Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

I love this short little video clip that was shared with me by our ECG Counsellor, Ms Loretta Foo (more on her in future posts to come). It’s just one of those real stories that makes you think about life and makes you suddenly feel like life is so full of hope and promise. haha.  And yet it’s tempered by realism – the boys in the football club featured don’t suddenly become like world champions (cos that would be terribly cliche and disney fairy tale like) but yet their passion and perseverance towards something they believe in just makes me feel like I should get out there and make things happen for myself, instead of sitting on my couch, binge eating ice-cream and lamenting the obstacles that life has put in my way. It’s made me wonder if I will have the conviction and determination to stand up to naysayers who thinks my goal is ludicrous and far-fetched and who thinks I could never achieve what I set out to achieve. 

Perhaps as you watch this video, try asking yourself these – what am I willing to put in/sacrifice in order to achieve my dreams? How can I ignore the voices of the naysayers in my life (sometimes the harshest naysayers are ourselves!) and continue to push on no matter how far-fetched or impossible my dream seems? Hoping that this will help fuel your soul after a grueling week of block tests and stuff. 🙂

The final push

Posted: October 19, 2015 in Exams, Motivation, Resilience

Dear JC2 students,

This morning as I was walking across the quadrangle, I looked up and noticed the count down chart that said A level exams is 17 days away. I can’t believe how much time has gone by! Some of you, right now, may feel more prepared than others; some of you may have been chewing through your nails; and some of you may already be making plans to repeat next year cos you feel like there’s just no way you can be ready in time. Whichever the case, this IS the final lap and I wanted to wish you well. I’ve met all of you at the resilience workshop this year and hope that some of the stuff that your teachers and I have shared will support you in this time. A couple of students have requested that I put up the story of the alumni student I talked about during the workshop, so here it is.


That was way back in 2012 and I just liked the story so much because it speaks so much truth. It IS true that YJC students are deemed the underdogs and it IS also true that that doesn’t make anything impossible if you work hard. That was the whole tenet of the workshop, really, that hard work is one of the strongest predictor for success. When things work out for you, I hope that you’d write back to me and let me know your story as well, so I can use it to encourage your juniors. When, not if.

Martin Luther King once said, ‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope’. Whatever disappointments or setbacks you may have encountered up to this point that makes you feel like you are not good enough, or that you can’t, don’t let that trip you up and keep on going, keep on hoping. 🙂

Ms Joan

I really like this article that was shared with me recently. I couldn’t write it any better so reblogging it here.


It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

View original post 765 more words

The value of looking back

Posted: October 18, 2013 in Motivation
Tags: ,

Congratulations JC2s on your graduation! I remember when I graduated from JC I was mostly glad that I don’t have to sing Mari Kita everyday anymore. I don’t even remember if I thanked my teachers properly…aiyoh terrible! Anyways, I asked a JC2 student last week looking back at the 2 years that he has spent in YJC, whether he thought that he could have actually gotten to this point of graduating and taking his A levels in 20 days. He said he didn’t think that he could have endured these wretched 2 years and more than once had thought of quitting. But he didn’t, and he stuck it through and I affirmed him for that.

I think there is value in looking back and i’m sure if you do that, you’ll see that all of you guys displayed qualities of perseverance and grit to have gone through the last couple of years in JC. Sometimes we take things for granted and give ourselves too little credit! Surely if you managed to stick through the last couple of years, I believe the final lap towards your A levels would not be too hard a task to undertake and I wish you guys all the very best for your A levels! 🙂

Finding your motivation

Posted: September 3, 2013 in Motivation, Uncategorized

It’s that time of the year again when the school starts putting numbers on a board. Numbers so big that the auntie staying in the opposite block can see it while watering her plants. Numbers that decrease with each passing day reminding us (whether we like it or not) that our end of year exams are closing in. Numbers that jolt us into attempts to find our motivation to buckle down and study if we haven’t already done so with each passing day. A couple of years ago some students requested that I write about motivation. So I did. I wrote about the story of a student who found his motivation when he reminded himself what he’s doing this for. I also talked about a student who found her motivation when she decided that she wanted to finish her JC days off in style. Sometimes motivation comes when you find meaning in life like in the movie bucket list. Lastly, it never hurts to read what your seniors who have gone before you did to motivate themselves when they encountered setbacks. I have a few more ideas on motivation now that I’m older and wiser…haha. So I’ll find some time to write about those as well. Hopefully some of these will be helpful for you guys.

Hey everyone, I received this ‘comment’ from an ex-YJCian in response to a post I wrote on motivation. I’m reposting it here for everyone cos it was impactful to me as I think about the difficulties students face, the obstacles in their way and the resilience and strength of character some of you display. Enough from me, here it is in its entirety:-

“Hi Joan,

Happened to click on the link in your sign-off and stumbled upon this post.
I really wana post a comment even though this post was dated almost a year back. Probably u would ask me WHY??
Well, reasons being,
1) I was a YJCian, from 1998-2000,
2) I failed my “A” Levels and repeated in Yr 2000 and made it to Uni eventually! =)
3) I tot i wana share this with my fellow YJCian juniors who may be reading this too.

