letter to class of 2016

Our 2017 annual letter is addressed to our dear A-Level graduates, who in 2016 worked hard together with us to strive for the best results possible. This letter also goes out to everyone who is receiving your results on Friday. We believe that most of us share a similar chapter in this journey and we hope that the lessons to our students can be extended to you as well.

(Click here to scroll down if you are not an ex-Advo student) or you can just read everything to get an insider glimpse into life at Advo and take your mind off for a bit.

We always look forward to Fridays. After a long week at school, we get really excited about the weekends and most of us are just really happy about the fact that we get to catch up on sleep. #TGIF

 

This coming Friday, it just feels different. I know you know where this is heading – the A-Level Results Day. Yes, it is finally here. Stop here and just breathe in, breathe out. I’m sure there’s a cocktail of emotions stirring within you. You guys may have different levels of performance during the A-Level exams, and we are all human so we get similar feelings like nervousness, excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and so on. There’s a saying that time is the only thing that moves on without waiting for us, so let’s make a decision to be forward-looking and receive the results with an open mind.

I’d like to use this opportunity to thank you. Advo is special because of you.

Remember how you felt when you were sitting in our preview recalling the grades that you previously scored for your tests? You were listing all your subjects on a piece of paper that was attached onto the clipboard as wrote down dismal grades at the side for each subject. Many of you wore a rather complex expression and from our experience, we understood that it was a process of realization and acknowledgement of how undesirable your grades were. Immediately afterwards, the speaker of the preview would then explain to you that over here in Advo, we only work towards scoring an ‘A’ in the very next test. #Confuzzled #DoWhateverItTakes

 

‘‘How are we going to do that?’’

‘‘This place is crazy!’’

“I’ve never gotten an A before, what the xxxx”

“Ok, what have I gotten myself into?”

 

Typical responses that we get all the time. But we really love challenges, or rather- we love working through your challenges with you. We believe that no matter your past results, each and every of you has the ability and potential to create new results. We want to be on your side, even when everyone else (including yourself) thinks that you cannot make it anymore. To make things happen, we posed you the toughest, most awkward question you had to answer in a while.

“Are you ready to change, to change your results?”

This question was meant to challenge your commitment and determine your readiness to start working towards the results you truly desired. If you recall, you probably gave a really awkward ‘yes’ and hoped that it was enough to convince the speaker to let you off. Haha we have seen too much of these situations. But really, our hearts go out to you and we only have so much time and resources to work with a limited number of students. We can only work with those who are ready to work on themselves. Just like that, we foolishly and wholeheartedly believe in all our students no matter what and we dive head first into working with you.

 

Well to be fair, as much as we judged your attempts at mustering the best “YES” you could manage on the spot, most of you probably judged us really hard throughout your entire journey with us as well.

We are authentic beings, on stage and off stage.

We take pride in our happy and homely environment. Yes, perhaps it is too much like a home that we find you guys lounging and falling asleep in the open grass patch area. Also a rather noticeable aspect of Advo, or rather patently eye-catching, would be our coaches sporting wildly-colored hair and walking around the premises. Remember Ruth’s flame gradient hair aka Charmander’s tail, and Kris’ lilac mushroom hair aka cotton candy fluff? Yeah, we believe we can carry off any style and outfit we like and we have confidence to present ourselves without fearing the loss of our professional image. #YOLO

Power Revision. Powerful lah

Oh and remember when you guys signed up willingly for our Power Revision (PR) in June and September? The feedback: many parents were extremely (and pleasantly) shocked. Yes- because they couldn’t believe that you’d want to go through 6 – 12 hours of intensive lesson per day studying and spend your precious holidays at a “tuition centre”. Thank you for making that decision. PR with you guys was truly one amazing hell of a ride. The coaches wanted to deliver all that we know, all our top strategies, our expertise in the subject matter: all to be transferred to you. Yes it was super intense, and best of all, really hilarious with many inside jokes. Oh and of course, we’re not forgetting the many meals we spent together during breaks.

 

Probably up to this point that you are reading, you are looking back and questioning yourself – Did you really have that much fun? How could the process of working for an ‘A’ grade actually be enjoyable when we pumped in so many hours cooped up in the same classroom, going through so many concept maps, practising question after question unceasingly?

You guys are outta your mind.

Do we need to remind you? We are possibly the ONLY “tuition centre” that throws a huge Halloween party and gets super hyped about it. No worries, we have your screaming videos and unglamorous wig-wearing photos to freshen those memories. I can’t believe we used our premises to create a “Haunted House” that was so freaking scary that people were afraid to enter it. I call it truly a success because even the crew members themselves were fearful to enter. It would not have been half as fun if it weren’t for you guys stepping up and contributing in the organization of the event.

