G reek philosopher Aristotle once said: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Indeed, the way to go places in this world cannot be done without first developing a sense of responsibility, empowerment and thoughtfulness. This notion is exactly what SIM University (UniSIM) stands for.
The very heart of UniSIM’s educational philosophy is ‘The Three H’s – Head, Heart and Habit’. The University advocates that an education is not only about academic achievements, but also about leadership, character and service to the community. Apart from a 24-weeks Work Attachment and six common curriculum modules beyond one’s professional major, the curriculum of a UniSIM student also comprises a two-year Service- Learning project and encourages students to be independent and resourceful learners.
For 23-year-old Priscilla Ngeow and 20-year-old Jasmin Kaur, both full-time students, this unique approach to teaching drew them to Singapore’s only private university. They let us in on the activities that form their eventful student life, and how they have been empowered by their range of opportunities.
In fact, UniSIM honours and celebrates students who uphold its ‘Three H’s’ philosophy. Those who possess good character, are driven to help others and who take the lead to better society, are conferred The UniSIM Spirit Award. The award is in the form of S$2,500 to be offset against university fees, a certificate and recognition from the University. Accountancy student Tan Jun Cheng and Human Resource Management student Valerie Yee are two recipients of this award. They tell us how they have benefitted from the award and the University’s emphasis on a well- rounded education.
Tan Jun Cheng
Bachelor of Accountancy
UNDERSTANDING THEIR PASSION
Aspiring entrepreneur Jun Cheng chose to study Accountancy seeing that it could help him understand the inner workings of an organisation. “In order to conduct audit on a company, one needs to understand the people, systems, controls and policies that are in place in a company, before being able to give an audit opinion on the compliance, completeness and fairness of their financial statements,” he tells us. “The process of audit, though rigorous, will give me invaluable learning experiences when interacting with people who are exceptional in their operational and managerial roles, as well as insights into running a successful business. My experiences and relationships built will bring me closer to my end-goal, which is to eventually venture into entrepreneurship.”
As for Valerie, her interest in Human Resources stemmed from her belief that a key difference between companies is their people. “It is important for companies to pick the right people. I worked as a frontline staff once, and witnessed how colleagues’ work attitudes differ when doing tasks with different levels of passion. I remember having to write a haiku on my major and coming up with this: ‘Picking the right staff should be as important as picking the right stuff.’ I also believe HR professionals are essential in helping people and companies reach their full potential,” Valerie shares.
Valerie Yee Ching Yi
Bachelor of Human Resource Management
BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Both Jun Cheng and Valerie agree that their time at UniSIM goes beyond their lectures and textbooks. For Jun Cheng, he highlights that his Service- Learning project has been a striking learning opportunity. His project, Beyond Self, is a partnership with Beyond Social Services focused on enabling social progression among lower income families. Jun Cheng and his team organise academic support programmes and activities for children of these families, so as to spur a learning interest in them and as a result see academic progression.
Of his experience, he tells us, “Interacting with these children and learning their family struggles helped me to understand true strength in facing adversity. I saw how consistent hard work over long periods of time can gradually change one’s financial and social circumstances.”
Jasmin, too, has received opportunities to gain insights from peers and world-renowned experts. She attended the SG100 Dream Future Forum, where student representatives shared their thoughts about policies in Singapore. “It was a forum to discuss real issues – such as the LGBT movement – that matter to Singaporeans. We were given the chance to hear from our peers as they expressed their aspirations for national progress,” she explains.
Jun Cheng also had the chance to serve as a student leader at an Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) team building programme. His role was mainly to plan and execute a mass coast clean-up exercise for half the cohort. “It gave me the rare opportunity to bring together, motivate and engage a group of strangers. Seeing the outspoken members encourage and lead the quieter members through the presentation of the exercise at the end – in front of a student and staff body of 450 people – was one of the highlights of my UniSIM journey,” shares Jun Cheng.
Valerie has had quite different experiences. She tells us about her involvement in the UniSIM Open House: “It was a chance to share my learning journey with others who were contemplating an education at UniSIM. I generally enjoy engaging in conversation with others, and this was a great opportunity for me to do just that.”
She also attended the Higher Order Thinking Workshop conducted by one of her professors, Dr Lim Chee Han. “It exposed us to a new way of learning, as well as how to think creatively and better express our thoughts. I feel that this aspect of creative thinking and expression is lacking in the classroom today. I don’t think I have been more expressive in any other class prior to this workshop!” she enthuses.
As recipients of The UniSIM Spirit Award, the duo hopes to take their experiences in UniSIM and use them to better serve the community. Jun Cheng shares, “I’m thankful to have received the award because it opens up opportunities for me to serve and take up leadership roles in upcoming university initiatives. It also allows me to represent the University as an ambassador and speak to potential students at Open Houses. My conviction to serve the University and the community will continue to remain strong.”
Valerie shares the same sentiments. She ends off humbly, “The award is an encouragement for me to continue to serve the University and my community. It feels good to know that there are people who agree with the act of Service-Learning, rather than see it as a waste of time. I love that I am in an environment that supports students in their involvement in Service-Learning. This is certainly in line with what I believe in.”