Junior college is a time of exploration of one's interests and strengths. However, it's precisely due to this reason, one may be hugely influenced by one's peers in making certain decisions. In this week of our Deep Dive into JC series, we have Megan Ye - an alumnus of Dunman High School - to share with us her life in JC, and how being part of "one of the top" classes was not all roses.
Getting to know Megan
What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I do two main things which I find enjoyable and deeply fulfilling on a personal level. I write on a WordPress blog that I own whenever I feel inspired, long letters to my family and friends, reviews of shows I’ve watched and random expressions of my thoughts and emotions. I also create digital art on my iPad via an app called procreate which I highly recommend to anyone with artistic interests.
What are you watching now on Netflix?
Currently, I am not watching any drama series on Netflix but my favourite would be Hotel Deluna - a Korean drama series starring my all-time favourite k-idol and artist IU. I think the drama series made me ponder about life after death which was both refreshing and thought-provoking.
What about Disney+ ?
Speaking about Disney+, I recently just watched Mulan on Disney+ and I got to say that the cinematics displayed was pretty immaculate. although it would have been a more accurate representation if they spoke Chinese instead of English in the movie.
How do you rate your school uniform out of 10?
I love my school uniform, it’s a simple navy blue skirt and white button-up - really can’t go wrong. And we wore the Dunman High polo t-shirt on Fridays for a school-wide casual fit to welcome the weekends and chill vibes as a school.
How was the food in your JC?
My school had 16 canteen food stalls. We had almost every cuisine Japanese, Korean, Thai, Malay, Chinese to name a few. And can you believe it we had 4 drink and dessert stalls in total. Honestly, students in my school were blessed with the wide selection of food. I do miss the cheap and delicious food back in school. Food is so much more expensive in SMU.
Megan's experience in Dunman High School
How would you describe your two years in DHS?
Overall, I wouldn’t sugarcoat the experience. I would say that JC was one of the most mentally challenging periods of my entire life. A’ levels seriously was not a joke and it felt like my whole life depended on it, it was the be-all and end-all. But in hindsight, I have toughened up as a person. To me, having gone through JC, that which I consider being a huge mountain conquered, nothing else really appears that much of a challenge I must say. It has made university much more manageable.
What CCA were you doing in JC? Why did you join and what did you learn?
Having done performing arts all my life such as choir in school, and piano externally, I decided that in JC, I wanted to use that little time I had aside from studying for A’levels, to give back to the community, instead of further refining my skills in music because I honestly had the resources to do so on my own. With that, I joined the DHS campus chapter under habitat for humanity Singapore and formed the organising committee with 4 other Dunmanians. We planned and executed regular projects, garnering manpower from our school, to revamp, paint, clean up and exterminate - bed bugs in the homes of low-income elderly and single-parent families living in rental flats within the poorer regions of Singapore. It was challenging having to take charge of all the administrative work involved with liaising with volunteers, homeowners, and our main partner Habitat for humanity. Physically executing the projects, not just one-off but regularly in addition to holding our meetings, was also really time-consuming. But overall, it was the most fulfilling way I could ever use my time and many lives were tangibly impacted by our good work.
What was your subject combination?
I took H2 Biology, Chemistry, Economics and H1 Mathematics.
What challenges did you face in your academic journey?
Being in one of the top classes in my JC cohort appears to be a glamorous affair. However, I can honestly from the bottom of my heart say that it has been the greatest source of my stress and worry. I often felt the pressure to perform academically and despite knowing that the future course I intended to pursue in business did not require H2 mathematics, I held on to it for a long time until right before my A’levels when I decided to do what was best for myself to stop succumbing to peer pressure, which was to focus on my 3 other H2 subjects instead. I think to sum up this challenge it would be standing firm in my personal beliefs and trusting yourself rather than prioritizing other’s expectations.
In addition, I was sick just before my preliminary examinations for A' Levels. This severely upended my preparation plan but thankfully I managed to pull myself through. Through this ordeal, I think it's important to believe that simply because one is not taking the normal path, doesn't mean one cannot reach the destination.
What competitions did you join?
During my second year in JC, together with 2 other students in my class we actually participated in the Sustainable Development Goals Business case competition held by CDG and we placed 2nd runner up. It was a proud achievement as amidst 100s of groups we were the only junior college that placed top three with the two other podium winners which came from universities.
How did you come across it?
Our school promoted this competition to us through email. I would say it’s really important to keep a keen eye on the resources and affiliate links your school sends you via internal channels like email, as the school departments only direct the most interesting and beneficial links to students.
What was your best memory?
My best memory would be the final case presentation that we made to the panellists. It was a nerve-wracking experience. Yet, downed in our blazers and formal wear with high heels, it was the first time I felt like perhaps, I was graduating slowly into formal adulthood, and away from student life. When our ideas gained approval from the panellists of adults from professional fields, I felt deeply empowered as a young girl knowing that I had the power to enact change and value-add even to big organisations.
What did you learn?
In general, I learnt a lot about time management. It's alright to procrastinate once in a while but when it comes down to important things, enough time must be set aside to ensure deliverables are of quality.
What kind of profile of students would thrive in your school's environment?
Students who are humble and hardworking! Being relational/having a preference for small cohorts would be nice too because in DHS the teachers and students are all part of a tight-knit family.
What would you have done differently?
I would have started working on the TYS in J1 as from my observation, many rushed through these sets of papers in J2 and thus couldn't reap the full benefit of them - which is to help you in reinforcing your knowledge and familiarise yourself with the question types.
One piece of advice to someone looking to join JC
I would say which JC you enter into makes a difference but it all comes down to how much effort you put on your outside of school hours within the two years. That’s what determines your success.