A Valedictorian's Double Degree Journey at SIM

Meet Tan Li Jie, affectionately known as Sam, a recent graduate from the Bachelor of Arts programme from University at Buffalo in Psychology and Sociology. Find out more about Sam's academic journey, her passion for criminal psychology, the skills she honed, and the invaluable experiences that shaped her success.

1 May 2024

Finding Common Ground in Dual Degrees

Balancing a double degree programme might seem daunting, but Sam's strategic approach and passion for both psychology and sociology made the journey seamless. "Psychology and sociology have a very high level of common themes, paradigms, and theories," Sam notes. She skillfully managed her studies, student life, and work, by finding synergy in these two disciplines, putting in the hours and pacing herself.

Passion for Criminal Psychology

Sam's deep interest in criminal psychology was a driving force throughout her academic journey. Working as a research assistant, she gained hands-on experience in the field, developing essential skills in conducting literature reviews, statistical analysis, and primary research. Her commitment to understanding the complexities of crime, law, and justice was evident in her coursework, with a focus on criminology and victims and victimization.

Personal Growth With An Active Student Life

Beyond academics, Sam was deeply involved in various aspects of student life. Outside her role as a research assistant, Sam actively participated in clubs, contributing to the Singapore Psychological Society Youth Wing and serving as the Director of Publicity in the SIM Psychology Society. Sam's commitment to these extracurricular activities not only showcased her leadership skills but also added a vibrant dimension to her overall university experience.

The Crucial Role of SIM Professors

Key to Sam's success were two influential mentors at SIM, Dr. Tommy Saltzman and Professor Mary Nell. Dr. Tommy's inviting and encouraging teaching style empowered Sam to confidently voice her opinions. Furthermore, under Dr. Tommy's guidance, Sam delved into statistical programs crucial for her role as a research assistant. Professor Mary Nell, on the other hand, played a pivotal role in guiding Sam toward her specialization in Crime, Law, and Justice, emphasizing the importance of forensics and crime in psychology.

Strategies for Academic Excellence

Sam's strategies for success lie in prioritization and unpacking. Her advice for fellow students: "Pace yourself. You don't want to overstretch yourself." Sam's prioritization technique involved ranking assignments by urgency and importance. Meanwhile, the unpacking strategy, a common psychological approach, helped her break down tasks into manageable steps, ensuring clarity and progress.

Sam's High Hopes for The Future

As the valedictorian of the graduating class of 2023, Sam expressed gratitude for her time at SIM. Reflecting on the journey, she highlighted the collective effort and hard work of her cohort. Her parting words to fellow students and graduates were filled with optimism and encouragement. "I’m very excited to see how everyone's going to turn out, maybe like ten years down the road. I hope everyone’s really reaching out for their dreams and finding something they like."

Carve Your Path at SIM 

Sam's journey exemplifies the rich academic opportunities available in SIM. With inspiring professors, SIM provides a nurturing environment for both academic excellence and personal growth. Experience the excellence of the University at Buffalo and begin your journey now to a world of possibilities. 

Hear it from Sam in a video!