Being part of the Drama CCA, she learnt to thrive in her identity, at the same time enjoyed being part of the larger community. In this week's blog post of Deep Dive into JC, we welcome Rachel Han, alumnus of Anglo Chinese School (Independent), to share her unique perspectives.
Getting to know Rachel Han
How would your friend describe you?
I hope they would describe me as motivated, caring, and outgoing.
How would you rate your school uniform?
I would say it's just alright. It's tailored to a certain body proportion and sometimes that can be uncomfortable to wear.
What about food? How would you rate it?
I think it was alright. I only frequented three stalls, two of them were noodle stalls and a Japanese stall. They were really decent at the start but the novelty factor wore off as time went by. By the end of Year 6 (J2), I think it's safe to say most of us have been quite bored of school food!
Rachel's experience in ACS(I)
What subject combination did you take and why?
I took Higher Level Business Management, Biology, and Chemistry; and Standard Level Mathematics, Language & Literature, and Chinese. I knew my strength wasn't in Mathematics so I had to take it at Standard Level. For my Higher Level subjects, I was fairly certain on Biology and Chemistry because of I did decently well in secondary school. As for the third Higher Level subject, I had some exposure to Economics in secondary school and didn't enjoy it very much. Hence, I chose to take Business Management as it sounds more enjoyable. I can't really envision myself taking any other combination to be honest, so in the end, it worked out well for me!
Did you struggle academically and if so how did you overcome it?
I would say yes. Theory of Knowledge (TOK) was very confusing, and I'm confident that it wasn't only me who struggled to comprehend it. How I got around it was by constantly bouncing off ideas with my friends through casual conversations, making sure that I wasn't too consumed by the individual research work I was putting in. It helped too to look through the sample essays of seniors in order to have a clearer idea of the thinking process behind such essays and to try emulating some of that thinking.
What about your Internal Assessments?
It was fairly daunting at first. However, I realised quite quickly that people around me were very willing to help, whether that was in the form of listening to my plight in the lab, or giving advice on how I can tweak my experiments. Another thing that helped me a lot was knowing how to do smart researching. For instance, one way is to play around with the permutation of the keywords in the search engine of the databases. Also, you must be using Google Scholar if you haven't already!
How were your teachers in school?
I have a few teachers that were great during my time in ACS(I). Some were super caring, helpful during consultation and could be both "chill" and serious when needed, which I appreciated a lot. Some others were simply very good in how they taught me.
You mentioned before the interview that Drama CCA was one of your most enjoyable time in ACS(I)?
I really love my time in drama. The people in the CCA were super different from one another yet we share the same love for immersing ourselves in different characters and expressing ourselves on stage. On a technical level, there were two to three productions per year for me to work on and improve my characters which was a big appeal to me. Before each production, I would be fairly embarrassed of asking my friends to come to the show as I was afraid they would not turn up. This was partly because I was aware of the relative lack of reputation of our CCA compared to drama from other schools or other CCAs within ACS(I). However, I slowly learned to fully own my character and became really proud of what I do. This new understanding that there's no reason why one cannot be proud of one's hardworking had boosted my confidence tremendously.
You also were part of the Student Council, tell us more about that experience.
Student council was especially rewarding when I was part of the organising team for Mid-Autumn Festival. I enjoyed spending time interacting with the Dover residents, whom we were planning the event for. I learnt how to take into the consideration of all stakeholders and their needs, whilst ensuring our budget wasn't exceeded. I also gained valuable experience in juggling between preparing for the event and end-of-year examinations.
How do you manage your time in ACS(I)?
I would make sure that I block out time to study around my schedule for other commitments. That way, I would always had to time to revise and not had to compromise on other work.
What kind of profiles of students would do well in ACS(I)
I think you should aim to strike a balance between being driven academically and learning how to hit the pause button to relax. Also, when I first entered the school, I found myself constantly trying to fit into the "culture" of AC. It was fairly intimidating to keep up with the "culture" that I realised, as long as you are confident in your own identity, you would enjoy it a lot more. Lastly, peer pressure or group pressure can get to anyone so stay strong!
And lastly, what are some advice you would give to juniors?
Firstly, don't be afraid to ask your teachers for help, be it in going over concepts taught in class or giving comments on mock essays. Secondly, don't be afraid to approach friends for advice and help. At the end of the day, you are going through the same hardship and I would say it's better to suffer with friends than drowning in deadlines by yourself. Lastly, don't feel obligated to fit into an existing groups of friends, just relax and true friendships will come.