Class of 2021 Soaring
– Vol 4

Class of 2021
Soaring

VOLUME FOUR

The Class of 2021 demonstrated how our dreams can take flight when we pursue our passions and spread our love for learning. In this final volume, Deon, Lauren, Leia, Yi Xuan, Tiantian and Amanda reflect on their pursuit of excellence in the Humanities and the Arts and impart words of wisdom to their juniors!

PHOTOS BY AARUSHI SALUNKHE, TIFFANY LIM, ZOU YAN FANG, NIKITA PARMAR

Deon Loke

ALUMNA OF SINGAPORE CHINESE GIRLS' SCHOOL

Deon Loke (20-O1) was a scholar in the MOE Humanities Scholarship and Programme (HSP), embracing a wide range of learning opportunities in the humanities and the arts. Her curiosity led her to research the genre of apocalyptic films in her HSP capstone project, and she was consistently proficient in Literature, Geography and General Paper while consistently placing at the top of her class in Art. Her artistic talents were on frequent display, having created student merchandise for the college's National day Celebrations, booting a concept for the MOE Pre-University Seminar 2021 logo, exhibited work at the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) in 2020 and placed as a finalist in the SYF Design Challenge in 2021. Deon was also an enthusiastic leader in the roles of House Vice-Captain for Ora and Orientation Group Leader for EJC Orientation, showing concern for her juniors and creating a vibrant and supportive school culture. 

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

I feel relieved that things turned out the way I had hoped they would. Though I feel that the results we’ve received are in no way a definition or a true reflection of our capabilities or intelligence, it is gratifying to see my friends and I walk through this phase of life together, regardless of our results. I am grateful for all those who have lifted me up in my highs and stuck with me through my lows. My family, friends, and teachers who continually stood as my pillars of support are to thank for how far I have come, and how far I will continue to go, far beyond the grades I got for the A-Levels.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR 'LOW POINT' YOU FACED IN 2020-2021? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

I am a chronic overthinker – at almost every phase of my educational journey, I have been bombarded by a fair share of self doubt, low confidence, and most of all, a fleeting sense of purpose that translates to a lack of motivation. I kept asking myself ‘why’, why I bothered trying hard in school, why I was even here to do anything at all. Essentially, my low points are all existential crises. I wouldn’t say things like these can simply be ‘overcome’, rather it is a conscious and continual effort to remind myself to take one step at a time. The only thing I truly have in control is myself, so I might as well do whatever I choose to do to the best of my ability. It is always a journey of self-improvement that can only be achieved on my own terms.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

The bonds I have formed in school. I have made such good friends (teachers included) and had unforgettable memories with them. What I remember most about school in 10 years time would not be the 8 hours of mugging per day, but the breaks we take in between to rest together, laugh together, and cry together. JC is 100% going to make you cry at least once, but I am glad that I could always cry with my best friends around me.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO PURSUE YOUR PASSION IN ART? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS, TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO EXPLORE THEIR INTERESTS?

Art has always been such a big part of my life, and I guess I am just the kind of person to do whatever I want to do. I find that to be a good mantra to have. Sure not everyone is willing to sacrifice a supposedly ‘good future’ to pursue (maybe unprofitable) interests, and that is totally valid, but I strongly encourage everyone to make their interest a priority. It does not have to be the top priority, but make it a point to owe it to yourself to have fun. There are many ways to explore your interests, it does not have to be in school. Just have the courage to live life in the most enjoyable (and safe) way possible!

Lauren Ong

ALUMNA OF SINGAPORE CHINESE GIRLS' SCHOOL

Lauren Ong (20-U1) was a talented and preternaturally motivated student who concurrently pursued two independent studies for H2 Knowledge and Inquiry and H3 Music in 2021. A recipient of the MOE Music Elective Scholarship, she seized opportunities to attend master classes outside of the classroom to extend her understanding of music, picked up new instruments like the guitar, piano and dizi and demonstrated her passion for music at a concert put up the college's Music Elective Programme (MEP) students. As the Student Conductor for EJC Choir, she upheld standards of musical excellence and prepared her peers for the digital recording for the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation in 2021. 