In fact, I almost failed my promo in Yr 1 but managed to scrape through and went to Yr 2. However, i continued to be lazy, distracted and playful that I ended up getting 2 Fs and 1 E for my “A” Levels in Yr 2000. Man it was like the end of the world then! i cried buckets, my friends (whom I can’t join in Uni) consoled me, and i was actually okay after 30mins of crying~ Haha.. (Which i now call “crying therapy”).
And I knew I had to bounce back fast, register for my repeat in YJC and buck up for the upcoming “A” levels at the end of the year!!

Well it was really tough back then, cynical remarks abt “repeats”, insults like “you should know what~ u studied this before” when we can’t answer a chemistry question, and dealing with the feeling of being “2nd-class citizens”.

We (the repeat-students) therefore form our own peer-support group, to help each other during self-study in the library. We sat in individual cubicles, mugged and ONLY talked when we need help on solving the OMG-so-difficult ten-year series questions! The only break times were water-refilling, toilet-break and lunch break~ (wow i missed the daily dose of Malay food where the auntie would give big chunks of mutton curry, resulting in some bad sore throat the week after! haha.)

Despite these adversities, we saw positivity and marched on, wanting to achieve our goal to pass the “A” levels. We had a couple of dedicated and supportive teachers who did not gave up on us. I still remember Mr Wong (Yih Chong) who taught Physics and Mrs Lim (Sze Cheng) the Chemistry teacher who were so patient coaching us, and encouraged us as well even when they were not our subject teachers-in-charge. Tears welled up as I am typing, as I remember how i relate my incident of being humiliated, to Mrs Lim and she was there listening and taught me everything i need to learn. I was really touched.
As Carl W. Buecher once said:
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

I am glad that I’ve made in it 2001, with average results for me to go into NTU, Materials Engineering. The 4 years were tough, but I pulled through and became a Product Engineer for Medical Devices for the past 5.5 years.
And now…
I am a School Counsellor trainee in a neighborhood school.
That was what I wanted to do, alongside the children in their path of seeking knowledge and identity. Guiding them on the values in life, teaching them about resilience and most importantly, letting them know that there is HOPE in life.

No matter what we do, as long as there is hope and we do not give up on ourselves, we will be good. Whether you become an engineer, an accountant, a lawyer, an actor, a teacher or a counsellor, life can be great if you want it to be.

I do have classmates from YJC, who failed their A-levels but having their own businesses now. Some who repeated but failed a 2nd time, and pursued a diploma in Polytechnic thereafter. What I saw in them is the perseverance and strength, the “NEVER SAY DIE” attitude that helped them pull through.
And back then, we had no counsellors to support us! How fortunate are the students nowadays! =)

Hence, I would like to end off this post with this quote:

“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”                                                               –Napoleon Hill”


What’s on your Bucket List?

Posted: April 14, 2010 in Motivation

I recently did a reflection exercise with all JC1s who didn’t manage to go for the Bintan camp. In the reflection, I asked the students to write down 7 things that they would like on their bucket list and who they would like to share their list with. Some of the responses I got from the students were amusing, some were creative and unexpected and some really touched my heart. So I thought I would like to share some of these responses with you while keeping the identity of the students anonymous of course.

For those of you who don’t know what a bucket list is, it’s derived from a film a couple of years ago starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman titled ‘The Bucket List’. The plot follows the adventures of two terminally ill men who set out on a road trip to complete a number of things on their wish list of ‘to-dos’  before they ‘kick the bucket’ so to speak.  Since the movie was released, it’s kind of sparked a ‘movement’ in America where people started writing their own bucket list and going about fulfilling things on their lists. So check out the movie when you have some time. 🙂

I don’t think it’s morbid to think about our own bucket lists whatever age we may be at. I think when we know what we want to have been able to see or do or experience before we die, then we can really learn to live our lives to the fullest now. What we do now that may seem meaningless or pointless might also begin to take new meaning.

So some of the things that students wrote on their bucket lists include:- sing in front of an audience at least once in a lifetime, donate organs to a stranger when dead, skydiving (don’t mean to brag here but I can check this off my list already…muahaha), build an orphanage (this one really touched my heart), get a Mohawk hairdo, launch a fashion collection, take part in Ninja Warrior, work as a USGS geoscientist, stop cigar production and finish an ironman! A number of students said that they want to start a non-profit organisation for less priviledged children. I was very encouraged because I think sometimes people look at youths in general and assume that youths nowadays are materialistic and inward looking. So these bucket lists really showed me otherwise and showed me that our students can have a compassionate and giving heart.

What would I put on my bucket list? Hmm…I think it would definitely involve seeing Kimura Takuya ‘live’ at some point (see my post on having a crush)…haha. And travel on the Silk Road I think…among many many others. 🙂