Goh Jia Hao (James)
Ask SIM #FutureMaker
Here, Jia Hao answers a series of questions posed by prospective learner; Teo Shao Ning, a current student of Jurong Pioneer Junior College.
Shao Ning (SN): Why did you choose to study Psychology with the University at Buffalo at SIM instead of other universities?
Jia Hao (JH): I always knew I wanted to major in something relevant to people; therefore, I chose psychology. What attracted me to the SIM-University at Buffalo (SIM-UB) programme was the opportunity to pursue a different format of education. It was more project- and participation-based, instead of just studying for exams. That was quite refreshing for me after completing Junior College.
SN: What was it like studying in SIM-UB? Was the curriculum busy?
JH: There never was a dull moment. Yes – there were weeks where we had lectures and tutorials like any other student. However, in between these lectures and tutorials, there were also other activities. For example, we could be going out on excursions, putting on an ECG to ourselves to see how it works or planning a concert performance for the rest of our class.
There was a lot of experiential learning, where we had to take electives not related to our major. Now that I am working, I have come to appreciate the value of these electives. E.g., I get to apply what I have learned in philosophy towards how logic flows within the work I do. Or, apply what I learnt in world history to understand different cultures when doing regional work.
SN: Did you encounter any difficulty in finding a job after graduating?
JH: To be honest, not really. If a company chose not to invite me for an interview, I would not know if it was because of my qualification, or if I simply did not have the right experience.
However, what I can say is once I got to the interview, the skills that I have learnt in UB turned out to be an advantage for me. Like participating in class, doing class presentations, and learning to be curious. I was able to ask the right questions, do the right research, and think critically.
Furthermore, I think that the recognition of a UB qualification has come quite far since I graduated in 2014. We have alumni who are doing well in different aspects of their work; many of them earned scholarships, work in established companies, and quite a few of them finished graduate school. Through them, I feel employers now better recognise the quality of the SIM-UB candidates. This helped pave the way for future graduates.
SN: What are the things you do to keep yourself relaxed?
JH: I enjoy swimming quite a bit. I got the chance to study in the UB campus in the States, and I loved the negative 40 degrees weather there. I cannot say the same for the hot climate in Singapore, which contributed to why I enjoy swimming so much more.
In addition, I try to make time for volunteering too. Some people see that as additional work, but being able to interact and make someone’s day better is something I enjoy doing. It helps me take my mind off any stressors that I have.
Create your own future. Be a #FutureMaker.
Posted online 10 Dec 2021.