Tay Li Ping Celeste

TAY LI PING CELESTE, Class of 2018, Singapore

“Everyone’s academic journey is different and bound to have pockets of turbulence. If you are feeling lost, know that discomfort is not a mental bug but a feature of growth.”

Celeste graduated from HCIS IB Diploma Programme in 2018. She was the Best Delegate of the HCIS Model United Nations and Prize Winner of the Imagining ASEAN Essay Competition in 2018, where her work was later published by the ASEAN Secretariat*. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at the National University of Singapore. 

“I joined HCIS for the IBDP as I wanted a holistic, multidisciplinary and international high school experience. Although my HCIS journey was relatively short, it was definitely instrumental in shaping who I am today. My 2 years there was a transformative experience and it has helped me mature academically, personally and intellectually. Where life requires a leap of faith and a soft landing is never guaranteed, I am beyond grateful for the mentorship I received and the solid group of lifelong friends I made, where our friendship now transcends multiple time zones!

While I love writing and have always had an affinity for books, Linguistics was not a clear choice for me. I had many different ambitions and struggled to find a direction. It was the Theory of Knowledge lessons and key opportunities such as the HCIS Model United Nations and the Imagining ASEAN Essay Competition that harnessed my potential. I then did my Extended Essay on English Language and Literature, where the process further indexed how much I value the cut and thrust of logic and reason in the art of writing. Most importantly, the unyielding support from my friends and teachers at HCIS was pivotal in allowing me to realise that Linguistics is my sandbox and pushed me to pursue my passion at university.

I recently graduated from the University Town College Programme at Tembusu College, National University of Singapore, where I had access to a broad spectrum of learning opportunities across science, technology, and the humanities, resemblant of the IB curriculum. Personally, college life has been both challenging and rewarding in equal amounts. University has also been a space where I discovered the sensuality of stepping out of my comfort zone and had lots of fun in sports and music extracurriculars. I have also embarked on multiple internships both locally and abroad, which has built my confidence in navigating life post-graduation.

Throw away the notion that a perfect report card is the standard playbook for success. I was an average student in my time at HCIS grades-wise. I think it is important to recognise that we do not grow and mature in a linear fashion. We might be advancing in one dimension and not in another. Everyone’s academic journey is different and there are bound to have pockets of turbulence. If you are feeling lost, know that discomfort is not a mental bug but a feature of growth. I have since learnt that it is much more important to synergise your strengths so you can maximise your potential and stake out a path that is right for yourself. Life is a book and there are a thousand pages awaiting you to pen them.”

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