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NUS – The Compassionate Fighter


Why did you choose the NUS Scholarship?
I am extremely passionate about fencing, and it has been an important part of my life since I was twelve. This made me determined to continue competitive fencing in university. Thus, out of the vast number of scholarships available locally, the NUS Sports Scholarship appealed to me most because of its unique emphasis on achieving both academic and sporting excellence.
The scholarship is the first of its kind amongst local public universities and it is a relatively new scheme. On top of giving scholars the freedom to continue pursuing their sports at a competitive level, it provides ample opportunities for scholars to enhance their university sporting career, from representing the university at international competitions (e.g. the Asean University Games and the World University Games) to attending international sporting events (e.g. the biennial FISU Forum).

What was the selection process like?
For the NUS Sports Scholarship, I had to go through two rounds of interviews. The panel for my first interview consisted of the Vice-Dean of Students, the Deputy Director of Student Life, the Associate Director of Sports and two NUS Sports Managers. They wanted to find out more about my fencing experiences, and they asked me to give them some reasons as to why they should give me the scholarship. I was shortlisted for the second round a few days later.
In the second round, the Provost, the Associate Director of Sports, an NUS Sports Manager and two other senior faculty members interviewed me. In this interview, they mostly wanted to see if I would be able to handle the pressure of excelling in both studies and sports. They asked me to describe my past setbacks and how I overcame them, and asked me how I would live up to my scholar status if I were to receive the scholarship. Though both interviews were definitely challenging, the interviewers were generally friendly, which made me feel more at ease.

Why do you think you were awarded the scholarship, and what are the qualities that a scholar should possess?
To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I had received the scho-larship. Each year, many talented individuals apply for the NUS Scholarships, and I am truly blessed and honoured to have been chosen for this scholarship. I think my portfolio could have stood out from others, as since secondary school I have been actively involved in community service on top of my fencing commitments. In addition, I am very committed to my sport, and I really wanted this scholarship – perhaps my earnestness and enthusiasm showed through during my interviews.
Apart from being an all-rounded individual, one who excels in both academics and extra-curricular activities, I believe that a scholar should be responsible, passionate, hardworking and able to handle pressure well. Responsible because he/she is an ambassador of the school, and is given privileges that should be used appropriately; passionate because he/she can then reach out to and inspire others, and the ability to handle pressure, as he/she will be expected to meet high standards consistently. I strongly believe that it is ­important for scholars to have a good heart as well. As individuals who have received much, they should give back to society whenever possible, and look out for the people around them.

What are the benefits of taking up the NUS Scholarship?
As the NUS Sports Scholarship fully covers my tuition fees, the financial burden on my parents has been greatly alleviated, especially when medical studies are rather costly. In addition, there are scholar enrichment grants available (which can subsidise up to 50 percent of an enrichment programme’s fees), and the scholars are given opportunities to represent NUS at various international sporting events. On top of these benefits, NUS Sports Scholars also receive extensive support in the areas of academics and sports; NUS has been extremely accommodating of my busy competition schedule, and my tutors and peers are always willing to help explain concepts if needed.
How has your NUS experience been, and what programmes and activities have you participated in so far?
My past year in NUS has been nothing short of amazing – I am really enjoying my course, and I have had the chance to meet so many people both within and outside of my faculty. During my first year in Medicine, I helped out at a few health screening events, participated in the inaugural MedNurse Games (a sporting event held between local medical and nursing students), and joined Project Happy Apples, a programme through which we befriended palliative care patients. These activities were both fun and meaningful! In addition, we have a house system within our faculty that is designed to give students a sense of belonging. My House 6 is extremely close-knit, and they have been my source of strength and happiness throughout the past year.
Outside of Medicine, I am a member of the NUS varsity fencing team. I have represented NUS at several competitions so far, and I am thankful for the support and encouragement of my teammates.
In addition, I joined Project Picolove II (an Overseas Community Involvement Programme) in Semester 2 where we stayed in Pa Bong Village, Laos, for 15 days.There, we helped in the construction of a retaining wall for a new school and conducted simple healthcare and interactive lessons for the village children. It was truly an eye-opening and humbling experience, and I am grateful for this opportunity to work with such kind-hearted and passionate individuals. The lessons I learned, memories I made and friendships I forged through the project are priceless, and will stay with me for many years to come!

Celine Chong Rui Yun
NUS Sports Scholarship
Age: 20
Now: Pursuing Bachelor
of Medicine and Bachelor
of Surgery
From: Raffles Institution