The nervous energy thrumming in the air was unmistakable. You could see it all across the J2’s faces – the anxiety hidden in the little creases of their eyebrows, the undeniable glint of excitement in their eyes, the restlessness that seemed to permeate their every movement. This was it: the day the results of H1 Project Work would be released. All those weekends spent desperately typing on the keyboard in an attempt to beat the clock before it struck 11:59pm, late-night Skype calls which never seemed to end … they had been culminating to this moment, and now the only thing to do was to pray that they were worth it all.

Time crawled by slowly. It felt like an eternity later when it was finally 2pm, and you heard the collective sigh of relief sweeping through the entire school, the thunderous applause reverberating in the classrooms, the exuberant shouts and cheers because hard work had paid off, and the results did not disappoint.

With an A-rate of around 80% and all groups getting either an A or B grade, the 2017 batch of VJ students has done admirably well.

VPress sat down with 3 students with vastly different student lives and commitments to try and understand their personal challenges and thoughts towards the dreaded PW subject. The one thing common among all 3 students were that they clinched an A grade in PW.


Cai Yuhan
17S42

What are your commitments?

Dance and studies.

Please sum up your project work experience in one word:

Enriching.

What were the major problems you encountered in your project?

Coming up with solutions and writing the script for oral presentation.

What were your favourite parts of project work?

Working with my group to draft out solutions and generally just having fun with my group

How has project work helped you grow?

It has made me more confident in myself when giving ideas to a group of people. You also learn important interpersonal skills that are essential to working in a team.

Getting an A grade is not easy, what tips and tricks did you use to help you get that coveted A grade?

Honestly, your teacher has a big part to play. In my case my teacher really was a great help in giving us tips to modify our solutions. Follow your teacher’s advice!

Any words of advice to the struggling J1s?

Jiayou guys! When it’s all done and dusted you’ll be happy.


Thaveesha Diluni Thenuwara
17A13

How did your cohort do for PW?

I think that we did pretty decently as a cohort if I’m not wrong!

How would you sum up your PW experience in one word?

For me, PW was valuable because not only did I form lasting bonds with my PW mates (they have become some of my closest friends) but also made me more passionate about furthering the cause of serving our target group, beyond just the project period. In fact my group mates and I are planning to write little notes of gratitude this week, to give the migrant workers (our target group) near and at our school, because of how more aware and invested we are in their stories!  

What have you learnt in your PW journey?

I think it helps us learn both hard and soft skills be it technical ideation tools or accommodation and compromising with team members. I think for me, having been exposed to many group projects in secondary school, I thought I wouldn’t learn much from PW. But I was proven wrong because PW certainly taught me a few things like how several cycles or starting all over again is much better than persisting on one idea, no matter how much effort had been put in.


Nicholas Giancarlo Canete
17S42

What are your CCA commitments/ other commitments etc.

During my PW period, my other commitments were predominantly from my CCA, track and field, my Nanyang Research Programme project and the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes (YFC).

Please sum up your project work experience in one word:

Challenging.

What were the major problems you encountered in your project?

The two most major problems that characterised our difficulties were group dynamics, morale and ideas.

In terms of group dynamics, admittedly we did lack chemistry and synergy, which manifested in a lack of coherence in our WR and OP in certain areas. At times, there was also a significant disparity in workload distribution for one reason or another and it was obviously frustrating for those who had to bear the brunt of the extra work.

Ideas-wise, we struggled quite a bit with finding a viable topic that fulfilled the criteria of being both doable and unique.

Lastly all these aforementioned problems precipitated in the form of hampered motivation and morale which dampened our willingness to diligently try to keep up with our work.

What were your favourite parts of project work?

The writing of WR itself was a rather fulfilling intellectual challenge that really tested our skills of extrapolating trends and analyses based on data. It was actually rather fun to “smoke”, and seeing your WR slowly come to life with a viable narrative is quite rewarding.

Most groups also really enjoy the period in preparation for OP, simply because you spend so much time with friends with the flexibility of being able to determine your own schedules, and a lot of fun, spontaneous moments can come out of the preparation process. This is also the time where people really have to stick together and work tirelessly to help one another improve, which is honestly an important bonding process

How has project work helped you to grow?

As a group leader, PW has tested mainly my collaborative and interpersonal skills. Maintaining a balancing act between the group’s morale, our relationships with each other and the imperative to do work (especially when tired or frustrated) is an arduous task. While I initially did have problems with treading this fine line between the three factors, eventually resolving these issues really came down to tact and constructive communication, as well as giving credit where it’s due. You really need to take the time and effort to know the group of people you’re working with and find ways to drive them.

Getting an A grade is not easy, what tips and tricks did you use to help you get that coveted A grade?

Communicate. It is really really important to make an assiduous commitment to constantly talk to your ST and your group mates and continually get their feedback.

Be open to new ideas and get creative. After running dry on ideas in the initial stages of GPP, we sat down as a group and took a bunch of newspapers and started looking up possible issues and solutions to them. Basically, keep your eyes peeled for contemporary issues in our society and try to draw inspiration from them

Lastly, give credit where it’s due. Always remember how important morale is. Affirming good work feels nice, and it makes the work environment in the group a much more positive and pleasing one

Any words of advice to the struggling J1s?

Try to be personally invested in the issue you’ve identified in your project. It will make your project a little bit more enjoyable

Not every difficult group or project is doomed to be dysfunctional or a lost cause. There’s still time to change the way you see things and time to change the way the group works. Be the change you want to see in the group!


While the 2017 batch may have achieved stellar results, nothing is guaranteed for the 2018 batch! We hope that these candid interviews lets you reminisce about your own project work experience. For the J1s reading this, we hope you can draw valuable insights and tips from this, all the best for all future batches of project work examinees!

Article by:
Muhammad Dzakir B Rafi, 18S52
Wang Zi-Ming, Sean, 18S33
Yap Yu Qi Delphie, 18S33

 

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