AAA #19

In this extremely festive issue, Agony Aunt Agatha discusses about adopting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, as well as juggling commitments and schoolwork. Just in time for the new year!

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)

How to tell my friends to stop using plastics and disposables without being annoying? 


Hiya! Thank you so much for sending in your question. It is always good to be environmentally conscious and looking out for our planet, especially when multiple articles have been stating that human civilisation will start crumbling by the year 2050! Here are some tips which might help you in successfully convincing your friends to adopt a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle!


Step #1. Do you know the consequences?

This is an easy way to convince people to listen to you. Tell them about the future of our planet and the environment if we do not start becoming more environmentally responsible. Tell them about how Singapore’s landfills will be used up entirely in a couple of years. Show them the facts: scientific articles about the impending irreversible damage to the Earth. Engage their imagination by recommending movies which depict a dystopian future where the ecosystem has disintegrated.

For instance, imagine that being a world in which we would live to see. Birth defects increasing due to pollution, and animals such as polar bears and koalas becoming another picture in a vintage children’s storybook, or a tacky old koala souvenir with the fur barely clinging on. You wouldn’t want those cute little creatures to go extinct, would you?


“P is for polar bear.” 

What’s a polar bear?

“It’s a white bear… which used to roam lands made entirely of ice and snow…”

Lands of ice and snow?   


Step #2. Subtle hints.

Gently encourage them to choose options which are better for the environment, or remind them of such options. Here are some suggestions:

Perhaps, if your friend asks if they should get a drink, suggest that the water cooler is both an environmentally-friendlier option and a healthier one too. (Occasionally, though, we all want a cool drink, so you can always suggest recycling the bottle instead!)

Before heading for lunch, you could remind them to bring their reusable cutlery along, if they own them.  If you’re helping them to buy food, ask if they need straws/cutlery/sauce packets, so that you only take what’s necessary.

Remind them that recycling bins exist, and should definitely be used to dispose that drink can that they just finished. Make recycling bins the new trash can. That is, after washing their recyclables.

Get them a really cute tote bag as a gift, then set an example by using yours when you purchase something with them (Of course, don’t make a habit of buying too many, or you might become the very thing you swore to destroy. The carbon footprint of a tote bag is 172 times that of a plastic bag, and it would sure be a waste if you didn’t use your tote bags to their maximum potential.)

Since we’re on the topic of ‘green’ reusables, while metal straws (complete with multiple straws for bubble tea, bent straws, and a brush) may look cool and trendy, their impact on the environment may be less than desirable, due to the environmental impacts of metal production. An alternative would be bamboo straws, or even simply drinking straight from the cup.

Ultimately, try to get them to make a habit of being environmentally friendly, even if they don’t truly understand or appreciate the reason behind it. Many of these actions are small enough that they can be incorporated into our daily lives without us having to think twice about it.


Step #3. Are you serious?

Finally, if all of these tips do not work, it is clear that your friends are simply not interested in doing their part in saving Planet Earth. Such a shame! It seems like the future appears so far away for them, and they will not be doing anything anytime soon. For friends like them, strict measures must take place. Take away their plastic spoons so that they will have to enjoy their hot soup with a fork. Steal their plastic and metal straws from their cups and tell them the wind blew it away. Forfeit their rights of using plastic bags, and–

Engaging in the above set of actions might establish your reputation as a prankster, but if that’s how it has to be, make sure your environmental cause rings louder than the laughter of disbelief at your transformation.  After all, climate change is certainly no joke.

If all fails, here is our very last piece of advice.


Step #4. Step in.

Acknowledge the fact that it would be hard for your friends to immediately quit using disposable items and plastic goods. Instead, encourage them to recycle, and influence your friends to do so by recycling in front of them. After they have finished a bottled drink, take the bottle from them and put it in the recycling bin after washing it clean. Although it may be troublesome in the beginning, it may not take too long before your friends start heading to the sink to wash their bottles and disposable containers before dropping them into the recycling bins. Make recycling a fashionable trend among your classmates!


“You recycle? That’s so fetch!” (This time, “fetch” may become a thing, you know.)


Even if you’re truly unable to convince your friends to avoid using disposables, it’s good that you are doing your part for the environment. Don’t get discouraged; your good intentions will pay off!


I’m part of the ori comm next year. My promo results aren’t very good and I really need to improve next yr. But since I’m part of ori, I’ll be very busy and I don’t know how to find time to study for March Common Tests (MCTs). Pls help! 

Thank you for sending in your question. Being part of the Orientation committee next year definitely means there’ll be exciting times ahead! To help you be prepared for MCTs, our plan for you comprises  2 phases – consolidating J1 work and catching up with missed assignments in J2.


