Nur Syahiidah Zainal
Jan 13, 2018
MS ABIGAIL Low has believed in maximising her potential — and time — with a fast-paced lifestyle ever since she was a secondary school student juggling studies and several co-curricular activities.
In fact, the possibility of pursuing a degree in psychological science within a shorter time frame is one of the main reasons she enrolled in the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU).
“I can complete the course within two years because of the trimester system.
“I saw this as an advantage that would allow me to complete my studies and enter the workforce earlier,” says Ms Low, 20, who is set to graduate next year.
The trimester system means that students are able to complete their studies over three four-month terms in each academic year.
Another important consideration is work prospects after graduation.
As the psychology courses at JCU are accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), she feels reassured that the degree is recognised in Singapore and Australia.
She is also impressed that JCU has its own psychology clinic that is open to students and the public.
The services are provided by postgraduate students, who are also known as “clinical psychologists in training”.
Consultations with the clients are done on a one-on-one basis, and they are supervised by the school’s clinical psychology lecturers.
The course delivery also matters to Ms Low.
She likes how interactive her lectures are, with her lecturers constantly encouraging the students to engage in different activities.
Besides having lecturers who are approachable, helpful and knowledgeable, she enjoys choosing her own subjects and planning her timetable to suit her own pace of learning.
She particularly enjoyed doing a presentation of a three-minute research pitch during one of her modules.
Says Ms Low: “It pushed me out of my comfort zone, as I had to ‘sell’ a research idea to the class.
“This project has taught me to be confident in my own work, and I picked up various tips and tricks to public speaking and persuasion.”
It took her some time to adjust to the fast pace of the trimester system at JCU.
Apart from trying to keep up with her lessons, she also has to manage her engagements in several co-curricular activities.
In addition to joining the student council, orientation committee and Christian fellowship, she also started, and became president of, the school’s basketball club.
While these commitments take up a significant amount of time, she has been able to manage her time well and strike a balance.
Another challenge she faces is the independent learning culture of the institution.
She says: “Content is not spoon-fed to students, and I struggled a little as I was used to teachers giving students all the content needed for an assignment.
“However, after meeting friendly seniors and staff, I am not afraid of asking questions and getting help when needed.”
Ms Low’s learning journey thus far has led her to learn three important things: discipline, open-mindedness and the importance of staying curious