Humans of Eunoia x Leadership: Within and Without

In our latest Humans of Eunoia article, Lum Wan Tong, President of the 3rd Student Council, will share some insights about her leadership journey.

Written by: Li Xin Rong (19-I4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Designed by: Lee En Tong (19-U2)


You’ve seen our student leaders filling the shoes of their predecessors earlier last term but we bet that you don’t know their entire journey and their individual passions!

As the second installment of Humans of Eunoia, the theme for Term 3 is leadership which goes hand in hand with Deep Dive Day 3. We hope to feature student leaders from the 4 distinct directorates and delve into their leadership journeys, their experiences with leadership and some memorable revelations along the way.

Here’s a brief overview of EJC’s current leadership structure:

ejc leadership overview 2019

This week, we will be featuring Lum Wan Tong  (19-U1), the President of the 3rd Student Council. Here’s what she has to say!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Wan Tong from 19-U1, I’m in the arts stream and I take History, Econs, Literature, H1 Math and KI. I have three younger siblings 🙂

Describe your leadership journey in EJC in one word or phrase.

Very cliche, but, growth. When I went to EJC, I didn’t know a lot of people, only those from SCGS since I was from the SC Integrated Programme (IP). Also, in secondary school, I wasn’t a prefect. I took on other leadership roles so joining Council was something I always wanted to do. 

It’s about getting to know new people and taking up the challenge of running for President. It led me to grow and learn a lot about myself, as well as how to work with others and how to drive a vision across. So far, my leadership journey has been a lot about growth and learning from the mistakes I made.

How is your leadership experience in JC different from secondary school?

In secondary school, I was the head of my CCA, so it was on a smaller scale. It was just managing the club, looking at how we could progress as a CCA and maintaining the welfare of everyone. Whereas in JC, Council itself is quite big (47 of us), so learning to work with different groups of people was more important than before. 

Additionally, beyond Council, I also had to learn to work with the CCA leaders and make sure that everyone is included. Sometimes it’s impossible for Council to do all the work, so it’s important to learn to delegate work to others.

What is one memorable experience you’ve had in your leadership journey thus far?

Student Investiture, because it was the first event we had to do. The first rehearsal went quite smoothly, but the second rehearsal had quite a lot of hiccups such as not having enough time to set up the chairs so it was very messy. It was the day before Investiture itself, so I remember feeling quite nervous and stressed on the actual day. People were rather uncoordinated, and people were trying to leave as well. 

Fortunately, on the day itself, nothing majorly bad happened and the teachers were quite happy with us. This was a memorable event for the start of my leadership journey.

Despite being Council President for a short time, could you tell us a challenge you faced as a leader in EJ?

As a leader, I don’t think I’ve faced many big challenges working with people. The people I’ve worked with (the councillors) have made it enjoyable. On a more personal level, however, it was a lot about managing my own expectations and learning how to assume this role. When I first eased into this role, it was as if everybody suddenly knew my name, so it was about dealing with this new position I was placed in.

Even now, people associate me as Council President. I have to be aware of not changing my actions too much because of this but to remain as myself. However, whatever I do would seem representative of a larger body.

Since people have come to associate you with being the Council President, has there come a time when people have treated you differently?

Inevitably, in some ways. Most of the time, my friends and classmates address me as ‘Pres’ and not really by my name anymore. It’s not something I really mind as long as it’s not the only thing they can associate with my identity. Apart from being President, there are still many things that I’m interested in.

So, what else are you interested in?

I guess I’m someone who’s very interested in history and culture and I really enjoy reading,  SingLit (Singaporean Literature) in particular as it is very interesting. My favourite authors are Amanda Lee Koe and Sharlene Teo. I like going out in nature, I don’t know, I sound really boring as a person. Hiking, spending quality time with my family and friends. I also like baking even though I mess up sometimes as I find it really fun and therapeutic. I like going to museums and festivals like the Night Festival.

They say that ‘Anyone can be a leader”. What do you think is the most important mindset/trait that people should have when they lead others? 

Everyone has the potential to step up as a leader. It’s something that requires a lot of courage because everyone starts out the same so it’s really about finding the courage, being self-aware to step up and do something that you really believe in. I believe that conviction and courage is what helps you to grow as a leader. However, we can all start by leading ourselves first. It’s just whether we can find that drive in us to really get it done. 

Is there anything else that you would like to say? 

I think one thing that we can all work on together, as an entire student body, is to be more forthcoming especially since we haven’t been in this school for that long so our school identity is still not as strong. For example, when we call for people to participate in events, they are not really inclined to volunteer and step up. This could also be because they feel that “Oh, I am in no position to do so or people might judge me”, but I think it’s time for us to discard that mentality and to step up regardless of whether we have a leadership position or not. I think we really need that courage in us, even in small everyday things. With orientation coming up, we will definitely need people to step up and fill all these different roles. Regardless of whether you have the experience, something I would really like to see is to have different people coming together. You don’t have to be the most extroverted or loud person, as long as you have the passion, that’s what really matters.