2020 is a year that will remain strongly etched in Pearlyn’s mind. For many of her peers, it was remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced schools to shut and students to adapt to new learning environments. 18-year-old Pearlyn Chen had to deal with this, and more. Overnight, Pearlyn grew up quickly, as her father had suffered from an unexpected stroke during the Circuit Breaker period. She had to be a strong pillar of support for her mother who was now the sole breadwinner for the family. As an older sibling, Pearlyn also felt a responsibility to shield her sister from the emotional turmoil at home and to retain a sense of normalcy. Pearlyn soldiered on as a dutiful daughter, working part-time, making time for countless hospital visits and even helping with the household chores despite her fatigue.
When asked what kept her going, Pearlyn paid tribute to a warm college environment as her source of strength. “My friends and teachers were really my pillars of support. Without their constant encouragement, I would not have had the strength to sit through the lessons and tests.” Pearlyn appreciated how her CTs, Ms Zaleena and Mr Aloysius Foo approached her to ask how she was doing when they first came to know of her situation. Their expressions of care were not once-off fleeting encounters but sustained throughout her A Level journey.
In spite of her own situation, it was greatly admirable that Pearlyn also found within her the strength to give. She remembers the support and love she had come into and wanted to do the same for others. “I enjoy helping others – I feel a certain joy when I see those around me happy.” It is with this same spirit that Pearlyn hopes to pursue a degree in Social Work in the university – an indomitable conviction to overcome whatever life throws at her, and give back to those around her.