Agony Aunt Agatha #2

Question: As part of the Class Committee, how do I get my class to be more involved? We’ve tried to plan bonding activities but they never seem to become a reality. Should I even bother?

First of, congrats on being chosen as part of the Class Committee; it is hard to gain the trust and support of your classmates that quickly. When thinking about class bonding, it is easy to get swept up into thinking about planning large scale activities such as beach outings, barbecues etc. However, I feel that starting small by organising activities like lunches instead of large scale activities might be a better option for convenience. Lunches are a good way to bond as majority of your classmates would have to stay back in school for CCAs. Furthermore, it’s your chance to take advantage of EJ’s close proximity to Ghim Moh and Star Vista. Have everyone buy their own food and have a picnic at Star Vista’s rooftop garden or at Ghim Moh’s sheltered areas.  Also, remember that a less enthusiastic class doesn’t equate to an unbonded class. Every class has its own dynamics depending on the type of people in it. Good luck!

 

Question: JC is so much more stressful than secondary school 😦 Any tips on how to manage my time?

I’ll skip the usual cliche solutions (planning monthly schedules, checklists, keeping homework diaries, calendars, don’t fall asleep during class etc.) and move on to the essentials. Firstly, make use of your travelling time to read your notes. For many of us, school is probably a good 40-60 minute journey back home by public transport. This time is precious. Many of us, including myself, have been guilty of spending it watching YouTube videos and playing Temple Run. But, this is actually the best time to catch up on reading your lecture notes because it means you can immediately start doing tutorials once you get back home. That’s almost an hour you can save! Secondly, stop trying to prevent yourself from sleeping in class. Instead, try changing your diet to include foods with a low glycemic index. (For the non-science students, foods with a low glycemic indexes are broken down at a slower rate, preventing spikes in your sugar level which is the main culprit of post-lunch snoozing!) So load up on the sweet potatoes, vegetables and juices! Thirdly, get enough sleep. This is an understated tip on time management. A lack of sleep results in a vicious cycle whereby one falls asleep in class and ends up having to pull an all-nighter to catch up on the content missed. Your health is important. Don’t skimp on your sleep. Good luck!

 

Question: I’m a JAE student and I have troubles fitting in with my class. My class is really cliquey and I’m sort of an introvert so it’s hard for me to talk to them. How do I start conversations and make friends?

Let me tell you that you’re not alone in this problem! There are a number of JAE students in EJ and I’m sure that at some point in time they must have felt the same. Coming to a school made up largely of IP students who have known each other for years is daunting enough to make any individual go weak at the knees. From personal experience, asking about schoolwork is a good way to start a conversation. Sometimes when you are sitting with your peers during assembly, starting some small talk may help break the ice. If these ‘cliques’ decide to go to Ghim Moh or Star Vista to hang out, pluck up the courage to join them. It’s ok to remain silent throughout the lunch if you don’t feel comfortable sharing anything, but if topics you are passionate in surface during the lunch, share your thoughts and views. This way your classmates can get to know you a little more and perhaps include you in more of their conversations. Showcasing your talents at the right time is also a good way to gain some attention and perhaps make more friends. Lastly, give it time. It’s only April! Your class still has many more months left together. As the year proceeds and JC life gets tougher, your class will slowly grow closer through difficult times during which you guys will really need to come together as a class to conquer your obstacles.

 

Question: My friend has been complaining about the heavy workload in JC and how he cannot cope with the stress. But he isn’t exactly trying to cope either, he doesn’t really pay attention in lectures or tutorials. What can I do to help him?

I must say, what a thoughtful friend you really are to care so much about your schoolmate! I feel that your friend fails to realise that he isn’t alone in this matter of facing stress in JC. Try explaining to him that every single student around him is facing the same problem and that the only difference lies in the coping mechanism one has to deal with stress. Lay out the options for coping with stress in front of him. This could entail visiting our school counselor, picking up a side hobby like Judo to release all the stress on etc. If both of you are really close friends, I suggest having a heart-to-heart talk with him about his behaviour and try to understand why he is acting this way. Maybe he has other reasons for not paying attention in lectures or tutorials, and if that’s the case, do not put it upon your shoulders to solve his problems. Leave that to the professionals or a teacher. It may not be easy in getting someone who is unmotivated to be motivated enough to start being productive, but do not give up and remind him that you all have a common goal, be it to get promoted to J2, or even getting 90 rank points for A levels. All the best!

Your’s Truly,

Aunt Agatha

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With great power comes great responsibility.

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