In this week's Deep Dive into JC, we have Cheryl Goh, an alumnus of Hwa Chong Institution. Cheryl is a current Sophomore at Singapore Management University, pursuing a double degree in Accountancy and Information System. She's a junior consultant at Growth-X, a student-led consultancy club in SMU that partners with local and international clients in projects. Also an avid dancer, Cheryl is currently part of Eurhythimix SMU, the school's premier hip-hop club. During her free time, she loves to watch Netflix and play Mahjong with friends.
Cheryl's experience in Hwa Chong Institution
What CCA were you in?
I was in the Music and Dance Society under the Modern Dance division.
What were some great memories about your CCA?
I fondly remember the SYF performance. It was emotional as it would be our last dance together on a big stage and the club spent countless hours practising together. Our teacher in charge approached me and asked if I could perform a short solo part during the performance. It was my first time performing solo and I procrastinated until 2 am the morning before the deadline of showing my teacher the choreography. At that point, I had no options but to clear my room for some space. My mom thought I was crazy to dance at that time. Thankfully he was impressed when I showed it to him!
In addition to my CCA, I was also the dance in charge of my faculty in HCI. I loved the experience of teaching the J1 a dance sequence for their orientation. I worked alongside another partner and looking at the seniors' work, we couldn't help but feel like it's impossible to even replicate their efforts. It was difficult for me to teach more than 200 eager J1 students as I had stage fright but the synergy I had with my partner helped us overcome the challenges. The night of the performance came and the school's atmosphere was electric with alumni, parents, and students watching the dance performances of all faculties. It was heartwarming seeing our effort paid off.
Read about other seniors who share a background in dance with Cheryl Goh here.
What was your subject combination and why?
I took Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Economics. The reason is I thought at that time perhaps I would like to become a doctor in the future as I found it to be an extremely meaningful career. However, I soon found out that the academic rigour of this pursuit is not suited for me.
Any regrets about choosing this combination?
Yes, looking back I realise choosing Computing instead of Biology would help me tremendously as I have since found my passion in Information Systems particularly Data Analytics. At that age, I wasn't exposed to the prospect of the different career pathways and thus many of my decisions could have been much more tailored to my passion and interests instead of "going with the flow".
Read about other seniors who would also have chosen a different subject combination for various reasons here.
What challenges did you face in your academic journey?
There was a lot of content to study for Biology and I struggled to manage my time while having other dance commitments. I remember a test where I looked at the questions knowing almost nothing at all.
Who was your favourite teacher and why?
It was my Chemistry teacher. She had a PhD in Chemistry yet her passion for teaching led her to become a Chemistry teacher in my school. I'm glad she chose that path as she inspired me a lot in the subject. Every time we received our marked papers, her detailed annotated explanation was so easy to understand and helped us quickly fill in our knowledge gap.
Read about the experience(s) of other senior(s) in Hwa Chong Institution here
What competitions did you join in Junior College?
I didn't join any academic competitions back then although I would certainly reverse that and participate in some case competitions to perhaps explore more about how businesses operate in real life.
What kind of profile of students would thrive in your school's environment?
A lot of my peers didn't seem to enjoy their time thoroughly due to the academic demand. Hence I would say it would be a plus if one has the resilience to deal with the demands of the rigorous curriculum. Beyond that, one would need to be someone who knows how to strike a balance between studies and other commitments or hobbies.
What would you have done differently?
Academically, I would have tried to be more disciplined with it, which perhaps could have enabled me to take a H3 subject. Outside of school, I would have put in more effort to explore the real world, perhaps learning about how startups work and possibly getting an internship.
Lastly, what's one piece of advice to someone looking to go to a Junior College?
Try your absolute best not to follow what everyone is doing, unless that is truly what you want for you too. It's understandable that when one's young and has limited knowledge, one would go with the flow. If that's the case, stop yourself there, and try to think and prioritise what matters or seek external help of seniors or others to gain a more complete understanding.