Phase 1: Consolidate

Being familiar with J1 work will save you time next year by setting a strong foundation for you to learn J2 stuff. With about 1 month of holidays left, we believe that this would be a good time for you to review your J1 work and catch up on areas to improve. Start opening up your files and go through your old lecture notes and tutorials. If you have the time, you can even consider redoing your promo papers, under timed conditions.

Do you have an organiser or journal? Perhaps it’s time for you to open it up and create a study plan that best suits your learning style (there are many articles online to help you with that, but let’s not digress here). In our opinion, about one and a half hours to 2 hours dedicated to studying a subject is sufficient. For each study session, set a few goals for yourself. Such goals could be completing one Physics practice paper, writing out a set of notes for Maclaurin series. Whatever your goals are, keep them realistic and specific.

While you’re studying, you’re bound to face distractions. Perhaps your phone would ring because your friend just sent you a meme via Whatsapp, or you feel the urge to check Instagram…there are just so many distractions out there. To improve your concentration for maximum productivity, try turning off notifications on your phone and maybe consider using apps like Freedom to block out social media websites.

While catching up on J1 content is important, don’t forget to spend time with your family and friends and relax before the J2 grind begins!


Phase 2: Catch Up

Being part of Orientation would mean that you’ll be skipping lots of lectures and tutorials, which is why Phase 2 is all about catching up with new content. Be sure to collect your tutorials and lecture notes from your classmates every other day, rather than at the end of Orientation, so that you will have enough time to revise. Set aside some time each day to at least read the notes. Make full use of the school’s lecture replay system to watch the lectures you’ve missed and take notes. In addition to that, you can consider putting together a question bank to ask your subject tutor during consultations.

During the weekends when you don’t have to partake in orientation activities,you can meet up with your classmates to go through the lesson materials.

Being involved in Orientation is a test of your time management. While it’ll be tiring, once you find your footing, you should be able to manage your studies alongside this commitment. We hope our advice will help you do so. All the best!


Vent your problems to Agony Aunt Agatha here and see you next year in the next issue!

AAA #18

To be friends or not to be friends, that is the question.

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)


I have been very close to someone since last year, and soon I realised I’ve kinda fallen for her. But since the year started we’ve been talking less and less and less, because of school work and stuff. Now it’s the exam period, and I’m a bit sad that we don’t talk as much/are not as close anymore. What can I do about it? And should I confess eventually after A levels? I do want this friendship to stay but I’m afraid it isn’t mutual and it all becomes awkward and I lose this friendship.


Thank you for sending in your question! I hope that my advice will help you out, and that I didn’t take too long.  

Now that the exam period is coming to an end, I believe this would be a good time for you to step up and try to make more effort in interacting with her. Make it a habit to say a simple, “hello!” with a smile and a friendly wave when you see her in school. There is this saying that goes a little something like, “out of sight, out of mind”, so do make sure you make yourself be seen by her if you would like to stay on her mind. If you don’t feel as close to her anymore, make efforts to share more words with her! Did she post something interesting on her Instagram story? Ask her about that. Did she change her haircut? Talk to her about it. Did she wear colourful socks that day?

“Hey, I like your socks! I would never be able to pull them off… It suits you.” 

Just making simple conversations such as these will immediately make a person feel more connected and closer to you as these take place frequently. Don’t worry about feeling distant, it is nothing bad. As long as you did not do anything which may spoil the relationship or make her have a bad impression on you, there is nothing which may hinder you from closing up this distance between you both. 

About confessing your feelings to her, this is something which we cannot really give you a straight-forward answer to. Who knows? She may actually also have feelings for you. But we understand; if she does not share the same emotions, she may feel awkward around you and choose to cut you off. So instead of deciding for you if you should confess or not, here are a few tips! 

Tip #1. Read her body language. Does she make eye contact with you constantly during the conversation? Are both her feet pointing towards you? Does she play with her hair and hands a lot when she is talking to you? When you are sitting in a group and someone says a funny joke, does she turn to look at you first? (This really works; if someone is interested in you, they tend to look at you for your reactions first.) Does she make any physical contact with you (e.g. a nudge on the back, a slap on the arm and so on) when you are talking to her? Most of these actions are involuntary and they happen naturally, so they are quite reliable in finding out if anyone is interested in you. 

Tip #2. Look at the quality of your interaction. Does she ask any further questions to make the conversation last longer? Is she enthusiastic in her interactions? Has she ever asked you about your day? If she ever asks about you and your life, and she seems enthusiastic in it, it means she is making an effort to know more about you. And we can all agree, not many people will try to know more about a person whom they are not interested in. 

