Agony Aunt Agatha #4

How do you actually make friends? In this week’s article, we share with you some tips on how to socialise, as well as some ways we stay on task!


I can’t seem to focus and be productive everyday. It seems like I’m so behind compared to everyone else.

First of all, try to determine exactly why you are not being productive. Is it because there are too many distractions around you? Is it because you don’t the energy and motivation at the end of the day to effectively study?

Finding the root cause of the problem is the first step, and finding a way to counter it is the next. Changing things up such as location, putting your phone away, or taking a little nap before getting to work for the evening are some common ways many students help themselves be more productive. Here are a few things that you can pay attention to that might help you out:

  1. Time management and prioritizing is really the most important thing, and there’s a reason the point is always belaboured. It’s easy to neglect revising or even doing your work, pushing it for the next day, the day after, and the day after that, so be sure to set up a schedule for yourself that suits you. It should be at the very least, a day-to-day schedule, if not in hour blocks. Just ensure that you set an effective schedule for yourself to study! This will help you consolidate your learning and prevent everything from snowballing.
  2. Employ friends or even family to help you keep to it if you find yourself neglecting that schedule too. There is absolutely no point having a schedule that you don’t follow!
  3. Make sure that you find your own unique style of studying that works for you, don’t study a certain way just because your friend does! Some people like studying with music. Some people need to be alone. Some people have to be in a classroom environment, and won’t study the moment they get home. Find out what puts you in your most effective studying mood, and work with it. Be honest with yourself too. If it’s not working, it’s time to change it.
  4. If you know you’re busy or you’re not very effective at home, make sure to snatch up every little pocket of time you can to finish even just a few questions from your homework, or to reread those one or two pages from your notes. Even those little pockets of time can be useful, and don’t need to be idled away just because they seem small.
  5. Lastly, never let a question of yours go unanswered. If you can’t find the time right after lecture to ask, ask your friends afterwards or your tutor during tutorials. Write down your questions so you don’t forget, and get an answer as soon as possible, definitely before your next lecture – or you’ll be tripped up and stuck where you first got confused in subsequent lectures! Do not let the issue go. Clarify all your doubts immediately even if it seems small.

In the end, the most important thing is keeping your goals in mind. Set your goals clearly in your mind and work out a concrete plan towards them. Don’t give up! A negative mind is the last thing you want. Stay motivated, stay curious, stay positive, because when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Best of luck!
Aunt Agatha! Its April already and I haven’t found a legit “clique” to stick to in class. I feel like I’m drifting between groups of people. I know it’s good to mix around but I need a sense of security that I think comes with a group of friends that’s there for u… HOW TO DECIDE    

There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting a group of friends to stick to for security reasons! Something to consider before jumping into that kind of commitment, though – these people are going to be the friends you will likely be sticking to for the next two years, that you may even know for life. So be very careful who you choose to spend your time with – be sure that they will be worth it, and that they will be the influence you would want in your life.

One good way to decide where to go is to envision yourself in the future with them – really just imagine a day in that life, and decide if it’s something you can do for two years or more. Consider that:

  1. You get along with every person. The last thing anybody wants is intra-clique drama! Ensure that you can get along well with everyone, and that you don’t just like a few of them, but secretly have difficulty getting along with the rest. Ensure that they want you as much as you want them!
  2. Be sure that you have similar morals and values, or even if they differ a little, that you can accept one another and live with one another like that. Often, these are the dealbreakers or dealmakers in any form of friendship or relationship.
  3. Ensure that you share some passions and interests, while at the same time having some different ones. This will allow you to bond well with them while at the same time learning more about one another to keep the friendships growing!
  4. Try to have different strengths and weaknesses! This way you can support and help one another when necessary, and while it’s better to fall together than alone, it’s also best not to fall at all.
  5. Be honest with yourself – do these people really fit you? Do they vibe well with you? If they are fun, make sure they are also safe. If they push you out of your comfort zone, make sure that they don’t make you uncomfortable either. Choose the people that you know will both accept you as you are and bring out the best in you, not necessarily the people that make you feel the ‘coolest’, etc.

In the end, just remember, friendships are relationships too – they require commitment, mutual acceptance, and effort to work out, even if you just ‘click’. Nonetheless, also remember that even if there is a group of people you can be found with most often, you should still always stay on good terms and interact with everyone. We’re one big family here at EJ. Best of luck with finding your people!

