Joshua Jared Gan from Catholic Junior College (CJC) was discovered to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when he was only in Primary 2.
Despite his struggle to concentrate in school and an addiction to computer games, Gan sat for his GCE A Levels last year and when results were released on March 3, he had scored a University Entrance Score of 90 points.
Every Higher 1 subject offered at the GCE A Levels is worth 10 points for an A grade, while the same grade for a Higher 2 subject is counted as 20 points. Gan had scored 3As each for both for Higher 1 and Higher 2 subject.
The Humanities student shared with CatholicNews that he used to be a “crazy kid, running around doing stupid stuff all the time”.
In addition, he had a gaming addiction, which he admitted was the biggest challenge he faced, because he would “crave the fast pace of games” and did not like “how slow reality is”.
He also had a “bit more trouble paying attention [and] during exams would space out a bit”, but fortunately he “had extra time to make up for it”.
Previously from Rosyth Primary School and St Gabriel’s Secondary School, he eventually chose CJC because he “really liked the culture when I went for the open house”.
Looking back at his two years in CJC, he said his ADHD “only hit me during exams” when he would “space out sometimes” and he occasionally found “lectures a bit hard to follow”.
He would then “read the study notes on my own time to catch up with what was being taught”, to the extent that he would even help his classmates “who weren’t doing so well”.
He also counted the school’s IGNITE programme as “quite a blessing”, because this framework comprised mainly tutorials and very few lectures so he found it easier to cope.
Mr Marc Lim, Gan’s Literature teacher, told CatholicNews, “He did strike me as a warm, cheerful student but did appear, in local discourse, the ‘blur’ sort. I … only learned formally from another teacher that he had this condition some time in Term 2 [of his JC1 year]”.
However, his work, “especially that in JC2, saw a great improvement. I could see that he was picking up the structures and applying assiduously what he learned into his work,” he said.
Mr Lim added, “While he doesn’t immediately strike you as a very diligent student, I came to know that he would try his best to revise and review his work outside of class.”
Regarding his academic achievement at the GCE A Levels, Gan told CatholicNews, “I would attribute it to the caring teachers, they’re all very passionate about what they do and that sort of rubbed off on me I guess.”
They “saw me as an ordinary student” and the “best thing they did was not treat me specially, but when I needed an extra nudge they would give it”, he said.
He said his teachers didn’t give him excessive special treatment. “But I must say, they are some of the best teachers in my life. They inspired me in their own ways to work hard and to focus,” he added.
Gan plans to pursue further studies after he completes National Service: in the National University of Singapore’s Law faculty, study Business in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, or go to Harvard University.
By Clara Lai