Hello! My name is Shaheen, but everybody calls me Sha. I am honored to be given the opportunity to study at Pearson College UWC.
I am a student, born and raised here in Singapore, “the garden city”. A city-girl through and through, I'm only comfortable slightly off the brink of frenzy. Bustling streets, hectic schedules, almost cultishly always wearing all-black, backpack filled with snacks and candy, and a resting face ceaselessly thinking about the next problem (which others often interpret as a Resting ‘Bothered’ Face). Here in Singapore, stress and working yourself to death is part and parcel of life. Growing up and studying here has taught me a lot about discipline and persistence, independence and perseverance (sometimes at my own peril). I attended Singapore Chinese Girls’ School as one of the few minority students there, in the the Integrated Programme, a scheme that allows high-performing students in secondary schools in Singapore to skip the GCE O-Level examination and proceed to sit for the GCE A-Level examination. There, I received the Eagles Award from MOE in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and was recognized by Mendaki as one of the 346 highest achievers in the nation. Despite the stress, hardship, and sometimes even injustice in SCGS, I made some of the greatest friends who I consider like family. Much of who I am today is shaped by and in spite of my experiences there.
Another thing that has solidified my values of discipline, strength and perseverance is my musical background. At the young age of 4, I picked up the violin and have been living by that decision ever since. Having to motivate myself to put in those two hours a day despite the literal mountains of school work or the tempting calls to catch a movie with friends is quite a feat, but nothing compared to having a bedroom right next to the kitchen with the temptation of food every waking (and sleeping) hour. Music has given me the privilege to see much of the world and perform in amazing places. At the age of 11, I flew to Beijing after getting invited to the Beijing Conservatory of music for a performance, and in 2015, I had the privilege to perform at Carnegie hall in New York City. In 2016 I performed in the beautiful and historical Xi'an International Film Festival and won the 1st place in the Malaysia Music Foundation Strings Competition which took place in Kuala Lumpur. After completing my Diploma in violin, I started a non-profit effort along with a tight knit group of close friends and my two sisters; Providing music lessons to less fortunate children at Toa Payoh CC in which I teach a group of excellent kids violin and music theory. The violins, scores and such are all sponsored and donated through donation drives that family, friends and I conducted. Through violin, my worldview, capability to memorize 9 pages of repetitive Bach, finger strength, ability to count fractions and knowledge of extremely unnecessary random facts about Beethoven's personal life, and worldview has greatly broadened.
Exploring the world and learning more about other cultures is something I feel very strongly about, with a mixed race heritage and multilingual upbringing. In 2014, I took part in a 2 month long exchange program in planète Langues Rambouillet, France. Being the youngest in the school at the time, the experience was eye-opening for me and solidified my desire to learn more and make sense of the world around me. I am excited to have the opportunity to explore that more from an educational and personal sense from the little microcosm of the world, in UWC.
Despite the accolades I have garnered, I am just a dorky 17 year-old girl who cries watching Toy Story and sneaks into the kitchen to eat cereal at 3am, craves watching horror movies then has trouble sleeping for weeks, memorizes Disney songs (and the monologues in between them). I am just a normal girl, and I am endlessly thankful and excited to be given this opportunity to receive a UWC education and meet amazing people from all over the world.