Tip #3. Just be yourself (as cliche as it sounds) and don’t try to do anything which you normally won’t do. Don’t concoct a fake, idealistic image of yourself for her unless you are committed enough to make sure this persona lasts for the entirety of the relationship. You became friends with her because she enjoyed your company, so don’t feel like being yourself is not enough.  

Finally, weigh all the possible consequences. If you do confess, she may share the same feelings towards you, and you may be able to start a new relationship. If she rejects it, the worst thing that may happen is that the relationship becomes awkward and you may lose her friendship. If you do not confess, you may be able to continue this relationship as friends but yet may regret losing the opportunity for the longest period of time. Furthermore, if you feel distant from her during the exam period in JC, are you sure you can frequently interact with her even after graduation? You may go to different institutions, and things may get harder from there. It depends on how important this current relationship with her is to you. 

To share some last words to wrap it all up, don’t push yourself and force yourself to do things that you do not want to do. It seems like you have been having an internal struggle with yourself, and we hope these further tips and advice have helped you in making the final decision. Whatever the final decision may be, we wish you nothing but the best and hope that you have made a choice that you won’t regret. Thank you for sending in your concerns once again, Agony Aunt Agatha’s got your back!


I used to be friends with a person from my OG but I realized that the person has proven to be a rather shady friend for the past year. Sometimes she doesn’t return money or worksheets she borrows from me, despite me reminding her a few times. She can be quite malicious with her words at times (especially about non-Chinese and LGBT people) and I don’t feel comfortable about it. I want to distance myself from her but at the same time, I don’t want to hurt her feelings. What do I do? 


I am sorry to hear what you have been going through. It is never easy dealing with what you are facing right now. While it is heartening to hear that you do not wish to hurt this person, distancing yourself will definitely cause a certain degree of damage to the both of you. I think it would be wise to consider if distancing yourself from your friend is what you need to do right now. Regarding the difficulties you have been facing, perhaps you can try to be more firm when asking for your things back from her and tell her that those things are important to you. Do not rule out the possibility that she considers returning things a trivial matter, so put your foot down and correct this possible misunderstanding. When it comes to the malicious words, telling her that you don’t feel comfortable is the best solution. Despite that, try to keep an open mind and have an open discussion to overcome preconceived prejudices. Perhaps, over time, both of you can grow together to become better people. Losing this friendship may be something you regret in the future, so I encourage you to try and patch things up. 

That being said, if you have your mind made up about this situation or have tried every possible way to fix your relationship with the person but to no avail, then there are two ways you can consider in order to distance yourself from this person. 

Firstly, you can try a more subtle method and slowly distance yourself from the person. You should adopt a disinterested attitude when interacting with her or appear less invested in this friendship and she will most likely be able to pick up the hint and act accordingly. Over time, the two of you will drift apart and distance will be created. 

The other method is to tell the person plainly how you feel. You should tell her that you think your friendship with her is coming to a phase where you are no longer certain that it is worth maintaining and that it is best if the two of you went your separate ways. Nevertheless, you should maintain a neutral tone when delivering this message. 

Imagine, if you will, the second method as ripping off a bandaid and the first method as slowly peeling the bandaid off. Well, it seems like you have a decision to make and many things to consider. Regardless of your decision, I wish you good luck.           


Vent your problems to Agony Aunt Agatha here and see you in our next issue!

Agony Aunt Agatha #14

My good friend got into a relationship with a guy a month ago. Now, she rarely interacts with me and the other people in our circle of friends because she spends most of her time with her bf. I feel hurt because of this. Any advice?


It seems like your friend is in a loving relationship with her new boyfriend! Who wouldn’t want to spend their time with their loved one? This would especially be so as we are all students, hence our schedules are restricted and we can’t meet whenever we want, wherever we want. As hard as it may be for you, for the meantime, I think the acceptance of this situation from your part is crucial. It is completely normal for someone to feel jealousy at those who are, in a way, “stealing” our good friends from us; it seems like their priorities changed, and they don’t deem us to be as important as they did in the past, and it may even seem as if…as if we were not close friends to begin with. Although this is how you would perceive this situation, I believe your good friend may not think as such. In her perspective, she may want to spend more time with her boyfriend as she has constantly been hanging out with you and your other friends, and she may be doing this to make up for the lost time. In her eyes, she may not be able to spot the dissatisfaction and tension that is building up in your relationship with her as she does not know how her actions are affecting you. Hence, acceptance is necessary; accept the fact that she now has a plus-one, and as this relationship is still a relatively new one, she may want to spend more time exploring and enjoying this sensation. 


