From Timeout to Triumph: Meet Class of 2024 Paris L

Dulwich College Beijing

This article is part of a series featuring some of our outgoing Year 13 students, their life at DCB, where they’re going, and their advice for students on their journey to university.

Paris with her university offers

For an avid sportsperson, a year-long injury can feel like a season-ending timeout. This was also the case for our Class of 2024 Paris L, who played on various DCB sports teams including volleyball, basketball, and football, only to be benched for a year to recover from her ACL injury. 

The team placed second at the 2018-2019 ISAC-Tianjin Football U13 Girls Football The team placed second at the 2018-2019 ISAC-Tianjin Football U13 Girls Football

However, Paris didn't let this setback discourage her. Instead, she used this time to discover a new passion and gain a clearer vision of her future goals. As a result, she is now thrilled to soon embark on an exciting journey at the University of Toronto, 6th in the world for its exceptional sports-related courses, to take up Kinesiology, more commonly referred to as Sports Medicine.

First day of school in Year 6 First day of school in Year 6

In this piece, our former Football Team Captain and College Links Prefect Paris L shares her DCB journey and some advice to our younger students venturing on their own university journeys as well.

Dulwich College Beijing’s Class of 2024 Dulwich College Beijing’s Class of 2024

Reflect and Improve: Growth at DCB

Paris’ favourite memory of her first year in DCB was of a memorable football tournament in Phuket. And while she remembers the drive to win the championship, she also remembers how fun it was to be able to stay with her teammates abroad.

Her sports journey was unfortunately interrupted by an ACL injury that kept her away from sports for a year. “I was unable to play for a year; I could walk but couldn’t engage in sports because the risk of my ACL tearing again was too big, and if I tore it again, I wouldn’t have been able to walk.”

Post -surgical treatment after tearing her ACL Post -surgical treatment after tearing her ACL

However, during this time off, she began pursuing singing and even became one of the founding members of the vocal group, The Soulful Sisters. That’s when she decided that, even when challenges arose, she needed to think positively. “I worked on changing my mindset, especially towards things I can't control; I can only do what I can do. So, I just try my best and then see what happens.”  

Handball Tournament Handball Tournament
3rd place at the 2018-2019 Beijing – Tianjin U13 Girls Basketball Tournament 3rd place at the 2018-2019 Beijing – Tianjin U13 Girls Basketball Tournament
The team placed second at the 2018-2019 ISAC-Tianjin Football U13 Girls Football The team placed second at the 2018-2019 ISAC-Tianjin Football U13 Girls Football
At a volleyball tournament At a volleyball tournament

DCB Life 

Paris discovered a passion for music, playing the flute before Year 10 before eventually transitioning to singing in her band and choirs. She even joined Pop Idol where she successfully reached the semi-finals. This jumpstarted her involvement in the music-based ECA (Extracurricular activity) Project Nightingale, which raises funds for less fortunate students in Myanmar who are unable to pay for basic school necessities such as textbooks.  

Moonlight Madness Moonlight Madness

When invites for Prefect applications came around, she applied for one position but was instead offered another position: the College Links Prefect. “I used to be an introvert,” she admitted, “but my experiences here at DCB have made me a more sociable person. I needed to talk to more people and became better at it. And as Prefect I was able to help solve problems I experienced before.” 

College Links Prefect College Links Prefect

The problems she was referring to were IGCSE and IB course selections, and as one of the College Links Prefect, she helped facilitate sessions where older students shared their experiences with younger students about to transition into the IGCSE and the IB. “For IGCSE, I liked my choices except for one,” she admitted, shaking her head at the memory of having gone through a course she thought she would love but found out she didn’t like it at all. “But as a Year 9 student, I didn't know what to choose at that time, or how to choose. That’s why I think that it’s really important for younger students to know what their interests and hobbies are. That way they end up choosing a subject not just because they think they’ll be interested in it, but so that they know that they’re interested in it.”

By students, of students, and for students: The College Link Prefects By students, of students, and for students: The College Link Prefects

“My teammates and I planned and recruited students who had studied specific IGCSE subjects and created an opportunity for Year 9 students to ask them questions. We also did this for Year 11 students about to go into the IB. This helped students be more informed, know the subject better and whether they would really like to choose in the future.” 


Why Grades – Good or Bad – Don’t Reflect Passion

If grades were a basis for one’s passion for a subject, a look at Paris’ grades in IGCSE Physical Education might mistake hers for disinterest. But she knew better. “During IGCSE, I took up Physical Education but didn’t have good grades. However, I continued pushing through and succeeded to a certain extent, partly because I liked the subject but also partly because of my past experiences of getting injured and requiring surgery.” 

Nonetheless, she was grateful for her IGCSE and IB experiences. “Not only did studying for the IGCSE help me with my examination skills, but it also prepared my mindset towards the examination. While some schools have external exams before the IB, they don't have the examination conditions where they do their test. For example, In preparation for IB, we did four mock exams and midterms and other testing preparations such as exam competitions. So I felt more ready going into my exams.” 

FOBISIA tournament FOBISIA tournament

University Decision

Her experiences led her to pursue kinesiology, and she wanted to do it in Canada. Like some of our students who choose Canada, it’s mainly because of family. “If I need support, my relatives are just there. But also, the University of Toronto and that area has amazing food,” she said, grinning at the thought.

“I’m looking forward to the course because not only is it really good, but they also provide internships and co-op opportunities for us to gain experience, shadow professionals at work, and increase our chances of finding a job like it. And of course, the good food,” she chuckled.

When asked to share her thoughts with our younger students on preparing for university, here is what she said:


1. Don’t start too early; get a headstart on your IAs (Internal Assessments).

I started preparing at the beginning of Year 10, researching and talking to the university counsellors. I realise now that starting too early can drain you to the point where finding out that I got my first choice for residence doesn’t even excite me anymore.

So I suggest starting at the middle of Year 11, or during the summer holidays after Year 11 – after IGCSE but before IB. Also, get your IAs done during this time.


2. Eat properly.

Don't skip meals; eat what you want to eat. Don't care about gaining weight. Stress makes you lose weight anyway, so eating properly will make you happy and motivate you to study.


3. Set small goals.

The sense of achievement that you get after accomplishing one little goal at a time can help you continue pushing through the challenges.


4. Learn a subject because you want to, not because of what grades you’ll get

Don't over-stress yourself and when choosing your IGCSE subjects, just have fun with it. Enjoy the subject; learn it because you like it, and when you like what you’re learning you won’t find it as burdensome. This is how I felt with PE, the subject that I engaged in the most. Enjoy it while you can because once you get to IB, you will need to give all subjects your full attention. So don’t get fed up with a subject even before you get to the IB.

Engage in your hobby at earlier years and just don't put all yourself in studying because it's not going to help in the long run. And yeah, just enjoy school life because it only happens once

Volleyball Team at DCB Volleyball Team at DCB

When asked who she would thank, she thanked the teachers and the support staff. “Our lives would definitely not be the same without you.” 

Spartan Tournament October 2020 Spartan Tournament October 2020
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At Dulwich College International, we aim to foster lifelong relationships with our alumni, also known as International Old Alleynians (IOAs). The Worldwise Alumni Network (WAN) is a powerful professional and social community for IOAs to forge and maintain lasting bonds and a powerful professional and social platform for alumni and current students to be Together, Anywhere.