 

Thank you for being so inclusive. It is a stereotypically \-known fact that JC is the “coolest” time of your life, but you guys were really integrative and allowed us to all bond together. The USS Halloween outing was truly memorable and as I look back at the photos, I realize that we all just hang out together despite the decade-wide age gap.

We give you the Good Stuff. We are the REAL DEAL. (No drugs were involved in this transaction)

Yes I know, we are crazy. But it’s precisely because we are crazy, that we do things people normally wouldn’t do, in order to get the results we want. That includes making you guys do mock papers according to the real A Level timing, just so we can tune your body clock and simulate the actual scenario of your exams as closely as possible. We make sacrifices together with all you students, we wake up earlier than others and we go to sleep much later than anyone because we want to give you the best papers with questions hand-picked and designed by us. Right here, I’d like to thank you guys for taking care of the coaches as well, offering to buy food and drinks for us when we are marking stacks of papers in order to return the papers on the same day.

The Stress, Frustration and Meltdown

No I’m not going to be writing about Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Advo already has enough drama to last many seasons. Some of the students we encountered “just don’t get Math”, but we never once believe in such nonsense. We know that it takes time and clever techniques to help you see the light. Of course, some of you see the light faster than others, and those lagging behind would often tell me that the light at the end of the tunnel is the train heading towards them. Nearing to the examinations, the stress was real and the tears were rolling. We were here for you when you cried and then proud of you when you picked yourself up. We know that deep down, you are emotional because you want the results badly enough. The tears of frustration come from the expectations you’ve now learnt to place upon yourself. You’ve stopped down-sizing your dreams now that you have a whole community of like minded-peers who dare to dream, alongside with us coaches who support your dreams every step of the way. You want to get the concepts right and for once in your life you are more determined than ever to beat the crap out of Math and emerge victorious.

Heartbreaks and struggles

“It’s not you, it’s me.” You may have heard this or even used it before. Here’s the truth, we coaches go through this phase multiple times a year. At the start when we take in a new student, both of us are committed 100% to work hard and to strive towards an A. But not all relationships are a bed of roses, sometimes it starts off really well with great chemistry and focus, but familiarity breeds contempt and sometimes the students just get distracted or disinterested along the way. This is where “quarrels” and “talks” are inevitable, just like how couples argue, the coaches do our best to get you to see our best intentions and put in extra effort to make things work. When we tell you loudly “PAY ATTENTION”, “This is going to be the last time I’m repeating this”, “Go home lah”, actually we are just humans with emotions as well. We want to get your attention, focus and time.

 

We understand that at the end of the day, when you don’t perform up to expectations, it’s not just about you. It’s us too: he fact that we didn’t manage to get you out of your bubble, we didn’t inspire you enough to work hard for yourself and the fact that it wasn’t our 100% together.

Well A-Level kids, you may have gone through your journey with

us thinking that you learnt Math, Science, Economics and GP.

Here are the REAL lessons that we have been teaching you all these while:

1. Dream BIG. You can do more than you think you can.

Why do we keep harping on the best grade which is an “A” and nothing else? Because once your focus is there, you will only zoom in on the target and would not want to settle for anything less. All of us goes to school wanting to achieve 10/10 for our first spelling test, but along the way when school gets more challenging, we start to downsize our dreams and we start to tell ourselves that we can go for more practical and ‘”realistic” targets. Imagine if in the long haul, you no longer have a dream job, dream car and dream house, and you simply settle for practicality and tell yourself that your dreams belong to someone else who is more successful. By letting you see how hard work and effort can make a big difference in results, we hope that the next time you have fleeting thoughts about giving up your dreams, you stay focus and grit your teeth through the process!

Dream BIG, you are the driver of your own path to achieving more in life.

2. Pursue success relentlessly. It’s really fun!

Face it, when you think of working hard for your examinations, you’d probably think that the whole process is a tiresome and dreadful one. But hey, didn’t your journey with Advo prove otherwise? How many times did you laugh heartily in class, how many times did your coach actually say something legit funny, or have you and your friends actually wanted to stay back after classes because you enjoyed the environment so much? Yes we advocate working your ass off, but more importantly we want you to do it happily because it is 100% possible! Getting good results is not all about pumping hours, battling fatigue and exerting discipline. It is doing all of the above with a group of awesome people and being in a community that supports you every step of the way.

