“When I first joined HCIS back in 2009, I was just a kid sent to a new school and to be honest the only thing I was excited about was that my uniform looked more like casual wear than school uniform. My mom knew that the traditional education system was one that did not suit me (read: I disliked studying and was not meeting the expectations of my tiger mom) and decided to explore an alternative, and ultimately decided to put her trust in what was then a very new school and a somewhat unknown curriculum. Essentially, I was a 13-year-old joining a school that was younger than I was (sounds crazy now that I think about it). But in hindsight, my mom’s decision was and is perhaps one the most pivotal and important moments in my life.
What made my 6 years unique not only to me but my peers is that HCIS was (perhaps still is) a very young school — we were given the honour to create and be part of a legacy. I was part of the first batch of International Baccalaureate Foundation (IBF) class and I would like to think we turned out more than fine. During our IBF days, my classmates and I were given a lot more freedom to plan events, explore our interests and we were given the chance to lead our cohort in a community service trip to Malaysia. It was also the same year that we got to take part in the planning of our school’s official opening.
Throughout my time at HCIS, as I was growing into my own person, HCIS too was finding its own place (quite literal to a certain extent, we expanded our campus). HCIS became a safe space for me to fail — and I mean it in the best kind of way — and each trial and tribulation were just stepping stones to success (cliché, I know). I remember feeling quite dejected when I ran for Student Council Presidency back in 2012 but it taught me how to take failures in my stride. I decided to try again the following year and I was elected President of the Student Council.
As my confidence grew throughout the years, somehow, I naturally began to excel in my studies as well — I ended up receiving multiple book prizes and scholarships. I have to credit the teachers who have taught me along the way, they saw the potential in me before I could see it myself. So, thank you! My 13-year-old self, stepping foot into HCIS with much trepidation on the very first day of school would not have imagine that I would end up graduating with multiple accolades and scholarships under my belt.
I have so many fond memories of my time in HCIS. The more exciting ones would be the international trips with my classmates. If not for HCIS, I would never have gotten a chance to visit South Africa. It was during these trips that the students and teachers got to see one another more than the roles we play within the confines of a classroom. The wonderful times that I had with friends will always be cherished.
I have always wanted to pursue law but right up to the point of accepting NUS’s offer, I thought I would be reading Law in
the UK. When I first applied to NUS Law, I was sure that I would not qualify on two grounds: (1) I did not have the required second language requirement that NUS needed and (2) my IB grades were just not enough to qualify for the highly sought-after Law programme. But nonetheless, I applied and I got in. Fun fact, I am part of a small percentage of students who were offered discretionary admission due to my leadership and community service experiences, all of which would not have been possible without the opportunities afforded by HCIS and/or the IB curriculum. In the grand scheme of things, I guess everything worked out well for me.
Prior to graduating, I took some time off from University to pursue my interest in media and entertainment. I got to spend a year at NBCUniversal’s Legal and Business Affairs team — home of Jurassic Park, Minions, E!, Friends and Brooklyn 99 (just to name a few). Earlier in April this year, I got called to the bar as an Advocate & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore and I am currently a practicing lawyer at a mid-sized law firm.
A piece of unsolicited advice, don’t take yourselves too seriously. If you fall, and you will, it’s not the end of the world, learn to laugh at yourself, pick yourself up, and walk it off… Oh! and don’t study law.”
If you are an HCIS graduate and would like to share your story with us, please contact us for our submission guidelines.