I scored really badly in the recent tests 😦 I need some motivation   

Don’t fret over it. It is only a test, right? This test does not count towards the eventual goal, which is A levels. There are still many more chances for you to prove yourself! Besides, one test doesn’t define you! Make sure that you troubleshoot the reasons why you did badly. But most importantly, stay positive and just study regularly and you’ll be fine! Lastly, here are some quotes I’ll leave you with, just to brighten up your day:

A satisfied life is better than a successful life. Because our success is measured by others. But our satisfaction is measured by our own Soul, Mind and Heart

Forget all the reasons why it wont work and believe the one reason why it will!

Your’s Truly,

Aunt Agatha

Agony Aunt Agatha #3

I like a guy but I can’t tell if he likes me back. Are there any signs to look out for?

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize relationships as a serious commitment that requires the effort of two individuals in order to have a chance at success, especially at this age, so be careful when ensuring that the both of you know what you’re both in for and intending for before you go too far! But here are a handful of small tips to notice if he’s noticing you back:

  1. He finds all sorts of random ways to communicate with you, such messaging you to ask for homework help although the assignment is only due 2 weeks later.
  2. He seems to break into a smile particularly when he’s around you, and only you.
  3. He shows a lot of concern for you and seems very conscious of your presence.
  4. He compliments you and makes a lot of eye contact with you.
  5. He tries to get your attention, be it by poking fun at you or showing off something that he is good at.

Good luck, and if all else fails, just ask him directly instead of sitting in suspense!


I didn’t sign up for house cap/council but I still want to be part of organising school events and being more involved in school but I’m not sure if that’s possible. I’m not sure what to do or who to approach.

I’m sure the school would truly commend you for commitment and interest in serving the school, and I’d like to assure you that leadership certainly doesn’t stop at these official titles but extends beyond boundaries into your everyday life. Don’t worry, there will always be opportunities to help out so long as you look out for them, and even if you aren’t spearheading events committees, the school is always looking out for student input. Just don’t be afraid to step up and share your ideas for whichever areas you feel you can help out with.

Firstly, your CCA. You can run for a leadership position, for which you can ask your respective CCA teachers for more details on the duties of the different roles

Secondly, you can also sign up to be an OGL to help the new batch of J1s to feel welcomed and integrate them into the new JC environment next year.

Thirdly, take this year to prove your capabilities to your class and when the next year comes around, you can volunteer to be a part of the class committee. Roles such as class chairperson, vice-chairperson, and house representative are particularly involved in school activities such as college day.

Fourthly, whether during house interaction times or even with just your own class’s house rep, don’t be afraid to share your ideas, help out, or offer to get more involved in programmes and initiatives being shared.

These are just a few simple ways that you can get involved in school and school events; be sure to also look out for more opportunities that pop up in your EJC email, and if you have any questions, I’m sure you can feel free to approach our Student Leadership and Talent Management Head of Department Mrs. Brigette Koh, your civics tutor, or any respective teacher in the department of your interest, especially if you have anything particular in mind or even if you’re just seeking more concrete opportunities and offers. Best of luck in your search!


I’m really stressed out! I can’t seem to fit into EJC. I miss secondary school so much this is so difficult for me

We must admit that JC life can be stressful, with seemingly endless worksheets due and tests coming up. No one said that it was going to be easy or safe. I’m sure that a lot of us miss our secondary schools dearly, from the wonderful friendships we’ve forged, to the amazing teachers who spoon-feed us with notes and nuggets of knowledge. Going into JC is like how you went from primary school to secondary school. Difficult at first, even in the first few months, but you learn to settle and find a place for yourself. Keep catching up with your old friends, but don’t forget to spend time with your new ones. You will gradually grow and find a routine and place that you’re comfortable with, so in the stages before that happens, take it easy, find things you enjoy, and try to look for the little things in JC that make you feel less stressed. You can always approach your CG tutor or any of your subject teachers to talk about your worries and I can guarantee that they will give you valuable advice as well.


I don’t understand why we have so few cca and no clubs compared to other schools. I was looking forward to joining things that like astronomy club/young diplomats. Thinking of starting a club but I don’t know how to and I’m scared people won’t join.

