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Turning a setback into a comeback

24 Mar 2017



What do you do when life hands you a setback? Do you retreat or bounce back stronger? For Cerine Tan (pictured above), she chose the latter. The SIM-University of London Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Economics and Finance graduate used a setback as a stepping stone to success.

“I did not do well in the first year of university because my foundation was not strong; I struggled with microeconomics and ended up failing it. As a result, I couldn’t gain an exemption to finish my degree in two years and had to do a three-year programme. I remember being upset and disappointed with myself. However, it was fruitless to cry over spilled milk; I decided to make the best use of the additional year,” said Cerine.

Cerine used the additional year to strengthen her foundation in her core modules. Setting the goal of attaining a First Class Honours degree, she focused on gaining insights and application. With the help of supportive lecturers, she was able to grasp the concepts better and do well in subsequent modules.

“I was very fortunate to have lecturers like Dr. Zhang Jianlin and Mr. Wong Wan Hoong. To me, they were more than just lecturers; they went above and beyond their scope of responsibilities. During lectures, they would pay particular attention to me as I always had a very ‘confused look’. They always made sure that I understood the materials. Outside the curriculum, they also gave me advice,” shared Cerine.

Cerine learned to prioritise her studies and set aside distractions. She was duly rewarded for her efforts and sacrifices as she achieved outstanding results. She graduated with First Class Honours and gained admission into the University of Oxford to pursue a master’s degree in Financial Economics.

“I am grateful for the additional year as it was an opportunity to strengthen my foundation in core modules. I’m also thankful for having lecturers who were always there, guiding me every step of the way,” she added.

Cerine’s time in SIM GE was meaningful. In addition to her academic success, she also embraced opportunities to grow and challenge herself. She chose to join the SIM Students Toastmasters Club to hone her public speaking skills.

“My experience at SIM Students Toastmasters Club was fruitful and I benefited greatly from it. Firstly, I overcame my fear of public speaking and even hosted public events. Secondly, I met friends who were motivated and driven; they spurred me on to become a better person. What is special about the club is that it is a giving community. We grow together, academically, personally and professionally; we help each other achieve our goals and share what we learn amongst our peers. These positive traits are passed down from one batch of students to another,” said Cerine.

As she reflects on her time in SIM GE, Cerine believes that her journey here has been rewarding. “SIM GE is a place filled with opportunities to learn and grow. I am fortunate to have people around me who are encouraging and helpful; they have made me a better person,” she said


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