3. Gratitude. Be grateful towards all outcomes.

In Advo, we value relationships and every individual who crosses our path. We often take on multiple roles and become your coach, advisor, entertainer and friend all at once. During mock exams when you underperformed and felt disheartened by your results, we hope that you see it not as “failure” but as a valuable lesson learnt. Things will always happen, but it is up to us to shift our perspective to create the final outcome. This is possibly the toughest concept to impart to our students, but the next time you feel like nothing is going your way, do remember and tell yourself “Everything happens for a good reason”. The events in life, the people we meet, all this does not simply just happen to you. Everything happens in order to educate, influence, challenge, or change you for the better.

This includes meeting us and having Advo in your life!

The release of results

At the end of the day, your A Level results serves as feedback on how you have performed for your examinations. It measures your grades and your rank points- which enable you to gain entry to the university and course of your choice. Your results however, do not measure your IQ, EQ, post-academic success, happiness level and many other factors and metrics that will determine your future. So what am I saying?

 

No matter the results, GO OUT AND CELEBRATE! I mean c’mon you have gone through the exams and you cannot change your grades (unless you retake the paper), so just spend the day rejoicing for whatever grades you have achieved. You have been gifted more choices to make and new adventures to take! It is normal to feel overwhelmingly happy, disappointed, neutral and even in some cases, lost. Soak in the experience and set a cut-off time for yourself: it can be two hours, two days, two weeks- you decide. But make it known to the people around you, because they are concerned and they care. Let them know you need the space. When the time is up, get serious and make new decisions, after all this is more important than becoming entirely consumed by the results. Find people who have the capacity to communicate and give you the response you seek.

 

PS: Advo coaches are great candidates if you are looking for listeners, advisors and generally people with a sense of humor. We are also great eaters and super cool about meet ups (in case you want to treat us to a meal).

Bad results are not ok. That’s not what I’m saying.

In the event that your results are bad, I’m guessing people will tell you that “It’s ok.” Actually, it’s NOT ok. Be brave and take your results in, admit that they are bad, or not fine, or better than what they seem. Why? Because I want you to understand that this exact feeling that you are experiencing can be the most very valuable takeaway in this A Level journey. It means that your way of approaching the exams was not the best way to give you results; perhaps you were too unfocused, or started preparing too late. It is probably a combination of factors that you must seek to identify and understand. Now, what’s more important is to learn and the next time you face another opportunity in the form of examinations, competition, career advancement or just about anything that is of titanic importance to you, make sure that you give your best and create new results for yourself. Your past results do not determine your future results and your A Level results do not determine your future, because your beliefs and actions are what matter much more.

To really sum up everything, there’s only one thing I’d like to express:

In your journey with Advo so far, we hope that we have been able to make your A- Level a little more enjoyable and fun. I’m 100% certain that each and every one of you have improved a hell lot from day one when you stepped into our premises. The coaches witnessed your improvements in mocks and prelims, and it makes us happy because we know that you worked hard for this. We want you to know that if you can conquer your worst nemesis subject, just apply the same attitude to other challenges in life. The next time you struggle with work, remember how you got started with your A-Level preparation and know that things do get easier and better. You are so much more than where you started from.

 

Of course, you guys are not the easiest to handle. As a coach, I do feel sad when I see people wanting to give up. Sometimes there’s this feeling where I think I’m not enough. On the other hand, I’m also very encouraged when I see people improve and start to pass or even ace the subject. That’s the life of being a coach. If you think I’m influencing and impacting you, well, I’m telling you that it goes both ways.

 

As we watch each batch graduate, there’s always this special emotion where we feel like proud parents witnessing you grow up. We are very thankful to be an integral part of your life, no matter if you have been with us for many years or just a few months. We may not look like the most legit “tuition” centre (stop nodding your head), but I can firmly say that the Advo team wholeheartedly believes that every one of you can make it and we did our very best to make that happen.

 

In the coming years, we may no longer be your coaches, but we will always be your friends and mentors. If you need advice on how to do well in University, how to get girls (or guys), how to have the perfect hair colour-gradient and style, how to earn money during your undergrad years, etc. These courses are now open for registration, please text or email to reserve your slots! Limited seats! OK JOKING, JUST TEXT ADE DIRECTLY.

 

As much as you think that Advo transformed your results, or that Advo changed your life, the coaching team wants you to know that through this process you have impacted our lives in more ways than you can imagine. Every lesson we teach you, we grow ourselves to be better individuals, we challenge ourselves to over-deliver, and we find joy in what we do. Thank you, Class of 2016.

 

We wish you all the very best in your future endeavors. A is easy and success is EASY!

Stay awesome

Ruth Li

On behalf of the Advo Team