I understand it would be hard to accept her situation like I stated above, so if you really feel neglected and not given enough attention from her, I think speaking out is also a good option. I do not mean confrontation, oh no, but instead a heart-to-heart talk where you tell her the way she has been treating you and your group of friends lately and how the lack of time she invests in you nowadays is upsetting you. Discuss the matter with her and maybe even offer a few suggestions, e.g. 


“How about we meet during break, and you can meet up with him after?” 


“How about we all sit together? We never got the chance to interact with him at all!” 


“Please, we haven’t seen you all week! I know you want to spend time with him, but we all want to hangout with you, too.” 


If all of these things don’t work, don’t fret. Once the relationship becomes stable and there is enough trust and bond between the two of them, she will most likely come back to you and your friends and everything will be peachy again. Please do not feel hurt and disappointed over this matter, for there are other pressing issues which may concern you a great deal more. Like, global warming. Or the fact that America will be choosing a new President soon. Or how plastic straws only account for 0.03% of pollution in the ocean, yet people are still telling us to use a metal straw although using a metal straw will lead to more harm to the environment. On a more serious note, please do not let these issues affect your mood. Your friends certainly won’t be happy with their significant partner if they see you feeling down because of their relationship.


Save the turtles!


How do I improve my GP? I’m damn screwed for GP myes, didn’t even finish paper 2 and probably wrote out of point for my paper 1 essay.


Hello, thank you for sending in this question. Sadly, if we knew the answer and solution to this issue, we all won’t be wearing a frown on our faces too. GP is such an unpredictable paper, where the content is not given to us in a presentation slide format which we can all binge-read on, yet the scope of this subject is so broad that we cannot simply never be prepared enough to consistently do well in this subject. However, this tricky nature of this subject may help us in understanding how to tackle it with ease and get that “A” which we are all craving for. 


  1. Expect the unexpected: Never think that the questions will all be similar. The topics which they are testing on us may be similar, but the questions may not be the same. They may be asking about a whole new section under this topic, or have very specific requirements in the question itself which have to be addressed entirely. Hence, expose yourself to a variety of questions!
  2. Stock up: We may have avoided reading newspapers and finding out more about the world around us for the last few years, but it is unavoidable now that we are taking GP as a subject. Read the newspapers and keep a keen eye out for any current affairs or events which may prove to be valuable sources to be incorporated in your future GP essays. Remember, the more knowledgeable you are, the more you can flaunt your skills on paper, so read whenever you can!
  3. Train yourself: You can be educated under the finest teachers in the world, but if you have no will and determination to step up and constantly improve on one’s self, even a fine tutor with a high pay will not be able to bring up your grades. Practise analysing questions more till you no longer go out of point; place a stopwatch in front of you before writing an essay to make sure you are able to finish in time. Put your phone and distractions away and focus solely on your paper. It may be a painful training session, but you will be much more prepared rather than just lying around and worrying about your future grades. 
  4. Let bygones be bygones: Don’t worry about the paper which you have already submitted, you still have a huge paper ahead of you. Close your eyes, close your mouth, clasp your hands together and pray for your spiritual guide to assist you in the upcoming examinations and make sure you study harder this time round. 
  5. Maybe tell your parents?: They will send you to a tuition centre. They will buy assessment books. They will read the news with you. Although this is the extreme and the least-recommended option, it is still somehow the most effective. 

So yes, I hope I have answered your question. Although I myself have never tried studying as hard, the more time you spend on your work, the higher marks you get apparently. Life is not like a Disney fairytale; Godmothers who can change a 43% to 70% do not exist. Rubbing a lamp does not mean you get you ask for three wishes. Do not just sit there and think that worrying over your results will somehow lead you to achieving academic greatness. Sit up, hold a pen in your hand, and start scribbling a few balanced arguments on a piece of paper. 


All the best!


Do you have anything to ask Agony Aunt Agatha? Vent here!





Agony Aunt Agatha #13



I’m having a major life crisis. I just had a major breakdown over CCA stuff and with A-Levels coming up, I feel like I’m drowning in commitments.

First thing that comes to mind: manage your time well. But then again, this is easier said than done. I could pretend that I have my whole life together and provide a solution to your problem but I would be lying to you and myself. With the many commitments that come with being a JC student, it is definitely a chore to juggle every single one of them.