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT HELPED YOU ACHIEVE THESE RESULTS?

I’m quite okay with my results. I feel that even though it was not my ideal, I am still proud of the progress that I made and the improvements that I had. I’m really grateful for the guidance of all my teachers and all their efforts in helping me, especially when I felt unmotivated and needed help, both academically and emotionally. I’m also very grateful to have had an amazing group of friends that helped me through this A-Level journey. The A-Level journey that I had, whilst not without its bumps in the road, was one that was fulfilling and one that left me with no regrets.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR 'LOW POINT' FACED IN 2020-2021? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

In the later half of 2021, I was struggling with severe burnout and anxiety, and struggled with coming to school, being present in lessons, and in performing academically. While it was a challenging time, it made me realise what a good support system I had in EJ. With my teachers offering to hold extra consultations for me to catch up on the classes I missed, and with both my friends and teachers checking up on me often. It was due to their help that I did not give up and managed to bounce back, and I’m very thankful for their help.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?
AND IF YOU WERE TO PICK A SOUNDTRACK FOR THIS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

One of the moments in my EJ journey that I hold close to my heart is not an uncommon memory for many, but one that really shaped my journey. The daily lunches and meals that I had with my friends in the canteen mean a lot to me, with us catching up about life, studies, and everything in between. Having people that you can count on and spending time with them was the most meaningful to me, and EJ really gave me friends that I could count on for life.

A soundtrack to this would be any feel-good songs that lift your spirits! I always tried to listen to music that felt warm and comforting, and songs by artists like Wolf Peck and Rex Orange County were my studying companions a lot of the time. I also tried to listen to local music during my A-Levels, so listening to artists like Lew Loh made me feel more at ease.

WHAT ADVICE / WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS?

The ‘A’ levels, while important, are not the most important thing in your JC journey. The experience and the connections YoY make are what you’ll remember the most, and be sure to pace yourself. Tap on the resources that the school provides and remember that you are never alone, no matter how afraid you are. Study hard, play hard and all the best!

Leia Ong

ALUMNA OF SINGAPORE CHINESE GIRLS' SCHOOL

Leia Ong (20-U1) was an intellectually curious student in the MOE Music Elective Programme (MEP) who also participated fully in weekly Eunoia Humanities Programme sessions. Keenly interested in local culture, she produced a video documentary on Singaporean hawker culture for a capstone project featured at the Eunoia Humanities Symposium in 2021. She constantly pushed herself to learn more, attending the Public Policy and Civic Engagement module under Programme Latitude, heading the press corps of a college-based Model United Nations event and playing the role of student facilitator at the MOE Pre-University Seminar 2021. Her talents contributed to a livelier college culture too: she served as the Deputy Editor for EJC Press, vetting and conceptualizing new directions the CCA could take, frequently performed for EJC Rock Band, a student-initiated interest group, and also co-wrote an original song that the band performed for the closing ceremony of the Pre-University Seminar.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

I feel okay about my results, I guess! I did not do as well for some subjects as I wanted to, but overall I feel pretty content with my RP as I think it is decent. It was only a matter of what grades I got as I knew I had given my best efforts, and with that I was satisfied. I am extremely grateful for my wonderful tutors, my ever-supportive friends who were a joy to learn with and learn from, as well as my parents for their unconditional love and support!

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR 'LOW POINT'? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

I struggled with some of my subjects initially, specifically music as writing music essays was unintuitive for me. It took a while to get the hang of it with lots of practice, consultation and support from my awesome music teacher, Mr Lee. It was a slow but steady improvement, albeit frustrating and demoralising, but you can definitely do better if you want to!

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

It is difficult to name one part of my EJ experience, but if I had to choose it would be being a part of the community. My CG mates, CCAmates and tutors were incredible people who I learnt a lot not just about academics but about the joy of learning new perspectives. It was all very inspiring and I am grateful for how my mindset was challenged, expanded and (hopefully) enlightened by the diversity of the viewpoints.

