Hello! My name is Joan and I’m your Senior School Counsellor at YJC. 🙂 That being said, we don’t have a ‘non-senior’ School Counsellor at YJ so that title is just to denote that a) I’m so much older now than when I first joined YJ and b) that I now have a fancier title even if it’s just for show. 🙂
I never thought I would one day work as a school counsellor. When I was younger, I wanted to be a mathematician, a musician, a civil rights lawyer and at some point I wanted to live in a tree in Canada to prevent the heritage tree from being cut down. The first job I applied for after graduating from university was with the singapore zoo as a zoo keeper. I never did get a reply from the zoo. 😦 If anyone from the singapore zoo is reading this, please note that it’s not cool to ignore a young person’s sincere feelings in wanting to work with animals. Anyways, I’m rambling. I worked my way through university (I tell people I was hardly in school when in uni) because otherwise I wouldn’t have the money to pay for uni tuition which is kind of ironic now that I think about it…working hard so I can be in uni but hardly going to uni lessons cos I was working hard. I suppose I could take scholarships but I didn’t want to be bonded as a civil servant for 6 years which makes the fact that I am now a civil servant extra ironic. As you can see, my life seems to be a series of ironies. I worked as a barista at Starbucks coffee while in uni for a number of years and loved that job. It has taught me the essential life skills of pulling expresso shots, washing countless dishes and taking the trash out. Such essential life skills. Bubble teahouses were the rave at my time and I earned $20 an hour as a gigging keyboardist every weekend to pay for uni tuition…yes…every single cent went towards uni tuition apparently! I did some community development work in Indonesia with an NGO for a year which explains my sub-fluent bahasa and then went to Tokyo to learn the Japanese language and learn more about community development and disaster relief work. Before joining the civil service, I started a translation company with a friend and did a whole bunch of English-Chinese-Japanese translation work while studying for my Masters in Social Science in Professional Counselling with an Australian university. I graduated Valedictorian (yeah!) from that Masters program in 2009 and have been working at YJC ever since.
I take a strength-based approach in my counselling work with students and very seldom give advice in a counselling session (sorry guys…no magic wand here). I believe in the strengths of every student and often highlight that to those who come and have a chat with me. Students often leave feeling understood (hopefully) and more confident (hopefully) about their own ability to face life’s challenges. I did my post Masters certification in Solution Focused Brief Therapy and is a certified Master Solution Focused Practitioner. Sounds pretty impressive right? 😉 I’m also a certified .b (pronounced dot-be) mindfulness teacher with the Mindfulness in Schools Project based in the UK and that forms quite a large part of my job…teaching the 8 week .b course to JC1 and JC2 classes.
I’m an adrenaline junkie so I tried skydiving, mountain biking (I still regret the day I sold my gary fisher MTB), diving, trekking in the himalayas and a number of crazy adventures. Now that I’ve aged considerably my activities are more sedate and I take to cycling, yoga, obsessing over my bass guitar and watching re-runs of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, Scandal and Blindspot (how many tattoos does she have?!) Some time back I bought a new bike (after a 10 year hiatus from cycling) so my weekends now are dedicated to cycling and exploring the ulu parts of Singapore. So don’t be surprised if you see me on my bike!
I don’t have a cat/dog but wish I do (I even got a name ready) and I’m not close to my biological family. I have a best friend whom I do almost everything with and I’m grateful that I’m still alive today and still trying out new things! There’s alot more about me than what’s on this page but I suppose it’ll come through in my writings in future. Feel free to drop by the counselling room and have a chat with me!