I would advise you to take some time off studying to rest and plan out your next move, but with A levels looming closer and closer, it is likely that you will not see this as a feasible option. But still, remember that your health, be it mental, physical or emotional, is of utmost importance. Even if you feel the need to study and revise your work in every waking moment, take a breather from your books to relieve yourself of stress. Your breakdown is a sign indicating that studying too hard has taken its toll, and soldiering on ahead with your assignments and CCA commitments will just aggravate the situation. So put away your books, take a breather and rest up to rejuvenate yourself before diving back into your homework.

Know that you are doing enough and that you are doing the best that you can possibly do. In life, we cannot always control the outcome of events, but all that we can do is to prepare adequately for the event and allow fate to do its work. You might be thinking too much about the future, which stresses you out. Instead of being focused on what happened and what could happen, live in the now a little more and focus on what you can do right now. Have faith in yourself and in that you have the strength to get through this. After all, so far, you’ve survived every worst time period in your life. Hang in there, you’ve got this.       

My Economics tutor is not teaching my class effectively. Her explanations are not clear and she missed lessons twice this semester, causing my class to have multiple makeup tutorials. My tutor tends to ‘jump around’ when teaching, for example, she can be talking about the beef market for a moment and then talk about an entirely different market without giving us much context. She doesn’t answer questions or check if we understand our content. While other classes have Economics homework and many useful tips from their tutors, we have been doing group work assignments that are not very helpful and more time consuming than submitting individual case study questions or essays. As a result, my class is lagging behind the other classes. What should I do?

Firstly, you need to understand that all the EJC teachers put in a lot of effort into preparing for your tutorials. They take great joy and pride in their work. What your tutor is doing now seems to be some common teaching methods that have been used for some time. Know that all classes have different and unique learning styles and it is probably the first time that your tutor has encountered the special mixture of students in your class. It is only natural that she is not accustomed to your class’ learning style. Remember that her teaching strategies do not make her a bad teacher, as these strategies may have worked really well for another class, and are just not suitable for your class. I think it is important for you to show some sympathy and appreciation towards her for the challenges she has to face as a teacher, instead of offering only harsh criticism.    

That being said, I think you should feedback to your economics tutor that your class does not find her teaching methods useful. Communication is important and it would be best if you can tell her so that she is aware and can hopefully change her teaching style. You should also do the Quality of Teaching Survey that is in your EJC portal. You would have received emails reminding you to complete these surveys a while ago. This survey is the perfect platform for you to voice your opinions if direct confrontations with your tutor are not really your style. The school places great importance on student voice and will take the opinion of students by reviewing the Quality of Teaching Practices Survey.   

Since your economics tutor doesn’t answer questions or check if your class understands lecture content as much as you would like her to, you can consider booking consultation with other economics tutors, especially the ones who have covered lecture content. They will be happy to answer your questions. To prepare yourself for case study questions and essays, I suggest that you form a study group with your friends who are not taught by your tutor and ask them to share notes with you. Or alternatively, you can buy the Economics Ten Year Series (TYS) to practise Case Study Questions and essays. (p.s. EJC doesn’t order TYS for students).  

How do I balance hobbies, schoolwork, CCA and family life?

Life is so full of commitments, and sometimes you just feel like escaping from the sheer amount of things you have to do. You wake up at 6 in the morning, exerting yourself to stay awake and make productive use of the next 8 hours or so in school, bullying your brains relentlessly, up till the early hours in the morning, before collapsing; the cycle repeats.

On a weekend morning, you wake up late only because fatigue put you into a long sleep. Sounds really bad, right? But it usually doesn’t end here. There’s tuition after lunch, your mum has invited guests over and asks you to help her entertain them, or your baby cousin demands to play with you. All the while, you are likely engage in internal battles: rewinding your conversation with that friend, reimagining unfavourable situations, regretting your stupidity and pining for things even though you know the standards of others don’t apply to you.

So, how do you manage the amount of workload and social commitments that are cut out for you everyday?

First of all, don’t overthink. Most of our exhaustion comes from dreading the future, resenting the past and looking anywhere but the present. We rush to complete our schedule without appreciating the present. Mum’s going to pick you up for a family dinner after CCA? Finish up that conversation properly with your friend; let them know that they are worth your time first, before going off. Don’t think about the traffic jam that awaits you, or the tedium of having to go over the menu with a hundred choices. These may seem like small things, but these small irritations and preoccupations with the future compound into everyday grumpiness and even pessimism. So stay focused, cherish and relish the present. This exercise will help you regulate your emotions and priorities better, since you are not grappling with so many things at once. Know that you have done your best, let your worries go, and go along with life.

