Welcome to Part 2 of the Berry Role Model Series. Today, we have with us a very interesting personality, Miss Yvonne Choo from INTI University College Nilai who is multi-talented. Finding a talent like her is difficult, but describing her is even more difficult. Why? Because Berry Berry Easy could not decide on how to introduce her to our Berry Readers, since her interests and skills transcend many boundaries. You can call her a budding scientist, a hardcore ballerina, a keen pianist (she can play the guitar too) and a full-time samaritan. Now, you see why it is so hard to describe her.
She is also the author behind the wonderful compilation of notes and tips found in Yvonne’s Study Guide (as linked on Berry Links) aka Short Square’s Study Guide. Mind you, all her notes are original and created painstakingly by herself. In an interesting twist, her study materials do not only come in notes form, they also come in songs and videos.
Since Berry Berry Easy finds it hard to justify her talents with words, we think it is best if we let Yvonne answer questions about herself. So without further delay, we bring you:
Role Model #2 – Budding Scientist/Cambridge A-Level (Science) Student – Yvonne Choo
1) Who are you?
> I’m Yvonne Choo Shuen Lann, a chinese born Malaysian with a hope to change the world with science. I’m currently pursuing Cambridge A-level at INTI University College Nilai. Proud to say, I’m a former student of SMK Cyberjaya.
2) So what do you do daily as an A-level student? (A typical day routine)
> Basically, I’ll have to wake up early in the morning as the morning class starts at 8. There will be classes from 8 till 12 noon, then comes the 2 hours lunch break before the other half of the day begins from 2 o’clock in the afternoon till 6 in the evening. I’m taking four subjects, that explains why my timetable is always packed. But come to think of it, I feel pretty much content I have 2 hours lab sessions each for the three science subjects that I’m taking mainly Chemistry, Biology and Physics and an hour tutorial session every Friday.
When I return home in the evening, I’ll look through the homework (it’s called tutorial, reports or assignments) before doing them. This way, I’ll be able to make sure everything is well planned. In the evening, if there’s still time, I’ll look through the the topics that was taught by my lecturers and even prepare some topics in advance. This practically sums up my typical day routine as an A-level student.
3) What do you aspire to be in the future?
> I wanted to become a scientist with chemistry as my major and biotechnology as my minor. I also wanted to become a part time author – writing reference books, novels and also journals.
4) Why do you want to be a scientist in the future? Who/What was/is your inspiration?
> Why scientist? It’s a long story… I was not a science enthusiast in my primary school. I dislike science. After all it’s just a subject, I told myself. When the teacher called me to fill up the ambition column, I wrote: scientist, doctor and novelist. Weird ain’t it? But that kept me wondering for a while too. When I was caught scribling in books during science class (I was in standard 4), my science teacher challenged me. ‘What do you want to score in science?’ She asked. I told her ‘an A’. She smiled as that was like the most impossible thing in the world. I scored badly in science when I was young. I think that’s where I began to be more focused in science.
When I stepped into standard 5, I began to think more on science. At that time, the case that was often mentioned was deforestation which will cause catastrophe to the world. That is where I started to think ‘I could change the world’. I dreamed of an invention that till now is still in my diary (hopefully one day, that’ll be my very first invention as a scientist). I showed interest in science when I was in secondary school. My teachers spotted that interest in me and gave me test tubes, conical flask and also beaker as a reward when I got high marks and won in some science competition. My parents bought me a toy microscope and telescope (don’t think it’s a toy and it won’t work) and that had basically filled up my free time. When I was in form 3, I thought I was in loved with biology in particular. But not until I met her, Pn Azura Ishak that I changed my mind. I started dreaming Chemistry all day long when I stepped into From 4. (To tell the truth, every teacher in SMK Cyberjaya inspired me in a way that I could not stop thanking them. Without them, I would not be who I am right now.) Then comes Marie Curie and many other scientist that gave me the idea to be strong and persistent. That is why till now no matter how impossible come to think of it, I will not give up and I think I’ll be able to be a successful scientist in the near future
5) On a personal note, tell us more about your passion for ballet.
> I started learning baby ballet at the age of 3 years old. My parents were the one that brought me there, patiently nurturing me in a way that I started to like ballet. I became greatly in love with ballet when my parents brought me all the way to Macau to watch two ballet by the National Ballet of China. They even bought VIP tickets for me so I could watch in a better view. That was really a memorable event I’d been through. My ballet teacher was there with me so I could enter the theater even the troupe were practicing. The way those ballet dancers dance inspired me to work harder and take ballet more seriously. ‘I am in love with ballet’ I told myself since then.
6) You seemed to have the hunger to help others. So tell us more about your motivation in wanting to produce a blog with study guide to help students.
> I like it when I can help others in the range that I’m capable of. I started making notes for myself since I was in form 4. The notes I made was hand-written on pieces of junk papers I obtained from various sources. Recycling in a way When my grand father saw my notes scattered all over, he volunteered to help me bind them together. I made 3 books for chemistry, 1 for biology, 1 for physics and some leaflets within the two years. One day, when I was preparing for my exams, I found out that the notes I did was more comprehensive than reference books because not many reference books that has everything inside. Some of them focused more on certain topics and neglected the others, some has nothing mentioned about some topics. That’s a disadvantage. ‘Which reference books should students choose then if they want every topic to be explained, should they just buy everything in the market?’ I thought. That’s where I thought of compiling notes from various sources into one. That’s where my notes comes in. ‘If I compile all my notes, everything will be in there and I will not need to spend more to buy every reference books.’
So I began to re-type my notes in the holidays while I revised. And little by little each day, I finally managed to compile some notes in my computer. Since some of my friends did ask me for my notes, I decided to post it online so everyone in need can download and print them for reference. That’s how it all started. The tips for certain subjects was added on due to the demand by readers. Overall, I think it’s a good start for my own book in the future
7) What satisfaction do you gain from producing those study guide?
> It’s not the monetary reward or anything like that that I’d been looking for. It’s the unexplainable satisfaction that comes within when readers and subscribers of my blog tells me that the notes and tips helped them, they improved. That is more than enough. That feeling of being able to contribute, being apprecited and being part of the helping-others family are more than anything in the world. I’ll be even happier when the notes and tips I provided in my blog helped them to score well in SPM!
8 ) Now that you are on track to pursue your dreams, can you give some Words of advice for our readers who wish to chase their dreams.
> I’d always believe in the saying ‘when there’s a will, there’s a way.’ That’s the saying that kept me going for years. When you aim or dream of something for your future, go straight and don’t be easily brought away by other factors. It will be hard at first but when it really comes true, I bet it’s worth sacrificed. Always follow your heart and also your wisdom as nothing is impossible if you believe.
The following work are a subset her passion/work thus far:
- The Electrochemical Series song by Yvonne Choo
- Collection of SPM Science Stream and Mathematics notes available at Yvonne’s Study Guide.
- Game book “Survival Chemistry for Us All” – Form 5 Chapter 3 – Oxidation and Reduction (Check out the cute drawings)
- Original short stories dating back to June 2008 can be found at http://balletrocks92.blogspot.com/
- Last but not least, her talent and love for ballet.
Check out the photos of Yvonne the Ballerina in the gallery below.
So there you go, Ms Yvonne Choo, the person whom was described by many as “someone that likes to contribute”. We think that is an understatement for this bundle of helpful energy. Just click on the links and visit her sites, then you’ll know why. Do drop us a line too if you find her inspiring.