motivate everyone involved to do their very best for the events.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RECEIVING YOUR RESULTS LATER TODAY?

I’m feeling a lot less nervous than I thought I’d be today — I came across a quote the other day that spoke to me and helped me stay calm. “Disappointment reveals investment. What a beautiful thing to care, even if you were hoping for a different outcome. Celebrate that always.” And so regardless of what happens, I know that I will be okay and have it within me to make things work out in the end. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA AND WHAT MADE IT MEANINGFUL?

My journey to the A-levels was tough — there were highs and there were many lows and there were points where I wanted to give up but the support of everyone kept me going. Through it all, though, I felt a lot of love and support from my peers who were going through the same thing and this made the journey so much better, more meaningful and one I will always remember.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED? HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO OVERCOME THEM?

I often felt that I was not performing up to expectations and having to keep going was difficult. However, I realised that keeping a positive outlook and focusing on your progress rather than how far away you were from your goals helped immensely. I always reminded myself that at the end of the day, the journey would be worth it.

Tan Wen Xin

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST NICHOLAS GIRLS' SCHOOL

Tan Wen Xin (18-I1) was the Deputy Head of the Communications committee in the Student Council and stood out as a nurturing and empowering mentor. The teams she led benefited from her meticulous planning, clear guidelines and meaningful feedback and her efforts contributed to the Student Council strengthening its social media presence in order to better reach out to Eunoians. Wen Xin’s alma mater also benefited from her leadership as she made time amidst to serve as a Cadet Inspector with the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC), mentoring cadets at CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RECEIVING YOUR RESULTS LATER TODAY?

While I was nervous this week, much like many of my friends, I think I have reached a zen state of mind. I know that no matter the results all of us will ultimately create meaningful lives for ourselves and that our A-Level grades do not define us.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA AND WHAT MADE IT MEANINGFUL?

During our Eunoia GO trip to Sri Lanka, Mr Barry Chia once said that the A-Level examination is akin to that of a journey up Adams’ Peak, the mountain we were conquering. Although it is a one-man journey, we can choose to do it with friends and encourage each other along the way. I feel that this analogy aptly described my journey, as while it was a roller coaster of highs and lows, I am proud to call EJC my family, as even during the bleakest of times, my friends, teachers, family and alma mater have been immensely supportive and encouraging. Their thoughtfulness and generosity made this challenging journey a very memorable one indeed.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED? HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO OVERCOME THEM?

I think my toughest challenge was balancing my Council commitments with my academic work at the start of JC2.  With the support of my friends who helped to collect homework for me, as well as my subject teachers who were very patient when giving consultations, catching up with the class was a lot easier. I am grateful for the support I received from my EJC family.

Yeo Shin Loong

ALUMNUS OF CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL

Yeo Shin Loong (18-A1) was an instrumental leader in the Eunoia community, serving as an outstanding Captain of Akila House and a Student Councillor even as he pursued academic excellence as an MOE Bicultural Studies Programme Scholar. A constant on both the Dean’s List (Academic) and Dean's List (Character & Service) for his courage and integrity, Shin Loong was a noticeable presence during House events, rallying his peers with an infectious enthusiasm. He not only helped forge a strong house spirit within Akila, his efforts also helped strengthen the Eunoia identity amongst the Class of 2019.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RECEIVING YOUR RESULTS LATER TODAY?

I feel elated to visit our new home and catch up with my schoolmates and teachers. I also appreciate the opportunity to express my gratitude to my schoolmates and teachers that have supported me throughout this journey. Throughout the past week, there was a lot of anxiety, excitement and anticipation for results day but I held onto one belief - regardless of the results I receive, they will not define my future. The future is in our hands and the A-levels are but only a small milestone towards the greater end goals in life.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA AND WHAT MADE IT MEANINGFUL?

There were countless sleepless nights and self-initiated consultations with my tutors. The journey to A-levels not only demanded a great deal of stamina and perseverance but it was also a period of time that I learned how to strike a balance between taking sufficient breaks and studying. There were also many ‘eureka’ and ‘a-ha’ moments and disappointments along the way but in retrospect, these ups and downs were a crucial aspect of a rewarding Eunoia experience.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED? HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO OVERCOME THEM?

Having taken very content-heavy subjects, I found it challenging to digest all the lecture notes and tutorials. What eventually worked out for me was learning how to study smart and having a proper study routine: I learned that mindmaps and flashcards helped me internalise and thoughtfully apply what I learned and I also adhered to an exercise routine that allowed me to continue staying fit throughout my study sessions.