Girvan Tay Yang Hong and Mrs Yeo-Tan Yew Tin - NTU Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award

RI alumnus Girvan Tay Yang Hong received the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award (KBHSA) for achieving all-round success at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU). He is grateful to his former RI teacher, Mrs Yeo-Tan Yew Tin, for supporting him in his journey of pursuing Medicine. 

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RI Alumnus Girvan Tay Yang Hong and his former RI teacher, Mrs Yeo-Tan Yew Tin, at the NTU Convocation Ceremony on 19 July. 

Girvan and Mrs Yeo share with us their most impactful experiences together, what success means to them, and their advice to current RI students. 

What is one experience you had with each other that made an impact on you? 

Girvan: On the day of my A level results, I found out that I attained a C grade for English Literature, and my dreams of getting into medical school suddenly seemed to be an insurmountable mountain.

Mrs Yeo and my literature teacher, Ms Prakash, sat down with me at the staff room to discuss the road forward. I would never forget when Mrs Yeo texted me after to say that she'll be more than willing to write my medicine recommendation letter, which she did without fail for three years straight.

If not for Mrs Yeo's encouragement and support, and her belief in me, I would never be where I am today, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Mrs Yeo: Besides being very intelligent, Girvan is also very teachable and humble. He often excels in his academic studies, yet remains down to earth and takes advice positively, making effort to change when the need arises. 

What is your definition of success, and how do you think current RI students can achieve it? 

Girvan: To me, to be successful is to be able to stick to your principles regardless of circumstances. Very often, we look to extrinsic metrics of success such as grades, wealth and titles. However, I’ve learned over time that external metrics will always evolve and change, but the values and standards we set for ourselves do not. 

If you can go to bed contented that what you've done that day is true to yourself and your values – that would be enough. You are successful.

Mrs Yeo: To me, success is when you achieve your goals and makes not only yourself, but also those around you happy. I believe that success that is not enjoyed by others, especially those who have helped you in your journey, lacks some meaning. 

What is one word of advice that you would give current students studying in RI? 

Girvan: I think my one word of advice is to 'find yourself'. I think in RI, in the hectic schedule of exams to pass and tasks to complete, it's easy to just go with the flow and not find our own reasons for doing things. But doing things that truly matter to you brings far greater satisfaction than any achievement, academic or otherwise, will. 

Mrs Yeo: I would advise students to prioritise physical and mental health: Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly, and find healthy ways to manage stress. Do not be afraid to seek support when you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling. Choose things that you like to do rather than choosing based on popularity or usefulness of it: for instance, do not choose to go medicine because many others are choosing it.

We thank Girvan and Mrs Yeo for sharing wonderful insights they have learned in their own journeys, and for inspiring us to keep pursuing excellence and never forget those who have helped us!