Academic Excellence: Do Good and Do Well. It’s possible!
By: O. Jing Wen
Next month, I’m going to be studying Psychology in NTU. I started out in Victoria Junior College very anxious about my studies but in the end, I won the Top All-Rounder Student award in church. That meant that I did good in church and did well in my studies too.
But, in the past, I only felt good if I did well in school. I studied up to 10 hours a day. While I scored straight As, the satisfaction never lasted. The stress of the next exam soon kicked in and the cycle repeated itself. Overwhelmed, I often woke up panicking in the middle of the night. One day, it hit me – 10 years down the road, would my grades matter? If this is so temporary, what am I living for?
3 years ago when I was Sec 4, I visited Heart of God Church! In service, peace filled my heart and stayed with me long after the service ended. The worries I had faded away. That night, I had my first good sleep in months. Curious, I kept coming back. A few weeks later, I decided to be a Christian! Then, it was Academic Excellence Weekend. One line Pastor How shared stuck with me – we are all born curious. We don’t study just for good grades, but for the love of learning. That service was the beginning of a change of mindset. Soon, I had a new interest in my subjects and even went online to read up more! Every day in school was no longer boring. I found a purpose for studying.
One service, I heard a still, small voice: “My child, I love you for who you are.” God was speaking to me. For the first time, I realised that my worth was not in my grades. The God of the universe loves me and values me! When I found my security in God, I stopped being preoccupied with my grades. I also began noticing how the people around me were doing. I saw that my classmates were all very stressed. So, together with friends in church, we made 350 study packs for our entire cohort! I also wanted to develop holistically and grow in other areas of my life. What better way than to serve in church – the place that has given me faith and hope in my most difficult days. So I joined the Testimony Ministry where we prepare stories of how people’s lives were changed by the love of God! When these stories were shared in service, so many were impacted. Serving God brought me so much joy!
As I came to church each week, I was inspired to bring God’s love to my family. So, when my brother was taking his exams, I made him a study pack with stickers of puns and quotes! I also spent time with my family every week. Also, what helped in my exam season was also having supportive parents who drove me to school and always fed me with healthy food. That gave me extra motivation to study!
6 months before my A-Levels, my leaders encouraged me to focus on my studies and stop serving for a while. However, I just felt a prompting in my heart to make room for my God even while I was busy studying. So, after my mid-year tests, I begged my leaders to allow me to serve! Since I was doing well, my leaders made an exception for me. So I still served and edited testimonies, but also planned extra hours to study. It is possible to do good and do well! Soon after, the A levels came around. I was nervous, but I felt peace after each paper. With God, I went through my A-Levels with a big smile.
In the end, I scored 5 As! With God, church and Academic Excellence, I went through A-Levels not just living for myself but for others. My heart was full, knowing that I had made a difference in the lives of those around me. To all the students here, don’t give up! As you give your best and place your trust in God, He will surely see you through.