Secondly, learn the feeling of contentment. You can feel content when you reconcile your expectations with what is realistic. Very often, we covet what we don’t have, and that leaves us feeling unsatisfied with ourselves because we don’t achieve what we want. Perhaps you can look around you and feel grateful for those who are right beside you. This would reduce feelings of resentment and doubt, allowing you to cope with multiple tasks at once without feeling as stressed. You would also feel more at peace when you don’t want so many things.

Thirdly, don’t be so hard on yourself. We live in an age obsessed with perfection: perfect grades, outstanding resume, good social presentation skills, having a desirable appearance, etc. These external expectations are not as crucial as being at ease in your own skin, but they are still important. You can better cope with them if you feel good about yourself. It’s okay if you weren’t productive on a Saturday. Don’t bash yourself up over it. Identify significant distractions (such as overusing your mobile phone), try to remove it, and add in some healthy routines in your lifestyle, such as exercise and engaging in hobbies that can unleash your creativity. At the same time, reduce the workload you’ve cut out for yourself. You might feel more encouraged and end up being more productive than you’ve expected!

Vent your problems away via this link and Aunt Agony Agatha will come up with a solution for you! All submissions are anonymous!

Agony Aunt Agatha #12

Have no fear because Agony Aunt Agatha is back! Hit her up at for advice for your personal problems!
AAA is now published every 1st day of the month, so save the date! 🙂

I am already tired of eating school’s food. How do I survive the next one year and 3 terms eating the same food?

The most logical solution would be to go to Ghim Moh Food Market, where there are a variety of different stalls that are tailored to particular tastes. However, I’m assuming the reason you are writing in is because your timetable does not allow you sufficient time to make your way down to the food market to enjoy the food there. In which case, I can relate to a lot. However, keep in mind that the canteen store owners put in a lot of effort preparing the food for the whole school, so once in a while, it is good to reciprocate the effort and give canteen food another shot!

That being said, if you would like a break from the canteen food you could make an effort to pack your own food to school. For long days in school you could maybe pack some leftovers from last night’s dinner. For small breaks in between you could make a simple sandwich or bring along a couple of cookies or fruits for healthy living. I have observed that some people store sweets and biscuits in their lockers for easy access when they need a quick bite between lessons. An innovative class initiative would be to start a mini class pantry in a locker and this can be a collaborative effort that involves the entire class. Do remember to take good care of your lockers because being allowed to have lockers is a privilege, not a right, so poor maintenance of the lockers will force the school to revoke locker privileges. If you follow our advice, and store food in the locker, you must carry out periodic cleaning of the locker and purging of old or unwanted food. Food will attract uninvited pests and affect not just you but your locker neighbours as well.

If you do have any one hour breaks from 1 p.m. onwards, you could try to walk briskly to Ghim Moh Food Market, using the trusty backgate, and queue up for one of the stalls that does not have an insanely long line. From my own experience, one hour is in fact sufficient time to go to Ghim Moh for lunch. As long as you factor in time to walk back to school, which will not take as long as five minutes, you will be able to enjoy all the food the hawker centre has to offer. I hope my reply is an answer to your question!

I feel like my personality is hindering me from getting closer to my CG. I tend to shut myself out, and over-residing in my personal bubble. I do want to get to know more of my classmates but I can’t seem to feel comfortable with them. I feel left out…

Do not let this stress you out too much, I’m pretty sure you are not the only one who has ever felt this way. It’s only been a month since you have gotten to know your CG, and you still have two years to bond and get to know them better. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t click well with them right from the start. Establishing close ties with classmates take time and like I said this is merely the start of a very long journey with your civic group.

Perhaps you can step up and actively participate in CG activities. In fact, you can even plan CG bonding activities with your chairperson. I’m sure your class will appreciate you for your initiative and effort and your CG will be bonded in no time! On a more personal level, you can try to set goals for yourself. For example, you can begin by setting a  personal target of saying at least one nice thing to one or more of your classmates a week. Complimenting someone else sincerely can actually build trust between the two of you and trust is the basis of any functioning and healthy friendship.

I’m positive that many more opportunities will arise and give you a chance to better understand your classmates and for them to better understand you! As many teachers have said: OG mates will be with you through the fun times, but CG mates will get you through the hard times. Step out of your comfort zone and don’t be shy or scared to make new friends because they will be the ones who will make or break your junior college experience. It is not possible for you to be able to mesh well with everyone you meet and personalities may clash but don’t let that discourage you. There’s got to be some people out there who you can find common ground with. So the main point would be that friendships take time to develop so hang in there and good luck!

I don’t like my CCA. I was not put into my first choice and although I appealed, I still didn’t get in. I’m so upset.