Besides have quite a hectic schedule in general, EJC is quite a new school and we haven’t had the time nor do we have many resources or manpower required to run so many new CCAs and clubs popping up so quickly. Nonetheless, if there is something you are passionate about, don’t be afraid to take things into your own hands! Many of our current CCAs are student initiated, such as Ultimate Frisbee, Art Club, and Environmental Club. For example, Aretha Wan and Faith Seah, the founders of Art Club, saw that EJC did not have an art club but wanted to help make EJC more vibrant as well as develop the artistic passions of non Art Students through this CCA, and hence proposed the establishment of the Art Club CCA, which eventually passed and is what it is today.

Therefore, if you’d like to start a club, I’d suggest firstly thinking carefully about what kind of club you’d like to establish as well as the kind of activities, etc., that it would encompass. For an idea of the numbers interested in joining, you can create a Google Forms and share them around your friends and classes to see how well-received the idea is. From there, there is a New CCA Proposal form that you can fill in and apply to establish. For more information, as well as for consultation before you send in your proposal, we advise you to speak to the teacher-in-charge of CCA, Mr. Charles Cheak. Good luck on following your passions, and don’t be afraid to take the first step!

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

Agony Aunt Agatha #1

Hi Eunoians!

Ever thought about where you can obtain advice for your personal problems? Have no fear because Aunt Agatha is here! Agony Aunt Agatha (AAA) is a new column on the Origin* that offers personal advice to those who ask questions via the link:

The platform is curated by members of the Origin and our CCA teacher. Without further ado, let us begin!

Question: What do I do when I have a group mate who doesn’t help out with graded group work at all? How do I get him to do stuff without giving a wrong impression? Should I just ignore it? Is there a need to tell a teacher about this?

Aunt Agatha: The common solution you might hear from others is to set deadlines. But personally, I feel deadlines are just scratching the surface of what one can do. Firstly, make sure the appointed group leader constantly reminds members of the upcoming deadlines. It’s easy to miss a internal group deadline amidst your test schedules. If this becomes a habit, what’s the use of deadlines?  Secondly, decide as a group what the consequences will entail should anybody miss the internally set deadlines. Perhaps this guilty fellow would have to loan his/her house for the next 5 project work meetings? If deadlines do nothing to spur on your group mate, you have two options. The first would be to continue working on the project with your other group members as if nothing happened, hence leaving the uncooperative fellow out. If all goes well, this fellow would eventually feel the guilt and start to chip in. The second option would be to find out what exactly is hindering the individual. Maybe it’s CCA commitments? Family issues? Disdain towards the chosen topic? Whatever it is, get to the root of the problem. If the problem happens to be heavy CCA commitments, allocate the work such that the group members cover for the individual during his/her busy periods. Then, allocate more work to that individual once the CCA commitment is over. The third option would be to take the unpleasant route and approach a teacher for help. Personally, this should be the last resort because it could permanently damage the group dynamics (when PW has barely started) as the uncooperative fellow might feel slighted that you went behind his/her back. Since group dynamics could literally make or break your PW grade, do your best to resolve disputes internally. Meanwhile good luck!

QuestionI like someone but they’re from a different class, different CCA and different house. How do I keep interacting with them?

Aunt Agatha: At this point it could feel like there is no reason for both parties to communicate because of the complete lack of commonalities between you which,  I myself will admit, makes it very hard to find a starting ground for interaction. Nevertheless, you might still have mutual friends and, chances are, you’ll be seeing them along the corridors and during breaks and all that. Start small, and make it a point to be friendly with them whenever you see them – a casual hey, the usual greetings. Try to expand your social circle and participate in more school activities and you may just get lucky. However, do keep in mind that you still have to manage your school work on top of other personal commitments. If you have the opportunity to socialise, snatch it up, but at the same time don’t throw yourself into it too much – maintain a balance and focus on the rest of your life. Don’t preoccupy yourself with “chasing” them. Be realistic. If it doesn’t work out, don’t be discouraged – keep them as eye candy and pursue other things that make you truly happy. It might have just been a one-off infatuation. 

Thank you for reading! Continue to send me your questions at:

Yours Truly,

Agony Aunt Agatha