AS A MEMBER OF PRESS AND ROCK BAND, WHAT DOES ‘VOICE’ MEAN TO YOU? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK / CREATE THEIR OWN VOICE?

‘Voice’ to me means making an impact in your community. Whether that community is an entire CCA or just your seatmate in your CG, if you see a gap that needs filling and you believe you can, do it! Everyone else is as new to JC and other experiences as you are, and I believe everyone has something valuable to contribute, no matter if it's as small as talking to that one quiet person in class or volunteering an idea for a CCA project. Cliche, but being the change you want to see is something I find very meaningful. Take the leap and go do it!

Tjan Yi Xuan

ALUMNUS OF ANDERSON SECONDARY SCHOOL

Tjan Yi Xuan (20-O5) was a scholar in the MOE Music Elective Programme (MEP) who was focused, disciplined and eager to push himself further intellectually. He offered Music at the Higher 3 level, while positively accepting challenges and persevering to overcome obstacles in his path. He also passionately served as the subject representative for Mathematics, taking pride and showing initiative to build a conducive learning environment for his peers. On top of his academic excellence, Yi Xuan was a Section Leader in the Symphonic Band who always sought to motivate his peers, helping his ensemble attain a certificate of distinction at the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation in 2021. Moreover, he demonstrated a keen desire to serve the community and was awarded the MOE Edusave Character Award in recognition of his exemplary character and service.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

I am both happy and perplexed at the results I achieved at the A-Levels. For GP, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, the efforts paid off a lot better than I expected them to, as I did not think I would achieve such grades after completing the papers, considering the numerous mistakes I already made. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for all the support from subject tutors, classmates, tuition teachers, Project AEGIS mentors, other friends, and especially my parents, who always spurred me on not to give up even when I screwed up certain papers and faced setbacks. When I saw my grade for Music, I was very confused, as I under-achieved despite having such a strong passion for it and putting in the most effort in the subject. However, I choose to treat this as a humbling experience that prepares me for reality, which is itself full of unexpected setbacks.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR 'LOW POINT'? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

A low point in 2020-2021 was during the Circuit Breaker Period in mid-2020, when we had many weeks of
home-based learning followed by a month of school holidays in isolation. During that period I remember that I struggled with serious motivation issues, and did not feel like studying at all on some days, given the isolation and mundanity of staying at home and staring at the screen for long hours. I overcame it by adapting to the situation as much as possible, participating in the various House activities organised by the Ora House Committee, and various class-based activities, occasionally going for runs to mitigate the emotional effects of isolation. Another difficult part of JC life was the lead-up to the A Levels, especially for a crucial subject like General Paper. During my time at EJC, my GP results were always very worrying, even at the Prelims, where time management and basic question analysis were still big issues. To overcome this obstacle, I sought help from my subject tutors and other external tuition teachers, who both gave me valuable advice on ways forward, but it was ultimately consistent practice, ignorance of failure (in a good way), and active correction of past mistakes identified in timed practices (noticing trends) that drove me out of the trap. I gained confidence with all these measures, eventually exceeding my potential and peaking at the A-Levels.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

There is no one most meaningful part of my journey in Eunoia, but rather, many little parts that come together to form a whole. For CCA, it was the opportunity to meet many different people in my section, building relationships with them, and ultimately creating a warm culture in the section where everyone is mutually supportive. It really warms my heart to see a section that is bonded! Academics wise, it was the enrolment in the Music Elective Programme, taking both H2 and H3 Music. This experience not only widened my horizons on the study of music, helping me appreciate music even more, but also equipped me with basic research skill sets that are useful for the future, regardless of which path I take. And of course, the little things matter as well, as my experience at EJC turned out to be much more than academics and CCA. Friendships were forged with some of the most wonderful people I’ve met in my life, alongside eye-opening experiences like the two dialogues my class had with officials from MOE.

WHAT ADVICE / WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS? WHAT ARE SOME STUDY STRATEGIES THAT YOU HAVE FOUND HELPFUL IN YOUR ACADEMIC JOURNEY?

