Am already so stressed studying for the 'O' Levels, how to survive JC? (Response B)

This query comes from a student:

I am 16 and finished my 'O' levels this year. During this year, I guessed I studied too hard and because of the immense amount of stress, I suffered 2 mental breakdowns. During one episode, I kept crying non-stop, and my mum had to bring in a psychiatrist.

I really want to go to a JC next year, but I have heard from my seniors horror stories of how much worse life is in JC. I am unsure if I can endure 2 more years of hell given my current state. What if I score poorly for the 'A' levels and cannot enter a local University? What should I do?

The Response:


You are definitely not alone in your struggles.

There are ways to study and ways to manage various stresses. There are also various ways to do well in life and be a source of blessing to both yourself and others, without following what most people are popularly following.

First of all, identify what you enjoy doing (which may not necessarily be what you are good at currently), and what you dread. That may help you efficiently narrow the scope of possible vocations to consider exploring in future. Most students in Singapore choose the wrong educational path early in life, because they are unclear of what they wish to do in their future adult life, and thus simply adopted the "wait and see" approach or "follow the friends" attitude.

Try to interact with people in such prospective fields you've identified for yourself; they should give you a balanced viewpoint of both joys and heartaches / drudgery of the profession. Many media-influenced JC students want to be a doctor, perhaps because they've yet to learn from an honest medical officer of the draining physically and emotionally long hours of work, that impacts both personal and family health adversely.

Once you have a better idea of the vocation(s) that you wish to pursue, work backwards to delineate the educational requirements leading to it. Remember, Singapore 'A' Levels isn't not the only path towards attaining a degree or professional qualification.

The following may serve as a guide for you in deciding upon the type of 'A' Level course codes to subscribe for, in University applications:

Search Function, to broadly learn the Types of ‘A’ Levels recognized by different universities

Types of ‘A’ Levels recognized by NUS

Remember to keep exploring who you are really meant to be. An eagle is not any less an eagle if it cannot paddle like ducks. I've personally known of Singaporean students who are admitted into clinical mental care as a consequence of pursuing study programs that are either not meant for them, or incompatible with their current level of training at that point in time.

The following is a picture for your thoughts:

Duncan Ang

(Senior Councilor: May 2013 - December 2020)

Answered On 19 January 2015