I’m sorry you feel down, but just know that you gave it your best shot because that’s all that matters. Despite how bad this might seem now, you’ve got to come to terms with it at some point. As corny as it may seem, every grey cloud has a silver lining. Thinking about this positively and taking things into stride is better than feeling disappointed and unhappy for the next two years. Think of this as an opportunity for you to step out of your comfort zone and be exposed to learn new things. Developing new skills will make you a more well- rounded person so do not be afraid to stretch yourself.

There has got to be a reason that you were put into this CCA in the first place. Accept what life throws at you and find joy in what seems to be a hopeless situation. Happiness can come to you when you least expect it and you could find yourself loving the CCA you’re assigned to now. In some cases, the results of the CCA selection are not telling of one’s capabilities so do not be disheartened and give up on your interests. You can definitely continue to pursue your interests outside of school! Instead of solely focusing on what the school can do for you, think about what you can do for the school. You should consider starting an interest group with others who share the same interests as you, propose a new CCA, or even hold a class during Unconference Day.  

Apart from this being an excellent learning experience, it also allows you to meet new people and widen your social circle. Your CCA batchmates play an important role in making CCA sessions more enjoyable because you can bond over common experiences in each session. So don’t be shy to approach your CCA mates first and initiate conversations. Making new friends will give you something to look forward to in CCA!

I hope this lifts your spirits and you can learn to love your new CCA. All the best!

With Love, Your Project Work Teachers

At this moment, we are probably just starting to get to know our project team members and also, starting to discuss what topics we are planning to choose. With nifty and practical tips given to us by our seniors, we certainly can’t miss out on what our teachers in Eunoia have to say! Thus, The Origin* has interviewed a few teachers in the PW department for their expertise.

Ms Iris Lee
1. Always choose to tap on each other strengths instead of picking on each other’s weaknesses. Strengths amplify strengths.

Ms Sonia Taj Marican
1. The importance of not only speaking to industry experts but treating them right. Industry experts not only give you insight into your problem and the usability of your solution if you make a good impression they can open up doors for you as well.

2. Be resourceful. Every bit of knowledge and information you gather from observations of daily life/ the world around you can be turned into something useful that will help you reach your goals.

I had a group last year who picked a target group who was highly inaccessible because they wanted to work with ex-convicts. I could tell they really struggled to answer some of the questions I posed to them about the applicability and suitability of their solutions for their target group. This problem persisted until, through sheer grit and perseverance, they managed to get a hold of representatives from an NGO helping their TG.

The behavior that struck me as particularly impressive was that students from the group didn’t stop at securing an interview with these representatives. Having to contend with the constraints placed on them because of their school timetables, they went and made the best of a bad situation by inviting their interviewees to school for the interview. They then took pains to make a good impression on them and were, therefore, able to keep channels of communication open for future questions and feedback on their project.

Using their own initiative, the students requested I book a fancy air-conditioned venue for them for their interview, managed to scrounge up Eunoia labeled water bottles for their interviewees, and prepared thank you gifts for their guests. The whole thing was extremely professional and clearly modeled on student observations of how schools treat VIP guests during school events.

After that, everything fell in place – through these representatives of the NGO, they managed to get access to 2 members of their TG with whom they were able to set up multiple interviews and correspond with; their solution, though not particularly innovative at first, became increasingly relevant and insightful because they were now furnished with experience and feedback from organizations and individuals who might potentially use their solution.

Ms Mohana Rani Suppiah
1. For groups that are having problems with group dynamics etc to raise the issue early to the STs rather than to surface it later, so that steps can be taken to try and help these groups early.

2. Based on experience with both kinds of groups, for the ones who surfaced the problem early, non-contributors could be spoken to and warned about their behavior and given time to change their attitude and start contributing earlier. For groups who only brought up the matter close to the submission of the Written Report, it was a little too late to do anything.

Mr Daniel Kwan
1. Treat the three WR drafts seriously as they are precious! If the group knows that they cannot produce a good quality draft by the deadline, negotiate for an extension with the ST way in advance.

2. Make sure that you have printed and bound the final WR before the submission date. Do not do it on the actual day as things may go wrong.
Anecdote: A group was so stressed up when the printer in the library broke down due to excessive printing of WRs. They submitted the WR just 3 minutes before the deadline and a member rolled around on the floor in the library crying in relief after that J

Ms Adrienne de Souza
1. The tutor-group relationship is special. Trust your PW tutor.