Studies are important, but take the time to enjoy the little moments too! For me, they were having meals together, chatting, going for a quick shower after PE with my friends (in separate cubicles, of course), doing Mathematics and Chemistry on the whiteboard during free periods, staying in the MEP studios till 7pm, practising in the band room till 8pm. These all gave life to my academically rigorous time at EJC, and I consider them to be necessary to balance out the stress I get from studying alone intensely. As for useful study tips, don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek consults whenever in doubt, and of course, practise consistently, mindfully with a clear goal in mind, and don’t give up! You are in good hands; your peers and tutors are all there to support you.

Men Tiantian

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST NICHOLAS GIRLS' SCHOOL

Men Tiantian (20-A1) was a student in the MOE Bicultural Studies Programme (BSP) from Secondary 3 through to her time in Eunoia. Offering both H2 Translation (Chinese) and H2 Chinese Language and Literature, Tiantian's deep interest in the Chinese language was a constant feature: she participated as a student reporter for Lianhe Zaobao, obtained First Prize in the 23rd Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literary Awards and served as President of the BSP committee, planning BSP events and crafting the content and scope for BSP lectures. As Class Vice-Chairperson and a dedicated member of the Chinese Orchestra, Tiantian was both a leader and strong team player passionate about all she sought to achieve.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

I am quite satisfied with my results, there was a mixture of both surprise and disappointment. Overall, I feel that my hard work has paid off and this perfectly concludes my journey with Eunoia. I am grateful for having such amazing teachers throughout the 2 years, every single one of them. Having been through the teaching internship, I realised that it is really so selfless of all our teachers to willingly go the extra mile by always offering to have consultations with us and always answering our queries with endless patience. I am also grateful for all my friends who have walked through this journey with me. I would not have made it so far without all of their care and company.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR 'LOW POINT'? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

My lowest point would be the sudden passing of my late CLL teacher. He was not only my subject tutor, but also my life coach. So he was a very significant pillar of support  for me in school. He was the one whom I would immediately turn to when I faced challenges, be it any conflicts with my friends or academic difficulties. I remember that during the gloomy rainy period in 2021 when we began 2 weeks of HBL in May. Losing someone so significant in my life, being kept at home without the company of my friends in school plus the stress from the upcoming myes had hit me so hard that it felt like the end of the world. Luckily, I had my close friends who were also suffering the same pain by my side. We video-called each other every single day during the HBL period as well as June holidays, so as to keep each other distracted from getting swallowed up by our sorrow. That was the most difficult time I’ve had in JC but nothing is impossible to overcome when you have such great friends and family to support you.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?
OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM BSP?

Being a member of BSP and studying mother tongue subjects CLL and Translation are the two most meaningful parts of my journey in Eunoia. My two years living in a well-balanced bilingual and bicultural environment have truly groomed me to be confident about furthering my path into realising my interests and my values. Learning the subjects I am passionate about makes the hectic JC life half as stressful. I have never imagined living such a unique yet wonderful school life before entering Eunoia.

WHAT ADVICE / WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS IN JC2 AND JC1, TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO PURSUE THEIR INTERESTS?

Hi juniors! Don’t ever be afraid to pursue your own interests just because someone else wants to pursue something else. It’s never about being good at what you do, but doing what you really want to do. All the very best for your life in Eunoia! 2 years is short so don't waste it on trying to be someone that you are not.

Amanda Lim

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST NICHOLAS GIRLS' SCHOOL

Amanda Lim (20-O1) was a critical thinker who embraced any opportunity to stretch herself intellectually, participating in the Eunoia Humanities Programme and the Environmental Sustainability module under Programme Latitude. Exceptionally proficient in the study of Literature, Amanda was nominated by the college for the Edwin Thumboo Prize in 2021. Amanda was also an adept leader and organiser, managing the lines of communication between student facilitators and teachers as Head Student Facilitator for the MOE Pre-University Seminar 2021. In the role of Vice-President and Section Leader for EJC Choir, Amanda planned milestone events such as Choir Camp 2021 and meticulously mentored her peers in the lead-up to the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation. Clearly passionate about the arts, she co-directed a class film production for Literature Festival 2021, marrying her love for the subject with technical aspects of film production. 

