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The artistic and disciplined learner

Eugene is a disciplined learner who has a passion for the Arts. A committed and dedicated member of phDrama, Eugene enjoys acting and he also has a flair for drawing. He is also a well-rounded student, helping his CCA clinch the Gold Award in the 2015 Singapore Youth Festival Drama Presentation. PHS Publications had the chance to catch up with Eugene recently, and here are his thoughts:

1.      Congratulations on your stellar results, Eugene! How did you feel when you received your results?

I was ecstatic. I’ve always held high expectations for myself, so the few days before results day were particularly torturous. Anxiety was inevitable but I did not expect myself to have been so frazzled by the thought of receiving my results slip.

2.     Tell us about your choice of tertiary institution and the CCA you wish to pursue.

I am now studying at Hwa Chong Institution and I plan to join the Art Club. Drawing is one of the hobbies that I grew up with but I didn’t have the time to focus on as I had many other commitments to juggle with. Therefore, I wish to hone my drawing skills by joining the club.  

3.     Do you have any future plans?

I’m still unsure of what I want to be in the future, but I’m currently considering doing a business-related course in university. I also want to become more involved in some community programmes as well.

4.     Is there any particular person or group that you would like to thank?

I’m very thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to excel. I think my spiritual faith has really helped me through some tough times.

I’m also immensely grateful to all my teachers who have helped me along my journey in PHS. In particular, Ms Tan, Ms Hoh, Ms Tang, Mr Tan, Ms Lim, Mr Chandra and Mrs Anthony. They have all helped me a lot along the way. I’m touched that they all had the patience to bear with me and help me become a better person.

Last but not least, my friends have all been incredible companions. They all played a large part in making my school life eventful and they have also been there for me at times when I needed support.

5.     What was the most difficult struggle you faced in your time at PHS and how did you overcome it?

Mathematics has always been my weakest subject for as long as I could remember. In fact, opting for Additional Mathematics was a choice I made only because it was a prerequisite to taking OISE Economics in Secondary 3. Expectedly, I had a tough time coping with the two subjects. Apart from my weak foundation, I was incredibly slow at picking up new concepts which meant I often fell behind the class in terms of assignment. This worried me a lot.

My struggle could not have been overcome if it wasn’t for my Math teacher as well as my classmates. Ms Tang, while strict, was an amazing teacher who changed my view on mathematics. Her constant emphasis on the virtue of hard work in such an application-based subject like Mathematics inspired me to practice intensively. After class, I would often message and call my classmates for help on solutions I couldn’t understand or get. My efforts paid off and I improved tremendously by the preliminary examinations. 

6.     You were a member of the Drama Club. How did you manage to balance your CCA with the academic         demands of the O levels?

There is a common misconception that CCAs under performing arts aren’t as gruelling as sports CCAs. The stress involved could be overwhelming at times, especially when competitions such as the Singapore Youth Festival were around the corner. Practice sessions can stretch to four times a week.

To keep my health (both physical and mental) in check, I had to manage my time properly. I stayed on track and made sure to clarify any doubts I had with my teachers as soon as possible, so that these lingering questions wouldn’t come back to haunt me when I had to do my work during my more intensive CCA periods.

There was also a need to relax, lest I burn out. In my spare time, I found myself drawing a lot, surfing the internet and hanging out with friends - they were strong motivations for me to push on in the face of adversity as well.

7.     During your time in PHS, you had the opportunity to participate in multiple school trips overseas.             What is your biggest takeaway from these overseas trips?

The world is a big place. Immersing myself in an environment with a multitude of students of various ages was a very humbling experience that reminded me of how different we can be.

8.    Lastly, do you have any advice for your PHS juniors?

There is no “right” studying method. You’d usually hear people talk about writing notes and drawing mind-maps. As a matter of fact, I’ve virtually never made notes myself and I rarely draw mind-maps. The thing is, people digest information and learn differently.

Cherish your time and friends in school. Academics are fairly important but having a life solely focused on mugging mindlessly will make you miserable. Apart from teachers, friends are probably the best sources of information and advice you can find in school. Keep them close to you - the memories made with them are what truly make school life memorable. These people can change your life and perspectives in ways you cannot imagine.