VBest talks to Koh Shariell
Koh Shariell is a former Sri KL student, fellow ATHENAEANS and a former VBest IGCSE student. She was a school house captain and was active in sports while maintaining good academic grades throughout her high school years. She is currently pursuing Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) in Sunway College.
Q: Can you describe what your typical day was like back then in high school?
A: During sports seasons, in some mornings I would have to skip classes for competitions or training. After that, I would be in class for the rest of the school hours. I would have training after school for about an hour and a half till 6.30pm and I would get home at around 7pm. I am usually exhausted by then but I still had responsibilities in hand. I would spend my night doing some yellow house work and look at some of my classwork till 2am and then I would go to sleep.
Q: What does a school house captain do?
A: Basically a school house captain manages the activities of the house and the way the members behave in school. Being a house captain doesn’t mean that you are doing all the work but instead, you are the one assigning work to your committee members and they would have to get back to you as soon as possible. You will be the one doing all the paperwork before turning it in to the teachers. Basically, it is like a manager because you have to do some coordination and make sure everything is intact.
Q: How do you balance as a school captain with studies and sports?
A: I would sacrifice sleep (laugh). To be honest, I always prioritize my house responsibilities over sports and academics because I chose to be responsible for 300 other students. Sports and academics are secondary but it doesn’t mean that I neglect them. I still do them but house responsibilities are my priority during sports season and after that, I would focus on my studies during exam sessions.
Q: Which one do you think is more important for a student, academics or sports?
A: For me, I do think that academics is more important because I believe that good academic achievement can bring you further in life. Sports is only temporary and you might not excel far in it.
Q: Would you say that you focus more on sports?
A: Only during sports season I would focus on yellow house stuff, and after that, I would just focus on academics. I know that I cannot go that far in sports but I still try my best.
Q: What would you advise if a person takes a lot of leadership roles until he/she neglects his/her studies?
A: Holding multiple responsibilities basically means you are somewhat a leader and you are supposed to be a role model too. There are people that look up to you and would always be watching whatever you are doing regardless of sports or studies. They just want to know how you excel in stuff. I would advise that person to learn to manage his/her time to balance both. Time management is important when you have multiple responsibilities.
Q: How did you prioritize when you have many responsibilities?
A: You have to plan out what’s more important. Let’s say there is an event happening tomorrow. You have to try to get that done as soon as possible and then try to put in some time to your study too. Just make sure that you are caught up with your classes and you know what was happening in class.
Q. What was your parents’ attitude when you were busy with extracurricular activities?
A: I live with my godmother and she was super supportive. Every morning, she would get up early to prepare school lunch and snacks for me to make sure that I am eating right. Knowing that I am tired and hungry after evening trainings, she would always get me food so that I'll be able to eat in the car too. She would drive me to competitions even though it is outstation. Sometimes she would offer help if I need to get some paperwork done. She is always there to encourage me to do my best because all these experiences do not just come around easily and are priceless.
Q: What would you say to parents who want their children to focus only on academics?
A: I would say extracurricular activities allows their child to gain health benefits and also gain life skills in many different ways.
Q: Would you say family support is important when you are very active in extracurricular activities?
A: Yea, of course.
Q: Can you tell about a time you were under lots of pressure? What was going on, and how did you get through it?
A: It was in 2020 during the annual road relay. So the night before, I had a MSSS competition and was really exhausted. When I got home at night, I was told last minute that the athletics captain were not able to get their job done. I had to take matters into hand and get it done myself. It took me the entire night to get it near perfect and I was only able to get 2 hours of sleep before I leave my house for our annual road relay. I was one of the runners too but I still had to make sure that the event was running smoothly and that I also put in the effort to run as fast as I can. After finishing my race, I felt lightheaded and wasn’t able to walk properly because of the lack of sleep.
Q: How do you build support from people around you?
A: Generally my friends and family have been really supportive, so I would say that you can share your knowledge or experience with people to gain their understanding and support.
Q: What did you gain from all these high school experiences? Do you have any regrets?
A: Honestly, there are no regrets! I had a lot of fun throughout my entire high school life and was able to gain friendship, communication skills, independence and the list just goes on. So it was a really good experience and I was also able to get satisfactory grades for IGCSE in the end. So it was worth it, it was really worth it.
Q: Was there a teacher who had a particularly strong influence on your life? Tell me about him/her?
A: No, there wasn’t. There are teachers that provide guidance every now and then but there wasn’t anyone specific. In Sri KL, they would want students to do things on their own and try to be as independent as possible. Unless you really cannot handle something, you would then have to ask for guidance from them.
Q: What is your greatest achievement as a student?
A: As a student in general, I just had fun in my entire high school life. I was able to gain a lot of knowledge from it. For instance, as a student, you have to work hard then you can also play hard. So, I was able to gain really good sporting results while having a great time with my friends and family.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Honestly not too sure because I'm a person who usually goes with the flow but I’m sure I will be done with uni by then. I do hope that I find a job that I’m passionate about while being able to explore the world and gain experiences.
Thank you Shariell for taking her time to talk to us about her highschool life and experiences during her time in Sri Kuala Lumpur International School (Sri KL). All the best to her in her college life! And wishing Shariell a bright future ahead!
Interview and written by Ms Teoh Jing Qi
Written and edited by Ms Shwu-Tiinn