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

I feel happy that I was able to meet my expectations for my results. Although I have definitely enjoyed my two years here in EJ, it is undeniable that the stress and intensity integral to the JC journey overwhelmed me at times, and it is great to feel that it paid off in the end. Of course, grades are not what defines us, and receiving my grades also reminded me of the other precious things I have gained, especially the people around me. I was blessed to have been accompanied by many wonderful friends throughout the course of this journey, who both suffered with me and comforted me through the hardest moments, and supported me in everything I did. I would not have enjoyed school as much if they were not with me, and studying for the A levels would have been a more dull and painful process. My teachers were also extremely reliable pillars of support throughout the 2 years. They not only provided great academic guidance but were also always understanding and patient with us. They made lessons fun and interesting and helped me to enjoy the academic rigour of the JC curriculum. All in all, what I have received was a culmination of not only my own efforts but the support of the wonderful people around me.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR 'LOW POINT'? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

My JC journey was one centred around youths. Naturally, I thus faced quite a few growing pains as I explored more of my own identity and tried to accept. Watching the amazing achievements of my peers was one the first things that made me start reflecting more deeply on myself. We all know that comparing ourselves to others can very quickly go downhill but at the same time abstaining from it is easier said than done. While it did act as a source of motivation for me, it also slowly became a negative source of pressure. I struggled a lot with defining what ‘enough’ meant for me, and no matter what I did, I still felt like I could do more and do better. To be honest, I still think I continue to struggle with this at times, but I have learned not to be constantly disappointed in myself, which is a step nonetheless. I started to realise that expecting more of yourself without acknowledging what you have already done was definitely not a healthy mindset, and frankly also impractical because it impeded any progress I wished to make as I just became demoralised and actually demotivated. Thankfully, I had amazing people around me to remind me of this whenever I needed it, and eventually started to learn how to accept and be more proud of myself. At the end of the day, though it may seem purely beneficial to constantly regard ourselves with a critical eye, I learned that there is also value in softening our perceptions of ourselves and being a little more forgiving. Only then can we reflect and improve ourselves in the most effective way.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

I think the most meaningful part of my journey in Eunoia was finding myself. In Eunoia, I definitely got to know myself better as an individual, discovering and reaffirming what I am passionate about. For example, specific subjects like Literature or other activities I loved, like Choir. Reflecting on how I deal with hardships, what I even view as hardship in the first place and my self-perception in general also helped me to learn more about the values and mindsets I regard highly. I also got to learn more about my place in the world around me, specifically in the group of people around me. Being part of precious friendships taught me the value of simply having people you can smile with around you and how worthwhile it is to put your 1000% into maintaining and developing your relationships with others. Playing a part in leadership roles alongside other outstanding individuals also taught me many lessons on how to improve myself and contribute to the journeys of those around me. I still have more to learn and improve about myself, but I am grateful to have been able to take a big first step through my journey in Eunoia.

WHAT DOES BEAUTIFUL THINKING SOUND LIKE TO YOU? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS IN JC2 AND JC1, TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK/ CREATE THEIR OWN VOICE?

To me, beautiful thinking is about following your heart. It sounds very cliche, but I do believe that the most brilliant thoughts come from a place of sincerity and genuine conviction in your own views and words. While we might not think of ourselves as geniuses or particularly wise people, we all possess an original and unique way of thinking. I think that much value can be found in trusting in and being proud of the unique thoughts we hold. When we believe in our own words is when we can express them to others in the best and most genuine way. Sometimes, it does not matter whether whoever you are talking to agrees with you. Taking that brave step to put our own thoughts out there in the world will gradually allow us to develop our own unique and beautiful voice. I would encourage my juniors to be proud of the very unique brain cells you have, even if you think there are only 2 of them left.