Goh Jia Hao

An American programme promotes self-expression and self-directed learning, allowing us the freedom to choose what we want to learn and how this learning can be done.
Discover SIM GE Jia Hao trying the props at Psych Week, April 2013 (left), and leading the youth contingent at Chingay 2013 STUDYING human behaviour can be enjoyable, says Goh Jia Hao who has been intrigued since childhood about this subject. Jia Hao, 23, is currently a third-year student with the SIM-University at Buffalo BA (Psychology) programme (2013). He’s also president of the SIM Psychological Society. To show that Psychology is more than conducting field research, reading dense textbooks and passing exams, the society organised a week of talks, exhibition and activities, a party and a movie screening (Shutter Island) in April. “The objective was to expose our students to the many things which makes Psychology fun while at the same time showing them how Psychology can be applied to daily life,” says Jia Hao. “The fun stuff included demonstrations of optical illusions, online games, quizzes, personality tests, as well as information on Psychology-related careers. Students who visited the booth told us it was an enjoyable learning experience.” Psych Week is the annual signature event of the society, promoting Psychology as a field of study, Jia Hao adds. On the screening of Shutter Island (a 2003 psychological mystery starring Leonardo DiCaprio), Jia Hao says the movie raises questions on what’s real and what the mind perceives as real (two different things, altogether). A series of talks by practising psychologists were also held during Psych Week covering Developmental Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Organisational Psychology, Hypnotherapy and Counselling Psychology. “We engaged hundreds of students, both Psychology majors and others,” says Jia Hao of the response. Why Buffalo Jia Hao, an SIM scholar, says that before he began his tertiary education, he attended the open house events of the various institutions. He eventually settled for the SIM-UB programme as he felt that an American styled education would suit his learning style. “An American programme promotes self-expression and self-directed learning, allowing us the freedom to choose what we want to learn and how this learning can be done,” he explains. “Further, being in an American system allows me to gain new perspectives on how people see the world across different cultures.” Of course one could enjoy the best of American education without having to cross the Pacific. At the SIM GE campus, one experiences the same learning that students in Buffalo, New York, receive. Best of all, without going to the US, one saves roughly half the amount that overseas students would have to pay if they were to live and study in Buffalo itself. Passion of Psychology-related career Jia Hao’s main area of interest is Industrial and Organisation (I/O) Psychology, meaning workplace psychology. The subject covers workplace efficiency and productivity, raising employee motivation, and ensuring people are happy in their workplace. “To be more specific, I am really interested in interpersonal relationships in the workplace, team dynamics and addressing conflict at work. The workplace is a dynamic environment with a mixture of many kinds of people. It is a place where Psychology can be applied effectively to help companies and organisations do well. In addition, modern organisations are places where we encounter team dynamics, a particular area of my research interest.” Jia Hao will be heading for Buffalo, New York, this year for his final semester under an SIM-UB scholarship. “I will be using the opportunity to explore the possibilities of pursuing post-grad education in the United States,” he says. “After that, it would be great if I could get to pursue a career in research work involving team dynamics, social conflict and goal orientations.” Serving the community Outside of studies, Jia Hao serves as the Chairperson of the Clementi Youth Executive Committee as well as a member of the People’s Association Youth Movement Central Youth Council. As the Vice-Chairperson of the Chingay Youth Contingent 2013, he led the contingent from start to finish, overseeing various tasks including the dance, costumes, makeup, training, participant discipline, attendance, and logistics. “The experience allowed me to meet and interact with many young people and learn their perspectives on life.” His credo is, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever,” from Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India’s independence movement in the 1940s. What it means is we should value every opportunity we have to learn and develop ourselves. “The road might be tough, but when we look back at all that we’ve done, it would have been a worthwhile experience.” - Interviewed and posted online on July 31, 2013