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Deep Dive into JC | ACSI: President of Student Council: "Don’t be Afraid of Responsibility"

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

An exemplary person with responsibility and aspiration not many people his age have, Ethan Christian Tan will be sharing his experience in ACSI with us today.

Get to know Ethan Christian Tan

How would your friends describe you?

I think they might say that I am motivated in pursuing my goal.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I think self-motivation comes from the desire to achieve a certain goal. The more you want something, the easier it is to put in a lot of effort for that and stay motivated. The challenge of motivation comes when it concerns something you don’t have a deep interest for. This is where you have to be disciplined about it.

How would you rate your school uniform?

The boy’s uniform is pretty practical with enough pockets to keep our valuables, so I’ll give it a 9!

Which food do you enjoy in ACSI?

I like Epic Gourmet a lot. It’s a western stall selling dishes like chicken pasta and burger with fries.


How did you decide your subject combinations?

My subject combination was: Higher Level (HL): History, Economics, Literature. Standard Level (SL): Physics, Mathematics, Chinese.

In secondary school my grades for the sciences and humanities were equally decent. However, deep down I knew my interests were always in the humanity subjects. I found myself participating in many humanity-related events/ extracurricular activities. Hence, I decided to choose HSP class. It stands for Humanity Scholarship Programme. The programme in ACSI does restrict students from pursuing HL Maths which may be important for many STEM courses in University. However, I think it’s important to base your decision on your interests because ultimately it’s easier to motivate yourself like I alluded to above.

Interesting! Tell us more about the HSP in ACSI?

It is essentially a programme dedicated for students with interests in humanity subjects. We got to go on overseas trip to historical sites in Japan, Korea, and China as part of the programme.

What competitions did you join in ACSI?

Yes I joined two public speaking competitions. They are the Lee Suan Yew Speaker of the Year Award (internal) and YMCA Plain English Speaking Award (external) Both were similar in the sense that they are impromptu speeches, with the topic only given to me a few minutes before walking up the stage. I never knew I was capable of speaking under pressure to an audience before joining these competitions.

Student Council

Being the President of the Student Council, what do you learn from holding such an important position?

In secondary school, my group of close friends whom I surrounded myself with shares a lot in common with me. However, this changed when I became President of the Student Council. The responsibility meant I had to work with people with different characters. At the start, I made the mistake of refusing to delegate enough work as I was not comfortable in trusting others completely with their abilities. Eventually, I learnt that it was really about giving the roles to the best people for the tasks and trust that they would do a better job than if I were to do them myself, such as trusting creative people with coming up with creative ideas.

Out of all of the events that the Student Council planned, which was your favourite?

It is definitely AC In the house (ACITH). The concept changes every year but at its core, the purpose is to raise funds for charity. For some years, we did public basking, while some years we organised a mass run. The concept in which our batch came up with was a mixture of carnival games on the astro turf and a treasure hunt around the school campus. There were also a variety of performances to cap off the night. I was tasked with briefing the participants on the day, and I remember the indescribable feeling when the lecture theatre slowly filled up with people, exceeding all of our expectations!


Do you think ACSI provides enough opportunities for their students?

I think there are abundant opportunities here in ACSI. One should always keep a lookout for announcements regarding upcoming competitions. Volunteering wise, the IB requirement makes it compulsory for students to look for such opportunities. I myself volunteered at OASIS, which is a tuition centre. It was heartwarming seeing the development of my tutee as he solved his first algebra problem on his own. CCA wise, there are a good number of options to choose from.

What is the profile of students that you think would thrive in the ACSI culture?

I think the culture of ACSI in general is about being a close-knit family. Even for those who join from other schools, as long as you are willing to be social and make friends, you should be able to survive well in the environment of ACSI.

With a lot of commitment on your plate, was there a time when juggling them seemed insurmountable?

Yes, it definitely came at around the start of Year 6 (JC2), when I had a few deadlines for IA (Internal Assessments) coming up at the same time. It seemed overwhelming at that time. However, I told myself to keep going and take one step at a time. Deadlines will come and go. It wasn’t too bad after all, looking back.

Finally, what is one advice you have for juniors entering junior colleges?

Don’t be afraid and take on more responsibilities or join competitions which you didn’t think you could compete in. Don’t be afraid that you don’t have to study for your exams or promos because somehow you would find a way to fit all commitments in with your schedule.

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