Insights From an Insider: Suzanne Chan 

By the SMU Digital Marketing team  

As a student at the SMU College of Integrative Studies (CIS), Suzanne Chan enjoys a unique university experience: the one-year Deferred Declaration of Degree programme allows her to explore her interests and talents without pre-committing to a specific degree programme. 

At the end of her first year, Suzanne was invited to apply for the Bachelor of Integrative Studies programme, allowing her to take up various modules based on her individualised major, rather than a set of pre-requisite modules. 

Of course, she did not have to navigate her educational journey alone. Under the guidance of her assigned faculty advisor and industry mentor, she’s been able to design a study plan tailored to her interests in sustainable consumption and marketing. 

Read on to learn more about Suzanne’s transformative experience at SMU!  


Describe an unforgettable experience at SMU.

My outdoor experiences with SMUXploration Crew, specifically a dive trip to Tioman and a day trek at Pulau Ubin, have all been memorable. Through these adventures, I had to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in each experience, making new friends along the way. 



What do you like about being an SMU student?

I think what’s unique about SMU is how easy it is to run into people you know just by going to classes, thanks to the compact city campus and fixed class schedules. This has allowed me to make spontaneous plans with my friends.  

On top of that, the small class sizes allow me to speak up more in class and keep me engaged. 


How has SMU challenged you both personally and academically?

As a CIS student, I get to meet a diverse range of people in the classes I attend. This drives me to step out of my comfort zone and forge friendships across different groups.  

Additionally, the rigour of assignments and content is more challenging than what I’m used to, and adjusting to this has been a continuous learning process for me. 


Suzanne with her SMUXploration Crew mate during a dive trip at Tioman Island

Suzanne (right) with her SMUXploration crew mate during a dive trip at Tioman Island


Which module left a great impact on you?

Big Questions, which I took in my first semester. The weekly reflections and essays that emphasised personal reflection helped me to learn more about myself and appreciate the value of slowing down, thinking and articulating my thoughts through writing.  

This module enabled me to uncover aspects of myself, like how I wanted to show more affection towards my friends. It also taught me to draw inspiration from my peers’ accomplishments as motivation to work harder, instead of being overly critical of myself. 


What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your freshman self?

Have more fun, but also study harder! Try out for all sorts of CCAs even if you’re only slightly interested! It gets harder to get involved in clubs as you get busier after your freshman year. Don’t let time fly by and leave you wishing you had tried more things.  



Ready to begin your undergraduate journey? Complete your online matriculation now!