Anecdote: As the Written Report submission deadline draws close, we often see groups getting anxious. Groups talk to other groups, sometimes from the same class, sometimes from other classes. And they start to panic if other groups seem to have been given different advice from what they have been given. Some groups then decide to make fairly major changes to their projects based on what they had heard from friends, without consulting their tutor. And from my experience, this has always led to more problems. So yes, seek advice from those around you. Talk to people. But if you ever feel anxious about your project based on what you might be hearing from anyone other than your tutor, always, always, always check with your tutor first and talk to them about your concerns. Then trust your tutor’s advice.

2. Prototype. Pilot test your solutions (or parts of them). And be on the lookout for opportunities to leverage other activities.

In 2017, I had a group that used their ViA project as an opportunity to implement and pilot test one part of their project solution – it was about using art for therapeutic purposes. And what was great to see was that because they actually implemented the art therapy aspect of their solution on their actual target group, their project was more than a proposal on paper – it became something real, that made a real difference to the community that they reached out to. And because they leveraged their ViA project to do this, as an added benefit, there was a nice synergy between the ViA outcomes and the rich learning that they derived and documented in their final Written Report, based on observations and data collected from the pilot test they conducted.

3. Be a honey badger – be ingenious, be resilient. Be ready to fail, try again, fail again, until you succeed. (Watch this video to learn more!)

Mr Omar Basri

  1. Maintain a good working relationship with your peers. While you do not have a choice of groupmates, you have a choice in terms of how you treat your groupmates, the effort you put in during group and how you communicate with one another. As such, understand the importance of working efficiently as a team, and put in equal effort as everyone else. You not putting in effort means that your groupmates have to pick up the slack. Over a period of time, resentment starts to seep in and the working dynamics may end up toxic. As such, cooperate with one another and put in effort.

    2. Consult your tutors regularly. We are always here to help you, but this also means that you should be ready to continuously put in effort and work hard as well. At the same time, avoid consulting us at the very last minute; consultation needs to be done regularly.

Note: A big thank you to all the teachers who took the time and effort to help us out with their valuable advice!
Interviewer: Jacey Teoh

Agony Aunt Agatha #11

The school is full of toxic people and there are people who pretends to like you but behind your back they talk about you. How do we deal with such situations? If we are already very tolerant but yet the others still cross the line. Please help thank you!

There’s no doubt that there will definitely be such people in every school and you just have to find ways to deal with these individuals.

Firstly, it may just be the nature of that person to be two-faced and what you should do is distance yourself from her. You should still maintain a convenient and civil relationship as acquaintances but try not to get too close or personal and put yourself at vulnerability. Stick to the simple small talk on a daily basis but do not delve deeper.

Secondly, you cannot stop things from being said about you, but you can definitely change the way you view such things being said. You can think of the situation as

hey, maybe they’re bored and need some drama in their lives to be part of


Maybe they feel jealous of you and perhaps want to spread rumours to make your life seem less impressive

Either or, being spoken about behind your back isn’t exactly the sweetest thing in the world.However, we tend to be so caught up in our shallow pool of image that we fail to recognise that what really matters is how you react to the circumstances and if you choose to let it affect you. If you know that what was being said about you is not true, you can hold your head high and let the haters know that you are more than a silly rumour that they believe. Just stay calm, denounce what isn’t true, and if you can, laugh it off. Don’t feed the trolls.

Anyway, that being said, you can always approach the person and confront her/him about what was being said, especially if they cross the line. Do not feel afraid to stand up to them, do not let them hide behind that cowardly mask.

Good Luck!


I know a girl in class likes me, what should I do to make it less awkward?

Most importantly, first consider what you would like out of this. Would you like her to get the hint to please back off a little and not get her hopes up? Do you want her to know you might like her too?

Just be your normal self, don’t change just because of someone liking you. She likes you for you, so do not be too bothered about it.

However, if you do not like her and do not want this to develop anywhere, one good thing to do is just be remain ‘oblivious’. JC is a short 2 years whereby the overwhelming stress of homework and tests is going engulf you. With that being said, just ignore the situation and this crush will probably fade away. Friendzoning is cruel, but sometimes necessary to help the both of you get on with your lives.

On the other hand, if she knows that you know that she likes you…

Good luck my friend.

She’ll probably be waiting for a response. You should either make it clear that you are not interested in a relationship at this point but offer to remain good friends as you value your friendship a lot. (and also to prevent your relationship from getting awkward) Confront her on it if necessary, or try to get her friends to hint at it to her for you. If you’re not comfortable confronting her directly, just try to remain good friends with her and be careful NOT to give out any mixed signals to prevent her from getting confused or encouraged.

All the best.