A Brand New Year

I never had a thing for New Year’s resolution. But somewhere along the turbulent year of 2019, I had a change of heart.

Dunman High School

Change is imperative in making progress. As a student in Singapore, I, like many others, go through the gruelling yet rewarding process of change and adapting. My surroundings, while still a school setting, have largely changed since I’ve first stepped into primary school a good decade ago. But here I am, freshly thrusted into the daunting new year faced with perhaps my biggest leap yet – JC.



Well, not exactly JC (Junior College). Being an IP (Integrated Programme) student, I have the fortune of not needing to switch to an entirely different school for my JC education. Here, we call it Senior High. So in all fairness, I will be taking a less impressive leap of change compared to fellow students who have braved the horrific ordeal that was O’levels. They would need to adapt to a whole new campus, all while dealing with the many other changes that come with the entry to JC. While it may not seem like much, these changes are very much overwhelming for me.

The Issue

See, over the course of my Junior High (Sec 1 to 4) journey in Dunman High School, I have led a somewhat insipid, uninteresting life as a chronic underachiever. While my classmates are signing on for research programmes, running for leadership roles and contributing to school in meaningful ways, I have been idling about, doing the bare minimum whenever possible and shying away from anything that seems remotely demanding.

I know that all sounds awful, but honestly, I thought I was getting by just fine, and I was. My grades were fairly decent, I did my share when I had to, and I was content with the way things were. But sometime during my last year in Junior High, I finally had my long-overdue wake-up call.

As I looked around at my schoolmates planning for their futures with a sense of purpose I never once saw in myself, I was suddenly flooded with doubt.

Something needed to change.

But What?

For starters, Dunman High School offers a wealth of opportunities to their students; from research programmes to various leadership roles to the myriad of CCAs (co-curricular activities). One would never run out of things to do here, which is why I so deeply regret huddling up in my own little bubble the past years. I would definitely try putting myself out there more, and making the best out of the many learning opportunities available.The method of studying I have employed over the past years (random energy spikes and frantic last-minute mugging) would not hold up in Senior High (SH) as well. I have heard nothing but horror stories about SH life, on how seeing us on our results slip would be a common occurrence and how studying would come to consume most, if not all of our time.


There’s plenty that I regret, but alas, there is no use dwelling on the past. What matters is right now, so with the beginning of the new year, I intend to embark on my journey of change. I’m a little scared, a little excited, but hey, everyone wants happiness and no one wants pain, but you can’t make a rainbow without a little rain!


To all you students out there, here’s a thing or two to take from this: embrace changes. It’s good to be a little introspective from time to time. Take a step back to look at how you’re doing through an objective lens, and pinpoint areas for improvement. The moment you sense that something is off and needs to be fixed, get on your feet and get to it. Don’t procrastinate your change!

Time is gold, and every second spent dwelling on mistakes is a second wasted. The sooner you get to it, the better. It’s okay to brood once in a while—we’re human after all—but always remember to pick yourself up. Self-help is important for a healthy state of mind!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the face of a big change, brace yourself, but don’t stress yourself! It’s all part and parcel of our journey as lifelong learners. Sometimes it is okay to not have answers. Just go into and I’m sure your heart knows the way, as cliché as it sounds.

This article was brought to you by Ang Qiwen, a Dunman High School Year 5(JC1) student at SNCF for a 1-month work attachment.